Saul was confident before the Prophet Samuel that he had fully obeyed the Lord and accomplished that which he was assigned to do. There was, however a small problem. The Lord had specifically instructed Saul to completely annihilate the Amalekites. They were all to be destroyed as were all their flocks, herds and possessions. Punishment was to be carried out against them for what they did to Israel as they came out of Egypt." Saul heartily agreed to the military excursion, but his resolve wavered when he met the Amalekite King, Agag. Perhaps they were royal friends, perhaps he pitied Agag, projecting himself into the Kingly role of granting a stay of execution. Perhaps the well cared for flocks of sheep and goats were too enticing and he granted them asylum in his own fields. Not a good choice. Even though he had disobeyed the specific directives from the Lord, he maintained his defiance as compliance; excusing the waywardness as a decision by the "people" as a gift to the Lord: " But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen...to sacrifice to the Lord."(vs. 21).
Saul was blinded by his own agenda. He started out to obey, but the evil desires of his heart side-tracked his efforts and he found himself blaming others and justifying his rebellion against the Lord. This act of disobedience and his response to the Prophet Samuel's revelation of the deeds sealed his fate. Samuel delivered the stinging indictment: "Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being King". (vs. 23)
Often, we as Christians have a clear mandate from the Lord. We perfectly understand the direction we are to take and confidently start our journey. It is then that the true battle begins. The schemes of the enemy are subtle and deceptive. Thinking that the end justifies the means we start to take short-cuts in our daily walk. We cut our time with the Lord from and hour to thirty (30) minutes, to fifteen(15) minutes to a nod to His omnipotence as we walk out the door to "serve Him." Our devotion to Bible reading is substituted by meditating on a few scriptures we have memorized as we drive to our "ministry." We pass a tract and tell a stranger that God loves them, but fail to buy them a meal or a new pair of shoes to stop their hunger or cover their nakedness. We justify our deviance from the most basic Christian kindnesses because " the Lord knows that we are in a hurry to prepare for our next sermon or public ministry opportunity." We have all done something similar in our lack of devotion to the simplicity of loving and obeying God.
So many times my young children declare their love for me and then walk out the door without making their beds, picking up their clothes off the floor or rinsing their dishes in the sink. These are their responsibilities. When I call their attention to their disobedience, they want to complain and explain rather than repent and oblige. They are (we are) much like Samuel. I say to them to often, "Please do not tell me how much you love me if you are not going to obey me...it loses it's relevance." Isn't that what Jesus told his disciples? "If you love me, keep my commandments...not everyone that says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but those that do the will of my Father."
The Father is looking for simple obedience; not building our own kingdoms, but His kingdom, His way. When Jesus' mother, Mary and his whole sibling group came to find him, he was busy inside a dwelling ministering to the folks. They sent word to him, inside the house, that he should stop what he was doing and come to them. He did not. Instead, Jesus looked at the messenger and replied," Who are my mother and my brothers and my sisters? Those that do the will of my Father. These are my mother and my brother and my sisters."
Let us follow the Lord with passion of purpose to hear and obey. Let us put asunder our own "better" ideas and just do what the Lord says to do as He directs. Oh, that we would all be found as true mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers in the Kingdom of our God. Amen.