22And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.23For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king. — 1 Samuel 15:22-23
The instructions had been simple to understand. The battle had gone just as God said that it would. The opportunity for full obedience was readily at hand . . . and King Saul blew it. In 1 Samuel 15, we read the account of how God rejected Saul from being King over Israel after Saul’s disobedience in the aftermath of the Amalekite battle. It was just six chapters earlier that we read of Saul becoming the first human king over God’s people. What had started with such seeming promise was now coming to an astounding end as God rejected this man. Saul was the one whom the people were sure would be the great leader. He looked the part (1 Samuel 10:23) and had even shown evidence of promise in leadership (1 Samuel 11). But now, when it seemed that the success would simply continue, God rejected Saul.
What caused such a change in this King that warranted God’s rejection? Saul became disobedient to God. Saul disobeyed God’s instructions because he was captivated by his own ambition and desires. The reader gets a small preview of this pride and disobedience issue in I Samuel 13 when Saul offered a sacrifice to God which he did not have the authority to do or his place to do so. When confronted by Samuel, Saul only gave excuses. In Chapter 15, the call to completely wipe out the Amalekites was a clear instruction from the Lord. Instead of full obedience, Saul did most of what God had asked, but then kept the best of the spoils of war for himself. The truth was simple: Saul’s lack of full obedience was an absolute affront to the sovereign instruction and authority of God.
So I have to ask: How many times are we like Saul? Maybe we find ourselves doing part of what God’s Word says to us, but not quite finishing the job of obedience. It is often our pride and our desire for accomplishment that leads us to hide behind half-truths and excuses. Stop for a minute and consider the extent of obedience God requires from us. He wants us to put our excuses on the shelf and then get ourselves out of the way and fully and faithfully obey Him and His Word. The instruction is clear . . . let the obedience be complete. As Samuel noted, the LORD delights more in obeying His voice than in all the burnt offerings we can give.
· As I review my life, am I one hundred percent obedient to the Word of God?
· In what area of my life do I struggle most with obedience. Why is that?
Prayer – Father, Your instructions are so clear, I must obey You. It seems so simple but in reality is so hard. Thank You for your Word that shows me examples of what happens when people succeed or fail in their obedience. Give me the faith I need to obey You in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.