April 5

Read I Samuel 14:24 -- 16

Few kings in biblical history were blessed with as many advantages as Saul. But he soon failed to remember the source of his success. He became more concerned with impressing the people than with pleasing the Lord. It was not long before 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 (I 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). He then returned home to Gilgal. When Samuel met him, 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 victory, Saul had disobeyed the command of God to destroy all that they had. 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, the chief of the things which should have been 'utterly destroyed,' to sacrifice to the Lord (15:21). Saul seemed to be blind to his own disobedience. To utterly destroy would have been a true burnt offering to God. But, when the people kept the best, it was for themselves to eat at their next sacrificial feast.

Although Saul did some good and won some battles, all too often he was more concerned about his public image before the elders of Israel than with restoring right relationship with God. 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 we may consider Saul's disobedience of little consequence, the Lord said that what Saul did was evil in the sight of the Lord. Let us purpose not to walk in the spirit of Saul. How easily we can deceive ourselves into believing that God will be pleased with our accomplishments "for Him" even though we obey only what pleases us.

There is nothing so deceitful or hardening to one's heart than acknowledging Christ as our Savior, and yet, in daily experience, having no sincere desire to fully submit to Him as Lord. It is all too popular an assumption that God is satisfied with a "confession of faith" while one continues to live an undisciplined, self-centered life. Like Saul, it is possible to do many things that appear to be good and right before others while still living in willful disobedience to His Word. That is one of the reasons it is so important to read all the Counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

Let us walk humbly with our God. Our confession of faith must match an inward submission to Christ. Examine yourselves, (to see) whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves (II Corinthians 13:5).

Christ Revealed: Through David's name (I Samuel 16:13) which means beloved. David is a type of the Beloved Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35).

Word Studies: 14:41 perfect lot means right answer; 14:46 went up from following means stopped pursuing; 14:47 took the kingdom means consolidated his rule; vexed means conquered; 15:32 delicately means trembling with fear.

Prayer:

Government Officials: Rep. Peter King (NY) and Gov. Pedro Rossell (PR) · Pray for Bible Pathway Distributors · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by James and Ila Drost · Country: Chad (7 million) in north-central Africa · Major languages: French and Arabic · Limited religious freedom · 35% Muslim; 31% animist; 11% Protestant; 5% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord amidst trouble and He will deliver you (Psalms 91:15).

Optional Reading: Acts 6

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:33