“And Samuel told him, ;When you started out in this, you were nothing—and you knew it. Then God put you at the head of Israel—made you king over Israel. Then God sent you off to do a job for him, ordering you, ‘Go and put those sinners, the Amalekites, under a holy ban. Go to war against them until you have totally wiped them out.’ So why did you not obey God? Why did you grab all this loot? Why, with God’s eyes on you all the time, did you brazenly carry out this evil?’ Saul defended himself. ‘What are you talking about? I did obey God. I did the job God set for me. I brought in King Agag and destroyed the Amalekites under the terms of the holy ban. So the soldiers saved back a few choice sheep and cattle from the holy ban for sacrifice to God at Gilgal—what’s wrong with that?’ Then Samuel said, ‘Do you think all God wants are sacrifices—empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around God is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to God’s command, he says No to your kingship.’
Saul gave in and confessed, ‘I’ve sinned. I’ve trampled roughshod over God’s Word and your instructions. I cared more about pleasing the people. I let them tell me what to do. Oh, absolve me of my sin! Take my hand and lead me to the altar so I can worship God!’ But Samuel refused: ‘No, I can’t come alongside you in this. You rejected God’s command. Now God has rejected you as king over Israel.’ As Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed at his priestly robe and a piece tore off. Samuel said, ‘God has just now torn the kingdom from you, and handed it over to your neighbor, a better man than you are. Israel’s God-of-Glory doesn’t deceive and he doesn’t dither. He says what he means and means what he says’.” 1 Samuel 15:17-29 (MSG)
The focus of our attention receives our mental, emotional, and physical investment. If you focus on running a marathon, it changes what time you get up in the morning, the food you eat, and your daily routines. The magnitude of a marathon requires full attention. When we pursue goals, the goal is on our radar, and we set out to achieve it. Yet, in life, other things can garner our attention and take our eyes off of our true purpose.
Saul was the king of Israel, appointed by God. In 1 Samuel 15, he set out to fight the people of Amalek for their ambush against Israel. God had specific instructions that they were not to leave anything connected with the people alive. However, on the way to the battle, Saul must have thought God’s instructions were optional. Instead of following God’s commands, he made a few exemptions along the way. His position as king led him to believe that he had the ultimate authority to make the decisions. Surely God’s instructions were merely guidelines to follow. He was the king. He should know what to do. Surely they could save a few choice sheep and bring back the king of Amalek alive. In exercising his authority based on his position, he lost sight of honoring God in the process. He was King, and there came a point when he thought he had the final say. Saul became his own authority and dishonored God in the process. Additionally, he stopped being an influencer and was influenced by the opinions of the people. Because being in good graces with the people was essentially job security. Yet, Saul held tightly to his job as king instead of turning his heart in obedience to God. As a result, Samuel came to communicate God’s rejection of Saul as king. Saul forgot along the way that God had promoted him to his position. He had placed him in a position of leadership to lead the nation of Israel according to God’s decrees. He held on too tightly to a position, and it was taken away from him. In the same way,we live in a work driven culture where positions can define us. Whether it is a job, ministry position, or leadership in your family, over time, it can be easy to forget that God is the one who gave us that position and authority. If we hold on to it too tightly and walk away from following God, we forfeit the blessing that comes from obedience. God does not give us positions of influence to promote our own agenda. He allows us to be promoted in due time in order that He might be glorified in the process. So does God care about your job and work? I really believe that He does. But as he did with Saul, He sees your work as much more than a job. He sees it as an opportunity for your to outwork your love for Him. When we fail to seek God in all areas of our lives and begin to think we have the final say, we miss out on God’s favor and blessing in our lives. God wants us to lean into Him and listen for His voice in order to walk in obedience in all areas of our lives, especially in areas where we lead.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.