April 05

Read 1 Samuel 14:24

In Today's Reading:

Saul's foolish oath l Saul demands that any soldier who eats before evening be killed l Needing strength, Jonathan eats honey, but was not executed l Saul commanded to destroy all Amalekites, but sins by sparing the enemy king l Samuel rebukes Saul l David anointed king l Spirit of the Lord departs from Saul.

Verse for Today:

Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. . . . the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:2).

Few kings in biblical history were blessed with as many advantages as Saul; but, he soon failed to remember the source of his success. Although Saul did some good, all too often, he was more concerned about his public image before the elders of Israel than with restoring a right relationship with God. Saul exposed his true character when Samuel came to him and said: Thus [said] the Lord of hosts, I remember [what] Amalek did to Israel. . . . Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and [do not] spare them (1 Samuel 15:2-3).

Saul defeated the Amalekites and then erected a memorial to himself at Carmel, a city near Hebron, to commemorate his great victory (15:12). When Samuel met him after the battle with Amalek, Saul boasted of his success, saying: I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me (15:20). Although there had been a great military victory, Saul had disobeyed the command of God to destroy all that they have. Saul not only had "spared" the Amalekite king Agag, but tried to shift the blame by saying: The people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen . . . to sacrifice [to] the Lord (15:21). Saul had an "excuse" for his disobedience. To utterly destroy would have been a true burnt offering to God. But he allowed Israel to keep the best to eat at their next sacrificial feast.

Samuel once again rebuked Saul, saying: To obey is better than sacrifice. . . . For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because [you have] rejected the Word of the Lord, He [has] also rejected [you] from being king (15:22-23). Saul finally confessed his partial obedience, saying: I have sinned: for I have transgressed the Commandment of the Lord. . . . because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. . . . I have sinned: yet honor me now . . . before the elders of my people (15:24,30).

Though some may consider that Saul's disobedience was of little consequence, the Lord said that what Saul did was evil. How easily we can deceive ourselves if we believe that God will be pleased with our accomplishments "for Him" even though we obey only what pleases us.

Like Saul, it is possible for us to do many things that appear to be good and right before others while actually living in willful disobedience to the Word of God. There exists today a popular misconception that God is satisfied with a "profession of faith" while a person continues to live an undisciplined, self-centered, and even sinful life.

Our confession of faith must match our inward submission to Christ and our outward lifestyle. Examine yourselves, (to see) whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Christ Revealed:

Through David's name (1 Samuel 16:13), which means "beloved." David is a type of Jesus, Whom the Heavenly Father called: My beloved Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35).

Word Studies:

14:24 adjured = bound them under oath; 14:28 straitly = strictly, definitely; 14:31 smote = had struck down; 14:41 perfect lot = right answer; 14:46 went up from following = stopped pursuing; 14:47 took the kingdom = consolidated his rule; vexed = conquered; 15:29 repent = never go back on His Word; 15:32 delicately = trembling with fear.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Peter King (NY), Sec. Colin Powell (Department of State), and Gov. Pedro Rossello (PR) · Pray for your Pastor · Country: Azerbaijan (8 million) southern Transcaucasia between Europe and Asia · Major languages: Azeri and Russian · Religious freedom · 80% Muslim; 3% Russian/Armenian/Georgian Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for boldness in telling others about the Lord (Psalms 119:46).

Optional Reading: Acts 6

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 2:2