From The Heart

Publish date: 05/10/2004

And Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly! You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God which He commanded you; for the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever; 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue; the Lord has sought out [David] a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince and ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.  1 Samuel 13:13-14 AMP

When the Israelites begged God for their own king, just like the other nations had, God gave them a king – Saul. God warned them that it was not in their best interests to have a king. He wanted to be able to choose and raise up leaders for them Himself, who would be godly leaders and who would lead them into the will and the blessing of God. God knows what is in men's hearts and He knows who the best man for the job is. If a leader does not honor God, the people would not honor God – as we can see when we read through First and Second Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. This would bring the nation down. Also, after that king died, the throne would be passed to his son, someone who felt entitled to it, and not too someone who had earned the honor and who appreciated it.

God's choice is always the humble spirit and not the proud or arrogant. Having a system of kings would not keep the people in the will of God.

Because Israel insisted, God gave them the king that they thought they wanted. Saul was physically impressive - he stood head and shoulders above all the other men – but, unfortunately, his heart was not wholly committed to the Lord. This was a problem for him, his family and all of Israel. Because Saul was foolish, disobedient and proud, God told him that his sons would not sit on the throne after him, but another man, whose heart was perfect toward Him, would become the king. Amazingly, enough, this did not seem to faze him too much. He did not make an effort to change his ways at all – he just became worse.  

God had told Saul to wipe every trace of the Amalekites from the face of the earth. He told him, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, I have considered and will punish what Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way when [Israel] came out of Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." (1 Samuel 15:2-3 AMP) This was a fulfillment of a Word that God spoke to Moses in Exodus 17:14 AMP, "And the Lord said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in the book and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under the heavens."

Unfortunately, Saul and the people did not obey God – they had a "better" plan – they did not kill the king or any of the Amalekite's healthy animals. Apparently, they had spared them so that they could "sacrifice" them to the Lord. But God did not tell them to spare them for a sacrifice – He told them to kill them all!

Then Samuel said to Saul, Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me tonight. Saul said to him, Say on. 17 Samuel said, When you were small in your own sight, were you not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed you king over Israel? 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites; and fight against them until they are consumed. 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but swooped down upon the plunder and did evil in the Lord's sight? 20 Saul said to Samuel, Yes, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag king of Amalek and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took from the spoil sheep and oxen, the chief of the things to be utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal. 22 Samuel said, Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.   1 Samuel 15:13-23 AMP

When God confronted him, through Samuel, about his disobedience, he first lied, claiming that he had done what was asked of him and then he blamed the people for it. Because of this, Saul was stripped of his kingship and the kingly anointing that was on his life. Only after it was too late did Saul even begin to cry out in repentance, but even then he did not humble himself before God, instead he asked Samuel to go with him to worship the Lord in front of the people so that he did not lose face with them. He was always too worried about what people thought than what God thought and it was his downfall. Saul's disobedience changed his own destiny. Because of it, God could never again anoint him or use him.

It is always better to obey God than to offer many sacrifices afterwards.