Here we have the beginning of the end of King Saul. He received a direct order with specific instructions from God. What he does, and the consequences of his actions, is a powerful lesson for us today. Let’s dig in….
1 Samuel 15 – Saul’s Bad Decision
One day Samuel said to Saul, “It was the Lord who told me to anoint you as king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord! 2 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. 3 Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”
4 So Saul mobilized his army at Telaim. There were 200,000 soldiers from Israel and 10,000 men from Judah. 5 Then Saul and his army went to a town of the Amalekites and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Saul sent this warning to the Kenites: “Move away from where the Amalekites live, or you will die with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites packed up and left.
7 Then Saul slaughtered the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, east of Egypt. 8 He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. 9 Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.
The Lord Rejects Saul
10 Then the Lord said to Samuel, 11 “I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command.” Samuel was so deeply moved when he heard this that he cried out to the Lord all night.
12 Early the next morning Samuel went to find Saul. Someone told him, “Saul went to the town of Carmel to set up a monument to himself; then he went on to Gilgal.”
13 When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!”
14 “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.
15 “It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.”
16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Listen to what the Lord told me last night!”
“What did he tell you?” Saul asked.
17 And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ 19 Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”
20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. 21 Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
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.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,
and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.
So because you have rejected the command of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”
Saul Pleads for Forgiveness
24 Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded. 25 But now, please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I may worship the Lord.”
26 But Samuel replied, “I will not go back with you! Since you have rejected the Lord’s command, he has rejected you as king of Israel.”
27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul tried to hold him back and tore the hem of his robe. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to someone else—one who is better than you. 29 And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!”
30 Then Saul pleaded again, “I know I have sinned. But please, at least honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel by coming back with me so that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel finally agreed and went back with him, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
Samuel Executes King Agag
32 Then Samuel said, “Bring King Agag to me.” Agag arrived full of hope, for he thought, “Surely the worst is over, and I have been spared!” 33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has killed the sons of many mothers, now your mother will be childless.” And Samuel cut Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal.
34 Then Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his house at Gibeah of Saul. 35 Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul king of Israel.1 Samuel 15 NLT
Points to Ponder
First off, there are several lessons in the Israelites’ past that Saul should have known about regarding what happens when one disobeys God…
- The 10 out of 12 spies who didn’t trust that God would be with them as they entered the Promised Land. This resulted in a whole Israelite generation wandering in the desert for 40 years and dying. They missed out on entering the land of milk and honey.
- Moses hitting the rock instead of speaking to it resulted in Moses not being able to enter the Promised Land.
- The man who kept some items from Jericho when they were expressly told that those items were to be brought to the tabernacle. This resulted in the man and his whole family dying.
You’d think they would have learned not to disobey God’s direct orders.
Humanism — the Wrong Religion
- Saul was more concerned about his image rather than obeying God. That’s the “me first” society we live in today.
- Saul went too far.
- Saul’s end was the perfect alienation from God. If you feel that God is far from you, IT’S YOU WHO MOVED!
- None of us — no humans — are above God’s Word! That includes the Pope, priests, and pastors who twist the Word or water down the Gospel to fill the pews.
- Any church who wants to please the people more than God, is teaching a false doctrine!
- Any church that puts religious rituals before God’s Word is a FALSE, PAGAN RELIGION.
- Obedience is better than sacrifice. Thinking that going through those religious rituals is going to get you anywhere near God is wrong.
Forget What the World Wants
- Satan’s world wants you to walk with it rather than with God.
- Satan’s job is to erase God’s Word and truth from our minds and fill our minds with lies.
- That’s why we need to read the Bible every day. If you only hear it once or twice a week, it’s NOT ENOUGH!
- Do not care about people’s approval. What matters is God’s approval.
God Wants All of Our Loyalty and Obedience
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.”John 14:15 NLT
Do you love Jesus?
Jesus walked the perfect, obedient life. On our behalf, He sacrificed Himself in our place. In return, all he wants is our obedience!
We don’t want to be like King Saul! We must…
- Obey Jesus’ 2 commandments – love God and love one another.
- Stand firm with a Biblical Worldview not a secular one.
- Go to a Bible-believing church that meets regularly — “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 NTL
- Pray — just talk to God.
- Trust God.
- Follow Jesus no matter what.
- Accept Jesus’ salvation which is freely given!
- Go to hell when you die, or
- Be left behind if the Rapture happens before you die.
One thing’s for sure — we’re all going to die. We are all infected with an incurable virus called death. Where you spend eternity is your choice — Heaven or hell.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.