“So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah. Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. Then he said to the Kenites, ‘Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.’ So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.


Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.


Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: ‘I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.’ Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.


Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, ‘Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.’


When Samuel reached him, Saul said, ‘The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions’.” 1 Samuel 15:4-13 (NIV)



Samuel had given Saul instructions from God that he was to destroy everything associated with the Amalekites, for the Amalekites stood against Israel. Saul took those instructions and made it a little more palatable. There didn’t seem to be a good reason to destroy the best of the livestock when Saul’s army could just take them for themselves. Saul gave himself permission to have the final say. He had become so accustomed to giving orders that he forgot how to follow them. In a previous battle, Saul had decided to go into battle, but the priests stopped him so they could inquire of the Lord. Obeying the Lord was becoming secondary to Saul’s own decisions. God’s response to Saul’s disobedience was that He regretted making him king. When Samuel showed up unannounced, Saul was proud of himself for carrying out the Lord’s instructions, only to later find out that partial obedience was disobedience, and it didn’t honor God. Disobedience had lasting ramifications for Saul, as God started preparing for Saul’s replacement.


What’s wrong with just doing part of God’s will? Don’t we get to choose what we do? When God’s commands become suggestions, we are in danger of walking in disobedience. Saul couldn’t even initially see it. He had given himself a pass because of his position when he should have held himself to God’s standard as the leader of the people. There are consequences to following our way as individuals, but it is multiplied for a leader. God does not want our half-hearted devotion. When we say no to God, we are also saying no to His blessings. Obeying God in the little things increases our sensitivity to God’s leading. What is God asking you to do today? Have the courage to walk in obedience even if it seems like your plan might be better. God sees the big picture and will honor you for honoring Him.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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About Hona Amer

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