Stubbornness and Idolatry

Scripture reading for March 20th: 1st Samuel 13-15

Do you have a stubborn streak in you?  I know that I can be stubborn sometimes.  I have learned over the years that I must always be teachable and listen to instructions.  Sometimes these instruction come directly from the word of God and other instructions come from those in authority over me.  Sometimes God uses my wife to direct me and even my children.  When I have been stubborn, I have always gotten into trouble!

Saul was given instructions by Samuel to go and destroy the Amalekites.  These peoples had waylaid Israel when they came out of Egypt nearly 400 years earlier.  God’s timetable is often different than ours but He always repays when there is no repentance.  (1st Samuel 15:1-3)  Saul was told to completely destroy them and everything that belonged to them.  The word was clear that everything must go!

Saul summoned a great army and marched out in obedience.  He attacked and the Lord gave him victory.  Saul, however, decided to spare King Agag and keep everything that was good in the way of sheep, cattle, and livestock.  All the weak and lame he completely destroyed.  (1st Samuel 15:8-9)

The Lord spoke to Samuel about Saul’s disobedience and Samuel began to cry out to the Lord on his behalf.  The next morning Samuel went to meet Saul, but found that Saul had gone to Carmel and set up a monument for himself there. Saul’s first words to Samuel when they met at Gilgal was “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” (1st Samuel 15:13) It is interesting how men sometimes are in denial and convince themselves that they have obeyed fully what the Lord desires!  Saul was deceived and his focus was on himself instead of on God!

Saul’s excuse for keeping King Agag and the best sheep was that they were for a sacrifice to the Lord.  We often feel that our good motives for disobedience should excuse us from any wrong-doing!  Samuel told Saul that God saw his intentions as stubbornness, arrogance, and idolatry!  Because Saul rejected the word of the Lord, he would be rejected as king! (1st Samuel 15:22-23)

These truths should give us cause to reflect on our own obedience to the Lord.  Are you fully compliant?  Have you put your trust in Jesus Christ, the only fully obedient King?

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