Wednesday, June 13, 2012


TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 15:10-23

TO CHEW ON: “’Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, he also has rejected you from being king.’” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Some years have passed from when Samuel anointed the handsome Saul as Israel’s first king. The monarch has changed from a shy, humble young man to a confident ruler who is full of himself (1 Samuel 15:12), looks out for his own interests, and is agile with excuses.

When Samuel confronts him with the fact that he didn’t obey God in completely destroying the Amalekites, he takes a self-defense tack that is not unfamiliar to us:

1. "What sin?" He pretends he hasn't done anything wrong and acts like everything is as it should be.
Saul: “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” vs. 13

2. He makes excuses for himself, blaming someone else.
Saul: “…the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen …” vs. 15

3. He quibbles over definitions, changing the meaning of words to suit himself.
Samuel: “Why did you not obey the voice of the Lord?” vs. 19
Saul: “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord.” vs. 20-21

4. He rationalizes his disobedience, and twists it into a good thing.
Saul: “The people took of the plunder…to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” vs. 21

Samuel exposes the root of Saul’s actions and defenses. His opposition to God’s commands is really rebellion and stubbornness, equivalent to witchcraft and idolatry. It results in God rejecting him as king.

If there is a quality that characterizes our society today, it is rebellion. Note the second definition of rebel:  “a person who resists any authority, control, or tradition.

Rebellion comes to us naturally. Our society admires defiant and rugged individualists. Criticism of authority and resistance to it is the very life-blood of the media. And though the success of a democracy depends on the ability of citizens to make wise choices about leadership (which includes critical thinking), we need to beware that such habits of critical thinking can morph into a rebellious attitude toward God.

What do I do when confronted by my disobedience? If I pretend there is no issue, make excuses, blame someone else, quibble over definitions, or rationalize my sin into a good thing, perhaps there is rebellion (witchcraft and idolatry) in my own heart.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to obey you implicitly. Point out any rebellion in my heart, then help me to deal with it. I want no God but You. Amen.

MORE:  A symptom of disobedience

“Our insistence in proving that we are right (when confronted with some aspect of Jesus’ teaching) is nearly always an indication that there has been some point of disobedience.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest - June 30th reading
(From the archives)

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