Jason and I have been reading through 1 Samuel as a part of our Old Testament reading lately.
As we have read, I have been fascinated by Saul. I find His story of fear and blessing, success and how he responds to it very relatable.
When he is chosen as king before Israel he is a timid man—he hides and has to be drawn out from his hiding place. Yet, the Spirit of God is upon Saul and he prophesies in one instance and is moved to defeat the Ammonites, who were threatening the people of Jabesh-gilead, in another. The Lord leads Him and Saul gives the glory to God.
After Saul is made king, Israel and he are reminded about the importance of following the Lord and serving Him with their whole heart. As time passes, Saul seems to forget this; he forgets that his success is a gift from God. He begins to think Israel’s success is his own doing.
Samuel confronts Saul after he hears of his disobedience to God’s word and how he sets up a monument to himself. Saul tries to put a nice spin on what has happened, but Samuel knows the truth. He speaks the truth in love to Saul—for Samuel truly grieves his disobedience.
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrificesAs 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 divination,And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,He has also rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23 NASB
His words are pointed.
Samuel identifies disobedience as rebellion. He says pride and arrogance are the same as idol worship. Ouch. I understand this more than I would like to admit.
He tells how God doesn’t care about religious ceremony. He desires obedience. He wants us to listen and to respond to Him. He wants us to love Him with our whole heart—by doing what He says. This is what matters most.
This stands out to me.
I want to listen and respond in loving obedience. This is what I want to understand. This is what I want to relate to.
So this week…
May our desire be to seek the Lord—in Scripture, in prayer, in conversation, in each moment.
May our desire be to listen for His still small voice—the one that often encourages us in places of anxiety and challenges us to do that which we would never think to do on our own.
May our desire to be respond to Him in loving obedience—trusting Him who has shown us love.
May we recognize that the results belong to Him and give Him praise.
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek the Lord and follow Him in loving obedience. May we never forget that our success belongs to Him. May we never grow tired of doing what He calls us to and giving Him the glory.