Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
1 Samuel 15:1-3 “Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over His people….now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”
To “hearken” in scripture means “to hear intelligently, so you understand what to do, and do it”.
“Hearken, Saul. Hear what the Lord wants done by you….who are at the head of My army….hear, and complete the task,…for Me.”
Saul had not asked to be king….as a matter of fact, he hid from it at first. (1 Samuel 10:21-24)
But now that he was king…..he liked it. The power over the army…the prestige and praise….this was a pretty great job! He was finally “somebody”!
Amalek was the people that attacked after the water was given from the Rock. But they did not stop with that….for they had been defeated that day.
So they came up and would kill the ones who were in the back….the weakest who could not keep up, in sneak attacks….
….and the Lord promised He would not forget what they had done.
Deuteronomy 25:17-19 “Remember what Amalek did unto thee…
How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary: and he feared not God.
Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies….that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.”
Now this task was assigned to Saul…..for the Lord. It was not because Saul thought it a good idea….
…but because the Lord keeps His Word….He sent Saul to destroy Amalek.
But Saul did not destroy Amalek….he took a “trophy” captive….the king…Agag.
And he let the people take the best of the animals as spoil. Some, it is true for a sacrifice to the Lord….but a lot…just for them.
The Lord spoke to Samuel….”It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed my commandments.”
“He is turned back from following Me”…..this disobedience is of the heart, not just of the actions.
This made Samuel sad….but he would speak to Saul for God, one last time….and he did.
1 Samuel 15:16-17 “And Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?”
“When thou was little in thine own sight.”
How much is said here.
When you had no personal plans or ambitions….then it mattered not what was to be done,…..only that it was God’s Will.
(But it is when we set above God’s Word, and decide what is “better”. We stifle the Holy Spirit.
“No, this can not be the way to do it. Surely God would not care about this or that.”)
And that is what Saul thought…..God would not care about a king taking a king as a trophy…..but it was….”evil in the sight of the Lord?” (1 Samuel 15:19)
Then Saul tried bargaining with Samuel and God…..the people brought these animals for sacrifice….surely God would like that!
And then Samuel said…..
…(I believe ever so sadly….for he had hopes that Saul would be able to lead Israel in obedience….teaching them to follow the Lord, as a nation….but Saul never did.)
1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great 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.”
Remember, Saul was told to “hearken”…to hear intelligently so you understand what you are to do, and do it.
Saul had heard….with his ears what he was to do.
But his heart had not “understood” the importance of God’s Word.
Saul let his reasoning, and his heart’s desire overrule God’s Will.
(All our religious activities….no matter what they cost….are of no value, without obedience.)
1 Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”
To be rebellious about God’s Will is as bad as practicing witchcraft, and to be stubborn, is as worshipping idols.
Where there is a divided heart….where we think we can have God’s Will and our own….there is danger. For God may let us have our will….what danger that is!
(We think we can never lose out…but we are warned:
2 John 8 “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”
This has nothing to do with salvation….that is a free gift. But it has to do with our joy and peace here,…..and our reward in heaven. For we receive a reward for those things we have done out of love to the Lord.)
I believe the truth of God is only revealed to us, as Christians,….personally….by obedience.
It is by our full committal to HIs Truth, that we know it. And by full committal I mean…actually doing it.
John 7:17 LNT “If any of you really determines to do God’s Will, then you will certainly know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.”
Are we “hearkening to the voice of His Word”?