I Samuel 15 and16: A Lesson in Obedience

English: Saul Rejected as King; as in 1 Samuel...
English: Saul Rejected as King; as in 1 Samuel 15:13-23; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Samuel anoints David, Dura Europos, Syria, Dat...
Samuel anoints David, Dura Europos, Syria, Date: 3rd c. AD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today as I was reading I Samuel 15 and 16, several verses leapt off the page. The following phrases, which are familiar to many, are just as applicable today as they were in Samuel’s day:

“To obey is better than sacrifice . . . .” (I Samuel 15: 22b KJV).  Saul’s explanation for sparing the best of the Amalekites’ sheep and oxen was that he wanted to sacrifice them to the LORD, despite the fact that God (through the prophet Samuel) had told him to destroy them. A close examination of the passage reveals Saul’s real reason for sparing the animals. “I feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (I Samuel 15: 24b KJV).

This begs the question: Are we man pleasers or God pleasers?  God’s Word is timeless.  It takes courage, faith, and discipline to be a God pleaser.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . . .” (I Samuel 15: 23a).  To disobey God is to rebel against Him.  Equating rebellion to witchcraft is sobering.  We are all guilty of rebelling against God.  (Praise God for his saving grace through Jesus Christ!)

“[God] is not a man that He should change His mind” (I Samuel 15: 29b).  This is one of God’s attributes.  He is unchangeable–“the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

“For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16: 7b KJV).  Since Saul was rebellious, God directed Samuel to anoint someone else as king.  God sent him to the house of Jesse (grandson of Ruth and Boaz).  Jesse paraded seven of his sons before Samuel, and Samuel was amazed that God did not choose any of these impressive young men.  Finally, Samuel asked Jesse if he had other children.  Jesse fetched his youngest son, David, and the rest is history.

Samuel anointed David with oil, and “the spirit of the LORD came upon David” (I Samuel 16: 13 KJV).  “But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul . . . .” (I Samuel 16: 14 KJV).  This is one of many instances in the Bible that reveals the triune nature of God.

To put these verses into context, read all of I Samuel 15 and 16  (NOTE:  Samuel was the last of the judges.  God had ruled Israel through judges, but the people were not satisfied.  They wanted a king like other nations.  So God gave them what they wanted, and just as God predicted, their kings imposed taxes among other demands.  (Read I Samuel 8: 7-22.)

 

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