1 Samuel 15:1-9 - The Seriousness of Disobeying God
One of the most serious behaviors in the entire world is an act of disobedience. The word disobedeince is mainly used in the New Testament although it is used in the Old Testament.
1. Definition of disobedience: unwillingness to comply with the guidance of authority, especially refusal to follow God’s will. The stronger meaning of actual stubbornness or violence is perhaps conveyed in the Old Testament
a) The first and most crucial act of disobedience occurred when Adam and Eve ate of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 3).
After Adam disobeyed God, the Lord said "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. " (Genesis 3:17, NKJV)
b) Disobedience involves setting the desire of the flesh above the will of God. As a result of this, all people became “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2).
Paul wrting to the church in Ephesus says "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." (Ephesians 2:1-3, NKJV)
c) As Christians we have no choice but to engage in a kind of spiritual warfare against our own natural tendency to disobey God:
Paul says in 2 Corinthians "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. " (2 Corinthians 10:5-6, NASB95)
Jesus Himself said to "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”" (Matthew 26:41, NKJV)
d) We should aim to be as obedient to God’s will as Christ was (Matt.26:39, 42, 52-52; Heb.5:8-9).
The Scriptures say, "He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8, NKJV)
2. When A Person Disobeys Those In Authority, Trouble Follows.
a) The trouble may be minor or it may be major; nevertheless, trouble & problems take place.
(1) If a child disobeys a parent and touches a hot stove, a minor problem arises: the child's finger is burned. But if the child disobeys a parent and plays with matches around some flammable object, a major consequence occurs: the child is severely burned or causes some major destruction to property.
b) Disobedience To God Is The Practical Subject Of This Present Passage Of Scripture.
(1) The Lord gave Saul a very special privilege, a unique opportunity to fulfill a prophecy that God had given to Moses generations before. This prophecy was the prediction that the Amalekites would face the judgment of God and be erased from the face of the earth (Exodus 17:14).
(2) It was now time for the prophecy to be executed, time for the hand of God's judgment to fall upon the Amalekites. And the instrument of God's judgment was to be King Saul. Therefore, the command of God was given to Saul: he was to carry out the execution of God's judgment. But Saul disobeyed and failed God miserably. And in his disobedience, his decline reached its climax: God finally rejected Saul. The final straw of God's patience was broken, and the hand of God's judgment fell upon Saul himself—all because of his disobedience.
A. The Clear Command of God to Totally Destroy the Amalekites (v.1-9).
Here we see a picture of the need to obey God in conquering spiritual enemies (v.1-9)
1. The source of the command (v.1-2).
a) Heed the voice of the Words of the Lord (v.2).
(1) This is, in a sense, is a second opportunity for Saul to follow the commands of the LORD. Saul had failed in the 13th chapter when he had gathered with the people at Gilgal and did not show up at the appointed time. Also, he intruded into the office of the priesthood and offered up a sacrifice, which was not for kings to do - it was only for the priests to do. Samuel rebuked him and told him that he had not obeyed the voice of the LORD: “He had done foolishly.”
(2) Now Samuel comes with a command from God & exhorts him to listen again!
Peter, towards the end of his life said, "For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” (2 Peter 1:12-15, NKJV)
(3) One of the things that we need to be constantly reminded of is to listen to God when He gives us a warning. God never warns us needlessly.
b) The Lord of Hosts.
(1) This is the first time God is referred to as the Lord of hosts or armies. The term stresses God's sovereignty, rule, and supremacy—His ultimate leadership of Israel's armies and His supreme control over all the armies and hosts of the universe, both in heaven and earth. God is…
(a) the Lord of heavenly hosts such as angels (Joshua 5:14; 1 Kings 22:19; Psalms 148:2)
(b) the Lord of human hosts such as human armies (Exodus 7:4; Psalms 44:9)
(c) the Lord of celestial hosts such as the sun, moon, and stars (Genesis 2:1; Deuteronomy 4:19; Isaiah 40:26)
(d) the Lord who will ultimately subject all who oppose Him and His dear people (Isaiah 24:21-23; 34:1-10; Philippians 2:9-11)
(2) Lord of hosts is a military term used over 260 times in the Old Testament, primarily by the prophets. When they prayed and cried out to God, they did not often address Him simply as Lord nor use the term that we often use, "Father.” But they cried to Him, "O Lord of hosts"—you who are Lord Almighty, the Supreme Ruler of the universe, the Lord in control of all the armies of earth and heaven….” For example, it is used by Isaiah (62 times), Jeremiah (79 times), Zechariah (53 times), and Malachi (24 times).
