“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.” 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.” 26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!” 27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” 30 Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.”31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.” 1 Samuel 15.22-31
This whole chapter is truly telling regarding the character of King Saul and the lack of obedience to God. I encourage you to read the entire chapter before continuing with this entry.
(Seriously. Go read the chapter. Lol)
So…Saul was a total mess. He waged war against his enemies the Amalekites just as the Lord commanded but he disobeyed the Lord in sparing their king Agag and all their best livestock (sheep, goats, cows, etc.). Saul was so disillusioned with his own authority and power that he only obeyed a part of God’s law. I wonder what part of “completely destroy the Amalekites” did Saul not understand? Partial destruction is not complete destruction. Partial obedience is not total obedience.
Now I can sympathize with Saul! I too am a sinner and often look for loop holes in sin and acts of disobedience. I am just being honest with you. I think about ways to still get my way with God while not disobeying completely. Sometimes I just “barely” sin hoping that it will not be a complete and utter rejection of God’s plan and purpose for my life. But as I said, we can’t obey God half way and still be blessed. We must obey him completely. Sin is still sin in the sight of God.
When the Prophet Samuel found out about Saul’s disobedience from God, he was angry and prayed all night to God, begging for mercy and forgiveness. But God says words that none of us never want to hear — “I regret every making Saul king.” Imagine if God said that about you…“I regret every making Rusty a pastor, a father, a leader.” It would be heartbreaking really! Saul repents but it is too late. He made himself great in the eyes of the people and ignored the decrees of the Lord. Saul was rejected by God forever and Samuel left that place never to see or counsel Saul again.
The bad news in all of this is that we all sin (Romans 3.23). The good news is that Jesus’ blood covers a multitude of sin. (1 Peter 4.8). Because of Jesus, we can’t sin too much for God’s forgiveness to wipe away our debts. We don’t go looking for sin so that grace may about (Romans 6), but we run from sin so that we might live in freedom and love. As we see in this story, Saul was separated from God because of sin. This is the same for us until we confess to Jesus and ask him to remove our iniquity from us.
What must you confess to become “right” with God? What temptations must you reject so you might remain in faithful obedience to the God who loves you more than you love yourself?
“O Lord God, you are good. I am your servant, sinful since birth, but anointed and given a promise. I am covered by the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me know the truth of this love and the blessings of your promise. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen