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The Story: 1 Samuel 15:1-22

In 1 Samuel 15:3, God specifically gave instruction to King Saul to

“go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

BUT…

verses 8 and 9,  “He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.”

Saul didn’t kill Agag, but kept him alive. He also didn’t destroy all the animals. He spared the best of them.

Saul disobeyed God

verses 20 and 21, “And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

Saul thought that he obeyed God. And he did! — halfheartedly. Saul’s intention may be good (he wants to use the animals as burnt offering for the Lord), but it was contrary to what God commanded him. He obeyed his own will. God cannot accept our obedience if it is tainted with selfishness.

verse 22, “But Samuel replied, ‘What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.’

saul-reproached-by-samuel copyGod calls us to obedience to His will and not our own. Many times we may think that we are doing God a favor, or that He would just wink at our disobedience just because we are doing it for His sake. Are we really? The truth is, we cannot bribe or trick God with our disobedience disguised in good works or good intentions. Regardless of how pleasing it may seem in our own estimate, if it isn’t acted upon base on, “thus saith the Lord”  and we do it halfheartedly, we are not pleasing Him.  

We are not to choose which part to obey or and which part not to. We are to render our perfect and absolute obedience to Him. I have come to know, by experience, that God won’t require us to do something that is beyond what we can bear or just because He wants to for no reason at all. When He tells us to do something, be assured that He wants to accomplish something great in us. Remember that He knows better than us.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 11:29

We obey not because we are forced to, but because we LOVE God. 

“If ye love Mr, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

Does Faith Cancel Obedience?

“But notice here that obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love. The law of God is an expression of His very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth…. Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.” ~ The Faith I Live By, P.93

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