Reading For Monday 1 Samuel 15:10-28
God revealed to Samuel that the king’s actions had caused Him to regret that he had ever made Saul king. Saul had been warned that obedience would bring blessing and disobedience would mean rejection. God's change of attitude toward Saul was not a change of purpose. God is unchanging in his purpose, but he had to change his attitude toward Saul because of Saul's disobedience. Samuel was greatly distressed over the matter and cried out all night in prayer to the Lord. The next morning Samuel set out to find Saul. He learned that Saul had returned to Carmel and constructed a monument to celebrate his victory.
As Samuel drew near, Saul gave him a warm greeting in which he enthusiastically declared that he had carried out the commandment of God. Either Saul is bluffing, or he is part of that group who think that partial obedience is acceptable to the Lord. Samuel went to the heart of the matter and called attention to the noise being made by the livestock spared by Saul. The king then blamed the people and proclaimed that they were kept in order to offer sacrifices to God. Saul was making two grave leadership mistakes here. Saul seems to be arguing that religious sincerity is a valid substitute for obedience to God. Samuel interrupts the king declaring that he will tell him what God had revealed. Saul agreed to listen. Saul had been commanded to fight against the Amalekites until they were exterminated, but he had disobeyed the commission. Saul firmly rejected Samuel’s accusation that he had disobeyed the Lord. He had spared only Agag, and the people had spared the choicest livestock to sacrifice.
Samuel forcefully rejected Saul’s contention that religious intention justifies selective obedience. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” No amount of religious practice can substitute for doing what God commands, and external religious observance must reflect internal faith and piety. Rebellion and insubordination are compared with divination and idolatry. Conscious disobedience is like idolatry because it makes an idol out of selfish desires. The punishment must fit the crime. Saul had rejected the word of God and therefore God rejected him as King. Samuel’s pronouncement causes Saul to realize the seriousness of his disobedience. In humble contrition, Saul confessed his iniquity. He begged to be pardoned and asked Samuel to join him in public worship. Samuel refuses and in desperation Saul seized Samuel’s robe. This constituted a final act of supplication on his part. Samuel's robe tore and the prophet used it as an object lesson to illustrate his announcement. God had torn the kingdom out of the hands of Saul and had given that kingdom to someone more worthy of it.
Thing To Consider:
- Why do you think Samuel cried to the Lord all night knowing that Saul had disobeyed, and he did not want a king in the first place?
- Why is partial obedience such a problem? Wouldn't God rather have some obedience than none at all?
- How is religion used as an excuse to sin?
- What do we learn about obedience? Why is this an important lesson?
- How difficult do you think it was to hear that God was giving the kingdom to a neighbor that is better than you?