The dark humor expressed in the exchange between King Saul and the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 15 is a perfect example of how believers fool themselves into thinking that they can hoodwink their Heavenly Father. God’s instructions to Saul regarding the enemy Amalekites were infinitely clear. “Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (1 Samuel 15:3b). Now, we may quibble over why God would ask the nation of Israel to carry out such an annihilation, but if we did, we would miss the point of the story.

King Saul either misunderstood God’s directive or chose to only partially follow the commands for his own gain. The latter is more likely as he came home with “the best” of the animals, according to the story. In other words, Saul not only disobeyed God by not following his orders, but he then lied about it to God’s representative on earth, the prophet Samuel.

Reading this story, it’s easy to chuckle at Saul’s audacity. But don’t we, as Christians, justify our partial obedience at times and then devise stories to cover it up? We gossip with fellow believers under the guise of expressing prayer concerns about others in our church. Or we cross lines in non-spousal relationships in order to show our Christian concern for their well-being. Perhaps we become jealous of others’ talents and try to upstage them.

What sheep of jealousy, lust, or pride are bleating in our ears?

Heavenly Father, you know my heart. Help me to come to you honestly, confessing sins completely without holding back, in order to receive the forgiveness and blessings you offer. Amen.

Go Deeper — Ask the Lord to show you any area of your life where you are content with partial obedience to his Word. Entrust whatever is holding you back to him so that you can fully obey his will in the Spirit’s strength.

Tags: Trust & Obey 1 Samuel 15
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