1 Samuel 13:11: “‘What have you done?’ asked Samuel.”
The Israelites sensed danger when they attacked the Philistines and hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns” (verse 6).
Meanwhile “all the troops with [Saul] were quaking with fear.” I’ve been terrified myself at times, and you probably have too.
Samuel the prophet was to meet Saul in seven days. When Samuel delayed, Saul offered a burnt offering to the Lord even though he lacked the authority to do so. Don’t we sometimes react in fear or out of stress rather than wait on God?
When Samuel arrived, he asked what Saul had done. Saul said since he had “not sought the LORD’s favor, [he] felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
Before we judge Saul harshly, let’s look at ourselves. Don’t we sometimes justify our behavior? Even though we disobey God, we give our sin “a holy twist.”
“‘You acted foolishly,’ Samuel said. . . . . ‘Now your kingdom will not endure.’” We too will suffer consequences for disobedience. However, God hopes we will learn from them and not repeat the same behavior, which hurts us.
In chapter 15 of this same book, the prophet said God wanted Saul to “attack the Amalekites for what they did to Israel. Saul was to “totally destroy everything that [belonged] to them.” He was not to spare anyone or their animals (verses 1-3).
Once again, Saul had his own version of obedience. He took King Agag of the Amalekites alive and “the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good.” Saul destroyed “everything that was despised and weak” (verses 7-9).
Samuel returned to the sound of bleating sheep and lowing cattle, but Saul dared to say he “carried out the LORD’s instructions” and kept the best sheep and cattle “to sacrifice to the LORD” (verse 15).
In verses 22-23, Samuel said, “To obey is better than sacrifice . . . Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” How much are we willing to lose to live in denial and disobedience?
Dear God, help me to obey you totally. Amen.
Application: What will you do this week exactly as God commands?
Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega June 26, 2012