(Bible reading: 1 Samuel 15)
King Saul, through the Prophet Samuel, was commissioned by God to wipe out all the Amalekites, man and beast, leaving nothing alive. But he failed to obey the voice of the Lord, for he and his men took the best of the sheep and oxen, and spared the life of Agag, king of the Amalekites. It was a huge mistake that he made, for it cost him his kingship. It was the start of his downfall as king of Israel.
You see, Saul’s mistake could easily be ours, if we are not careful in our own walk before God. What did He say to Abraham?
…walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Gen. 17:1)
What are the valuable lessons we could learn from Saul’s mistake?
- Saul’s sin was disobeying God. We must have learned by now that OBEDIENCE is one of the most important things to keep in our relationship with God. (Likewise, DISOBEDIENCE is one of the things that we should avoid the most). It determines what we will receive of the Lord – whether a blessing, or a curse.
A blessing if ye OBEY the commandments of the Lord your God… And a curse, if ye will NOT OBEY the commandments of the Lord your God… (Deut. 11:27, 28)
We must put it to heart, then, to learn to obey the voice of the Lord every step of the way.
… Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice… (1 Sam. 15:22)
What were the reasons of Saul’s disobedience?
- It could be that his heart was lifted up against the Lord. It could be that he has forgotten how the Lord has lifted him up to be king, his family being the smallest of his tribe’s families, and his tribe being the smallest of all the tribes of Israel, for Samuel reminded him of this (v. 17).
In our own lives, there are times that our hearts are tempted to not heed the voice of the Lord. Maybe, our hearts are lifted up because of our successes and achievements, and forget how the Lord has lifted us up from the pit, from the miry clay, or from our sickbeds. When PRIDE enters our hearts, we fall short in humbling ourselves before God. Pride causes us to disobey the Lord.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to WALK HUMBLY with your God? (Micah 6:8)
- Saul and his men took the best of the spoil (v. 9, 19), and although their reason was to sacrifice these to the Lord, they may also have been tempted to have them. In this material world we live in, greed and covetousness can easily enter the unguarded heart. When we let these enter our hearts, we can easily trade our obedience to God with our own selfish desires. The pull of worldly lusts becomes stronger than our desire to obey the Lord.
For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world… (2 Tim. 4:10)
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. (1 John 2:15)
- Saul compromised God’s commandment because he feared the people and obeyed their voice instead of the Lord’s (v. 24). Isn’t COMPROMISE a common snare to Christians? We compromise God’s commandments in many different ways for many different reasons. Most common reasons are fear and our own fleshly desires. For example, we fear being separated from our nonbelieving friends and what they may say about how we clothe ourselves modestly, and so, we try to dress up like them. But –
Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (Isaiah 8:13)
Pride, greed, and compromise cause us to disobey the Word of the Lord. Let us therefore guard our hearts and watch.
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation… (Mat. 26:41)
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. (1 Sam. 15:23)