“And all Israel heard it said that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. And the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
What we see over the course the of the next three chapters is the unraveling of Saul. It starts small, but there are cracks in his image almost immediately. Here we see one of the first.
Jonathan had defeated the Philistine garrison. Saul, according to the text, hadn’t had anything to do with it. But the rumor Saul allowed to be spread was that Saul had done it. In his insecurity, he was taking credit for victories that were not his.
It was only a small leap from this point to chasing David out of the country for winning victories he couldn’t claim were his because everyone had seen David win them.
When we are not confident in who God made us to be, we begin to chase after that confidence in all kinds of ways. In our efforts to have that confidence we take one of several paths. First, we take credit for the victories of others like Saul did here. We can’t (or won’t) win them on our own, so we grab hold of what they have done and treat it like our own.
We also tear others down. If we feel low about ourselves, we bring the people around us even lower so that at least we aren’t by ourselves down there. You can always tell folks who are insecure because they are the ones tearing down the people around them, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes more overtly.
A third path is that we simply make up victories to claim and write whole new stories for ourselves completely out of thin air. We don’t have enough confidence in our own stories and so we try and live other ones.
Here’s the truth: God made you special. He made you unique. You can and should have confidence in that. Now, this doesn’t mean you aren’t broken by sin, but you are still made in the image of God. And that’s never going to change. Have confidence in that. Don’t live through or around or over the people around you. Live as the beautifully unique individual God designed you to be, trusting in Him to become fully that (because you won’t otherwise). Saul’s path is not one that leads to life.