John Barnett Discover the Book Daily Devotional
<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Dec. 31, 2008

  • 2008 Dec 31

Saul--How NOT to Serve God

"The greatest thing in all my life—is loving You, knowing You, serving You…”.

Those are precious words, if they are true, and they are. If the Bible ends with those who know, love and serve the Lord doing so forever—and it does - then the most important element in our life is that of knowing, loving, and serving the Lord! 

We could say the greatest way we could invest our lives and live them well would be serving God. But then the opposite would also be true. The worst way to live, and the greatest waste of a life would be to live for anything but serving the Lord! 

We have been considering the greatest servant in the Bible named David. His life is recorded more completely than any other—so we know more about how he served the Lord than any other Biblical character. God's Word often teaches us by mean of contrasts. I'd like you to join me in looking at one of the sharpest contrasts in the Bible—the comparison of David and Saul. It is also one of the most sobering. 

Side by side in God's Word is the amazing record God left us of the life of David who served God all his days—and the equally amazing record of Saul who didn’t serve God all his days. This proximity of "how to serve" and "how not to serve" is very insightful. 

I Samuel 17 is the record of the boy who stood all alone for God and saw the reality of what God can do through a person who is completely His—David had a heart to stand.  It is the record of the boy who would grow into the man after God’s own heart—David was a servant who loved and served God. But what happens in the chapter before all that? What precipitated the anointing of David by Samuel? 

1st Samuel 15 tells us that David was chosen because of King Saul’s unwillingness to serve the Lord. Remember that this book, the Bible is God's Word—and is also supernaturally engineered by God. The Spirit of God planned every word, every verse, and every chapter of every book. There is no place, person or event that just happened to get included. The Lord has master planned this Book, engineering it to point to Christ in every way possible. 

May I challenge you about how to NOT serve God? That is exactly what we see when we start in 1st Samuel 15. This chapter captures why God picked David, and why God rejected Saul. If you ever want to be sure that you are on God’s Team and stay there—be sure you understand this chapter. This is one of the saddest chapters in the Bible—First Samuel 15. 

What to Avoid in Life—Ways to Fail & Waste Your Life

1. Ignore clear and direct statements about what God wants you to do. 1 Samuel 15:1-7 Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ” 4 So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt.  (NKJV)     

What are some real clear and direct statements from God about what He wants us to do?

  • Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (NKJV)
  • John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. NKJV
  • Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (NKJV) 

If you want to fail what God made you to do and be and waste your life—just ignore clear and direct statements about what God wants you to do. 

To read or hear the entire sermon please insert the following web address into your URL:

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit

More Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett Articles