Rachel Seavers, Executive Assistant to the Lead Pastor, Welcoming Ministries Coordinator
I can’t tell you how many times growing up I heard my parents say, “I just want you to obey and do what I have asked you to do!” I admit – I was at times a stubborn, strong-willed child. Now I have the joy of hearing myself say the exact same thing to my kids!
Samuel laid out specifically what God instructed King Saul to do in destroying the Amalekites. He was to spare no one and no creature. Saul decided though that he and his men would not destroy everything, but instead save the king and keep the best of the sheep, goats and cattle, the fat calves and lambs–everything that was good (with the intent of using them as sacrifices later, or so he said). Bottom line, Saul was unwilling to obey completely because he wanted for himself what God told him to destroy.
When confronted by Samuel as to why he didn’t obey the LORD, Saul made up excuses, and even tried to place some of the blame on his own men. I actually found the conversation between Samuel and Saul at this point somewhat humorous! It reminded me very much of the conversations that I have had with my own children when they have not obeyed – ME: “why didn’t you obey me?” THEM: “I did obey you, but then such and such happened and then he/she made me…” ME: “stop making excuses, and listen to me! I just want you to obey and do what I have asked you to do!”
All humor aside, God was sorely disappointed in Saul and even said: “I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command” (15:10). From that point on, Saul lost God’s favor, and eventually the throne, because he turned his heart away from the voice of the LORD.
How many times do we not obey God completely? How often do we only go so far until it becomes inconvenient or uncomfortable? Sure, we may start out doing what He has told us to do, but then before you know it, maybe we hold something back or we don’t finish the task. Is that really obedience? Samuel tells us in 15:22 how important our complete obedience to the LORD is – it is better than any sacrifice or offering we can bring to Him.
Samuel tells us that the opposite of obedience is rebellion. He compares it to witchcraft, and stubbornness to worshiping idols! Yikes – that’s serious! I would never consider practicing witchcraft or worshiping idols, but yet that’s what God says our disobedience is equal to in His eyes.
So may each one of us today take inventory in our own life. Is there anything that God has asked of you that you have not done? Are you holding something back that God has asked you to give? Let us search our hearts today, repent of any disobedience and live each coming day in obedience to what God calls us to do, completely.