Your Own Interpretation

by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.                                                                                                                                          Lamentations 3:25 NASB

Of Kings and Prophets was a short-run television series focusing on the life and times of King Saul. Not all biblically-based movies and TV dramas are accurate with the portrayal of characters, but one element that appeared extremely accurate in this series was the humanness of Saul.

Although Saul was God’s anointed king, he was far from perfect. Saul had many qualities that made him king material, but over time he became a guy with issues. He was arrogant, extremely jealous, and paranoid. He experienced mood swings, had his own agenda, and if the TV portrayal was even semi-accurate, he struggled with self-discipline in the area of food.

Saul was a man of action, and when there was a lull in his desired time frame, he saw nothing wrong with helping the situation along.

As the Philistines mustered to fight, the Israelites’ fear grew. Saul waited for the prophet Samuel to arrive to offer a sacrifice and ask God’s favor for the battle ahead. But after seven days, Samuel still hadn’t arrived. As his soldiers began to scatter, impatient Saul decided to offer the sacrifice himself. As soon as Saul finished the sacrifice, Samuel arrived. Saul made excuses for his actions, but it was too late. Although it took a while for the consequences of Saul’s action to fully play out, that day was the beginning of the downfall of his kingdom.

Rather than accepting responsibility and learning from his mistake, Saul disobeyed God’s directive given through Samuel again, when he failed to destroy the Amalekites and their livestock. There on the battlefield, Saul carelessly applied his own interpretation to what God had said. Saul decided not to kill the Amalekite king or slaughter the best livestock. And once the battle was over, Saul didn’t praise God for victory. Instead, he set up a monument in his own honor.

Unfortunately, we often do the same, interpreting what God tells us in a manner that doesn’t require as much effort from us, or works to what we feel is our advantage. It’s one thing to be out of fellowship with God and not hear his directives. It’s really quite another to hear God, and then make the decision to go with our own idea. Halfway obedience, with a twist of our own interpretation, is really just disobedience, and disobedience has consequences.

It’s easy to look at a Bible character like Saul and see his flaws and mistakes—the places where he applied his own interpretation to God’s directives: his impatience, his jealousy, his failure to give thanks, or his giving free reign to ego. It’s much harder to look at our own lives and see that, at times, we really aren’t much different.

In 1 Samuel 15:10, the Lord said to Samuel, “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and not carried out my instructions.”

Today, does it bother us that we grieve God by disobeying him? Fighting against our own desires, our egos, and our own interpretations takes focus, determination, and God-infused strength. Thankfully, God is patient and kind, slow to anger, and abounding in love. By admitting our areas of weakness, and asking for God’s help, we can accurately interpret God’s voice and live in obedience.

Your Own Interpretation – wise thoughts on following God from @CandyArrington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Candy ArringtonAbout the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: Have you jumped ahead of God and put your own spin on His words?