‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.’
The first king of Israel was Saul. He was tall and handsome and he won a few battles for Israel, but he had no patience when it came for waiting for Samuel. He didn’t see the problem with offering sacrifices himself when Samuel was supposed to do this task. He also made a rash oath which could have resulted in his own son being put to death. And he didn’t think that it was important to pay attention to detail when carrying our God’s instructions for dealing with the Amalekites.
In short, Saul preferred to do things his own way rather than obey God. And when confronted, he insisted that he had obeyed God, and tried to justify his actions.
When reading about the things Saul did that were disobedient to God I have sometimes thought to myself that Saul was not really all that bad. Being impatient, being hasty and coming up with what he thought was a better plan than his adviser’s plan hardly seem like crimes. But this is to ignore the importance of who God is. Samuel was not just a political adviser with helpful advice that Saul could follow if he felt like it. Samuel was a prophet bringing direction from the one true God.
When we are challenged by uncomfortable words from the Bible do we sometimes start by justifying our own opinion?
Now God’s plan was to find another king, and this time God was looking for ‘a man after his own heart’ (1Samuel 13:14). We will meet this new king tomorrow…
The story of David: Part 3 Read 1 Samuel chapters 13 to 15.
Online text and audio:
Look out for the details of how Saul did his own thing and downplayed the importance of doing exactly what God wanted.