| Don’t Try To Avoid It Just Embrace It “Does The Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of 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…”
1 Samuel 15:22-23 Obedience, King Saul did his best to avoid it seemingly in some of the most critical moments of his life. He made a huge mistake in 1Samuel 13 when he takes it upon himself to pick up the priesthood in direct disobedience to God’s commands. In chapter 15 he again refuses to do exactly what God tells him to do. Take a look at chapter 13. Israel is about to go to war against their enemies, the Philistines. Samuel apparently has agreed to come and make a sacrifice to God prior to Israel going into battle. It also appears that Israel was severely out numbered. Beginning at verse 11 listen to the reasons King Saul gives for why he was disobedient:
1. I saw that the men were afraid and scattering. 2. Samuel, it’s your fault because you didn’t come at the appointed time (but Samuel actually was on time). 3. My forces were getting weaker and the enemy was getting stronger. 4. I thought about the situation and felt like this was the right thing to do. 5. I was compelled.
Do you hear his words? I saw, It’s someone else’s fault, the situation was going in the wrong direction, I thought about it, I felt; Sounds like he’s trying to justify his actions, even though he knows he was wrong.
Now take a look at 1Samuel chapter 15. In verse 3 God sends King Saul on a mission to utterly destroy the Amalekites – destroy them and everything that belongs to them – leave nothing alive and nothing undestroyed. Instead of obeying God King Saul leaves the enemy’s king alive, kept the best of the livestock and anything that they looked at and thought that it was good (vs.7-9). Then when Samuel sees King Saul, the king starts the conversation with “I have carried out The Lord’s instructions.” When Samuel rebukes King Saul, the king’s response is that it was the soldier’s fault. We spared the livestock so that we could sacrifice it to The Lord (vs. 12-15). Samuel’s response to King Saul was “STOP!” And that is God’s response to us, when we insist on going our own way – just STOP IT!
Let’s not be too hard on King Saul. We don’t have to look too far to find ourselves in these stories of the rise and fall of Israel’s first king. He was more concerned about his glory than he was about the glory of God. He was much more concerned about what he saw, how he felt and what he thought versus honoring God in his life. And just like King Saul, too often when we are confronted with our disobedience we make excuses. It was someone else’s fault, anybody else’s fault, just not my fault. And we always have such incredible good intentions for why we have not obeyed The Lord’s commands.
In our scripture for this week, God tells King Saul through Samuel, and He tells us today, that when we think that we can strengthen our chances of success by disregarding the instruction of The Lord we are being both arrogant and ignorant. Not only that, but we are participating in open rebellion against God. There is nothing that we can substitute for obedience in the economy of God. God’s glory must be our first priority – not what we see or hear, what we think, or how we feel. Nothing can come before His glory. We cannot substitute money, time, sacrifice or any other thing for obedience to HIS word. When we attempt to deal with God based upon human standards we have set ourselves as the priority instead of God. In essence we have made our feelings a god over the God of all creation. Disobedience always ends in disaster. Obedience always ends in prosperity. You choose today which path you will take. As for me and my house, we will obey, by His grace.
If you incorporate these few tips into your ministry/family/organizational operations you will be well on your way to seeing more and more Christ honoring positive results. Visit our website at www.HOWICP.org for more information on personal, team and organizational development.