Scripture reading for March 20th: 1st Samuel 13-15
When we think about witchcraft and the occult, we tend to think about men and women dressed in black, moonless nights, bats, curses, spells, and evil that is ugly. It usually includes violence, blood and death. Our modern culture has lots to say about the occult and many television shows and movies that highlight evil are watched by millions. A popular series of children’s novels, “Harry Potter”, has sold millions and no one thinks much about it other that another form of entertainment. When we imbibe of this evil, we are stubbornly rebelling against God’s command. (Leviticus 19:26)
Saul was anointed and empowered to lead the nation. He was the answer to the people’s cry for a king like the other nations. But Saul was impatient. Samuel, the prophet and judge, had told Saul to wait for him to come and sacrifice to the Lord and seek counsel. Saul waited but grew impatient and decided to offer the sacrifice himself. It was not his job or place, but he went ahead anyway. Samuel returned just after Saul completed the offering, and rebuked him by telling him that God was not going to let him continue as king for all time. (1st Samuel 13:13-14) So the “good” thing that Saul had done, was not done in obedience to the Lord. He had impatiently rationalized his action and fell under God’s disfavor. There was no repentance either.
Next, Saul’s son Jonathan acted in courage and faith to attack the Philistines. He and his armor-bearer scaled a cliff and killed 20 men in a short time. They had not been around when Saul had made the men swear not to eat anything until the enemy had been defeated. Jonathan ate some honey to gain energy for the ensuing fight. One of the soldiers told Jonathan about the oath of his father, but he had already tasted the honey. Saul acted impetuously with the vow and then wanted to execute his own son! (Remember Jephthah!)
The final account of Saul’s actions occurs in chapter 15. Samuel tells Saul to attack the Amalekites and destroy everything as punishment from the Lord for their attacking Israel on their way from Egypt. (400 years earlier!) Saul obeys–partially! He kept back the best sheep and goats for sacrifice and let King Agag live. The Word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” (1st Samuel 15:10-11) Partial obedience is not obedience!
God hates rebellion and stubbornness! We can call it entertainment, but God still calls it sin! Ask the Lord to show you if these sins are evident in your life and allow Jesus to deliver you! These sins don’t entertain God and should not be entertained in your life or home! Don’t give God a reason to reject you as his child! Or worse yet, cause your children be rejected because of this evil!
“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination (witchcraft-KJV) and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” (1st Samuel 15:22-23)