April 10, 2020
God made us. Like anything that is made, God designed us with a pattern and a purpose. He created us to live in dependency upon Him. And the foundational component of this faith is obedience. If He is our Lord, when He speaks we must believe that His will is good, and we must respond in obedience.
Perfection is not possible in this life, for God knows our frame. But a heart that is willing and responsive to the Lord is essential. And when we do sin, we must quickly recognize and admit our sin and return to Him.
The story of Saul's disobedience in 1 Samuel 15 is tragic. God told him to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Saul did a "partial" job, but one verse is telling:
But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. (1 Samuel 15:9)
Saul’s partial obedience summarizes his whole life and highlights what led to his ultimate downfall as a leader.
10 TRUTHS ABOUT DISOBEDIENCE
1. Partial obedience is not obedience to God. He is holy and He is to be wholly obeyed.
Vs. 9: But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
2. When we partially obey, we often try to cover or hide our sin
vs. 13: Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have carried out the command of the Lord.”
3. Our sin is always open before God and will be exposed
vs. 14: But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
4. We often try to blame others for our sin
15: Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
5. We often try to justify our disobedience, even covering it with “religious” reasoning.
vs. 20-21: Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord, and went on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”
6. God delights in our obedience, not vain shows of religion.
vs. 22: Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as 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.
7. Disobedience is often tied to a man-pleasing spirit; a desire to maintain our popularity before others, regardless of the cost.
Vs. 24: Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.
8. There are always consequences for unrepentant sin
vs. 24: Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”
9. Sometimes our repentance is too late to forestall God's consequences
vs. 24-26: Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord. But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”
10. If we persist in disobedience, God may choose another to do our work.
Vs. 28: So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.
Father, help me see the groundwork of my heart. Help me to be honest about my sin. Give me a humble heart that admits my sin quickly and acknowledges my needs. Keep me from the sin of partial obedience. Let my life show the value of following You fully.
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It is said of Martin Luther that he dreamed he was transported to heaven and there noticed thousands of boxes with his name on them. When he asked the angel what they were, the angel replied, “These are answers to prayers that have never been asked.”
God has much more for us. He reminds us that “we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2).