The Lord Demands Obedience Over Sacrifice
by David Thompson
Today's passage tells an interesting story of King Saul, Samuel, and Saul's army. It is a story of people doing what they think was best and then rationalizing it to God. God said how the battles should be waged, including telling Saul not to take anything from the defeated foes. He told Saul the defeated foes should be utterly destroyed; sparing none. So did Saul do what was commanded, "No?" Saul allowed his men to keep the prime livestock and Saul himself took the Amalekite king, King Agag, as a prisoner.
Samuel was God's messenger to Saul. He told Saul that he had done wrong in numerous ways. So what did Saul do? He at first was defiant, then he rationalized why the prime animals were saved along with the king. All of this fell on deaf ears (Samuel's and God's). Saul was told that his disobedience cost him his kingship and his kingdom. It didn't happen immediately but it would happen in God's timing. God rejected Saul as the king, not as a person and this is very important to us.
When have you done something you can look back on now and see similarities to Saul's story. There once was a time I felt God's calling to become a missionary or at least serve a three-year term in the Peace Corps. I got so far as to look into the things I should be doing to be prepared for this calling. It would take a change in majors to a more theological one. It also recommended that learning a foreign language would make learning whatever language that would be needed easier. So I signed up for Spanish and talked with my advisor. My advisor was a man of wisdom and he told me that there were many opportunities to serve God right here in the U.S. He reminded me of the fact that I had a wife and new baby to think of. He brought up the fact that as a tenth grader, I had been called to be a teacher and that was my current major. It all made sense hearing it from that wise man. So after a lot more thought and prayers, I abandoned my changing of majors and dropped the Spanish class.
If the second call was from God and I didn't obey, would I be in big trouble with God. I can guess that according to today's passage, He would have been disappointed in my career choice, but like Saul, He would not have rejected me. A verse in the New Testament promises that nothing can separate us from God. I did the best job I could have as a teacher for twelve years and a school administrator for twenty-five years.
Perhaps you have had time to think about a time you didn't obey God exactly. I hope you too didn't feel God's rejection as He loves you and me. He would never reject you.
Thank you for loving us even when we mess up. You are a loving and forgiving God and we have Christ's blood covering us so our imperfections and missteps do not even rise to you, God. You see when God looks at us, He is looking through "Christ colored glasses." We look perfect to Him. Amen.