Lord Jesus, I rejoice that you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Grant me the inner peace that comes from being centered on you.
Read 1 Samuel 15:1–16
The Lord Rejects Saul as King
15 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
4 So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah. 5 Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. 6 Then he said to the Kenites, “Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.
7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves[b] and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.
12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”
13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”
15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”
16 “Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectSometimes God sends people into our lives with a specific message; of encouragement, or challenge, something to help us. Am I aware of someone in my life who is carrying such a message? I would do well to heed them.
This sad and mildly comic passage marks Saul’s final rejection by God. Sad, because his failure to wait for Samuel’s arrival in Gibeah resulted in a final warning (13:13,14), and this chapter will see his dismissal (v 26). The construction of a monument in his own honor is disturbing (v 12), as is Samuel’s question about animal noises (v 14).
However we understand Samuel’s order in modern terms, Saul was told to destroy the Amalekites and all their animals (v 3). Nothing was to be left behind. When challenged, Saul blames his soldiers for poor decision making but seeks to justify himself. You can almost hear Samuel shouting out, ‘Stop!’ It’s the sound of exasperation. Saul has hit the buffers and there’s no way through. It sometimes takes a crisis for us to see things as they are. But Saul’s story is overwhelmingly poignant. He was given unparalleled opportunities, yet proved himself unfit for high office. His tendencies towards manipulation and dishonesty found him out.
‘Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you’ (Romans 12:3).
Father, I need wisdom regarding those with whom I am close. Help me to gather godly people who will give me godly wisdom.
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