Here is a familiar passage and it’s often quoted. This was the second time Saul openly transgressed the commandment of God. He was told to destroy the Amalekites. They were sworn enemies of Israel and God. Saul was to lead the army of Israel and take out the entire tribe—people and animals. King Saul half way followed the Lord’s order. I guess he thought he knew better. He obeyed but threw his way in. The only time our way mixes is if it is in line with God’s.
I Samuel 15: 20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
We get in trouble when we don’t obey and many times people blame others. Accountability and responsibility are lacking in society today. Hardly anyone assumes them today. They are vital parts to Christianity. We’ve never been told to do something too hard. What God says doesn’t need updating. God’s way needs no improvement. King Saul tried to second think God. There is no better way than to obey. God’s Word has not lost its power. It’s not a mixture of God and what we think.
22 And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. 24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord. 26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
This whole chapter bears a real examination. We’re taught a critical lesson. We should obey God. He doesn’t over expect things from us; he has a right to expect things. It’s not beyond our ability. God fights the battle when we move forward with him. David faced the enemy. He took five stones from the brook. Others saw that and the kind of weapons Goliath had. They thought David didn’t have a chance. On his own he didn’t, but he went in the name of the Lord. God used the sling and was with the stone running it right between Goliath’s eyes. He fell over dead backward. David went in obedience to God. While others hid and were scared, David believed God and followed his instructions. He overcame.
Saul paid lip service and had a pension for doing things his way. He wanted to be king. He wanted God’s favor but he didn’t want to listen to God. He heard the instructions and would start out following them. Then he second guessed them and did things his own way. When he saw how fat the animals were he thought he’d do better. He also spared the king to show off as a trophy of what he and God had done. Remember it’s all about God. We don’t help blessings come our way. God gives them. The servant always feeds the master first. He does his duty first. We have a duty to God. Saul followed God’s command to a point. It was not to be altered or changed. God would make it possible if they obeyed. God blessed Saul until he spared King Agag and kept the animals. That’s when trouble started.
God spoke to Samuel and told him what Saul had done. Samuel tried to help Saul in every way. He saw hope in Saul if he’d just listen to God. After God told him what Saul did he went to find him. He saw the people exalting Saul. He was wound up in himself. Saul thought he could improve on what God said and make it better. We can’t improve it. There was a hole in Saul’s relationship with God. We have to be completely obedient. We can’t listen to God and the world. In serving God there is no other way but God’s. It’s not God’s way and my way. It’s not God’s way and the ways of society. It’s God’s way. Period.
Disobedience to God is no light thing. It is serious business. Samuel told Saul what God thought about disobedience. He said hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams. The only way to be in the will of God is to obey him. First hear, then heed. He said for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Failing to obey God is rebellion, and in God’s eyes that’s the same as the occult.
When we’re told to do things a certain way, to talk a certain way, to think a certain way, it is for our good. Stubbornness should not be our problem. Samuel told Saul that because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. Disobedience turns to rebellion. Rebellion turns into rejection by God.
If all we do is read and forget, we’re only half way there. Tune out the secular thoughts. Tune in God’s Word. We have instructions on how to please God. When we obey and follow what God says we do well. Otherwise God rejects it. Christianity mixed with something else is disobedience.
Saul rent Samuel’s garment as he walked away. Samuel told him that just as he had rent his clothes God had rent the kingdom from him. That’s what happens when we don’t go God’s way. It’s a lesson we need to remember.