Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul King, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.”
The Lord God had instructed Saul to totally wipe out the Amalekites. Not a single one was to be spared. Even their livestock was to be totally destroyed. Saul and his army killed all the Amalekites but one – Agag the king. They killed all the livestock except the best. Because Saul did not follow the Lord’s clear instructions, God was grieved that He made Saul King over His people Israel.
What God has established he can de-establish.
Samuel grieves over Saul with this news. He goes to Saul but can’t find him. The King has moved on to Carmel to set up a monument in his own honor. Then he went down to Gilgal.
When Samuel reaches Saul, the King states that he has carried out God’s instructions. There is some denial from Saul that he has done anything less. He is confident that he obeyed the Lord. He also deflects responsibility. “The soldiers wanted to keep the good animals in order to offer sacrifices to the Lord.” At best Saul is a poor leader, allowing those under his authority to set the course against the instructions of God. More likely Saul is lying, hoping to deflect the judgment against him. Samuel tells Saul to quit the blame game! God knows and God sees… and you ‘pounced’ on the plunder, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord.
Saul continues… and you wonder if he by this point really believes his own deception! “But I did obey the Lord!” Much like my 5-year-old would clamor. Saul’s defense sounds so noble, so good. We did this thing so we could honor God; so we could worship Him! Then comes the classic words that all of us need to hear:
90% obedience is 10% short. God wants total obedience from me… and He’s the One who knows! Everyone else in my life will be impressed by the 90%. God knows the truth (in spite of my efforts at deflection) and He encourages me continually toward total obedience. All the other ‘acts of worship’ (and there are many!) are secondary to following God’s instructions completely. It’s through obedience that God is honored as my King.
Father, You delight in a heart that obeys You. I long to bring joy to Your heart! Thank You for encouraging me towards 100% obedience. Your Spirit guides and corrects me along the way. Your grace covers me and all the ways that I fall short. Your love compels me to follow. Be honored this day through my obedience.