(3) As the Lord Almighty, the ruler over all nations, He has the right to execute judgment against any nation when the people deserve to be judged.
2. The reason for God's judgment (v.2).
a) The behavior of the Amalekites-were beyond repentance, change.
This is what is known as the "cup of iniquity being full"—filled to the point that it overflows and continues to overflow with sin. History has shown that this type of behavior can be true of both individuals and nations. A person's or a nation's "cup of iniquity" can become full—beyond repair or repentance, beyond hope or correction. God declares this fact time and again in the Scriptures:
God says in Genesis that "In the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.“ (Genesis 15:16, NKJV)
The Lord says in Leviticus "Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:24-25, NKJV)
Listen to what the Lord said in Leviticus "I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has given some of his descendants to Molech, to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name.” (Leviticus 20:3, NKJV)
b) God is a just God as well as a God of love.
(1) God loves all people, but he is also a just God who executes justice upon the earth.
(2) When the "cup of iniquity becomes full"—beyond repair or repentance or correction—that person or people are to be judged. Justice is to be executed upon them. This is the reason He has appointed a day in which He Himself will judge the world (Acts 17:30-31).
c) Israel was God’s instrument of justice & judgment against the nations of Canaan (Deut.9:5-6).
(1) The Israelites did not receive the promised land of Canaan because of some merit or value within themselves. In justice and judgment, God Himself destroyed the Canaanites, and it was because of their wickedness that He destroyed them.
(2) The Canaanites were destroyed because they were evil and their "cup of iniquity" had been filled to the brim. They reached the point of no repentance; they were beyond correction. Moses himself declared to the Israelites:
We should never think that it is because of our goodness that God drives out our enemies, He says "Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you. It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people." (Deuteronomy 9:4-6, NKJV)
(3) And here we see that it was time for the Amalelites to be wiped out completely. The Amalekites were engaged in extremely vile practices of the worship of their god.
(a) They offered up their children as sacrifices to their god. In the course of time they would have destroyed themselves.
(b) They were infected, you might say, with a deadly contagious disease that could corrupt mankind.
(c) Therefore, God is ordering their extermination & God is using Saul and the children of Israel as His instrument in bringing judgment.
3. The History of Amalek.
a) Where did the Amalakites come from?
(1) In (Gen.36:12) we read that Timna was a concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son, and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek
(2) So Amalek was the grandson of Esau.
(3) Esau has the interesting distinction of being the only one in the scriptures of which it declares that God hated him (Romans 9:13; Malachi 1:3).
(a) Did God really hate Esau? Yes. He hated the evil Esau represented. He hated Esau’s unbelief and sin and worldliness. And in a very real sense, God hated Esau himself. It was not a petty, spiteful, childish kind of hatred, but something far more dreadful. It was divine opposition—a holy loathing directed at Esau personally. God abominated him as well as what he stood for.
(4) Esau hated the things of God; he was a man of the flesh.
(a) He despised His birthright and sold it for one bowl of lentil stew (Gen. 25:34).
(b) He brought nothing but grief to his parents (26:35).
(c) He plotted to kill his own brother (27:41).
(d) He married pagan women because he knew it displeased his father (28:8–9).
(e) He lived a careless, worldly life of utter disregard and disrespect for the God of his ancestors. Certainly God hated all that, as well as Esau himself.
(f) The feeling was mutual, Esau hated God.
b) The Amalekites attacked Israel shortly after they had come out of Egypt (Ex.17:8-16).
(1) Theirs was a sneak attack against the rear of the camp. Against the old and feeble, who could not keep up with the pace of the moving people?
(2) God hates it when the strong take cruel advantage over the weak, especially when the weak are His people. So God promised to bring judgment against the Amalekites.
(3) This is the battle where Moses held up his arms and Israel prevailed, and when he dropped his arms Amelek prevailed (v.11-12). This shows that prayer is the prevailing factor to overcoming the flesh:
Jesus Himself said to the disciples in the placed call Gethsemane, "Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.“ (Matthew 26:36-41, NKJV)
(4) The Amalekites Were Always Opposing The People Of God.
(a) When they first tried to enter the Promised Land after their failure to trust God because of the evil report of the 10 spies, it was the Amalakites that came down from the hills and defeated them.
(b) We find the teaming up with the Moabites on one occasion to attack Israel. On another occasion they teamed up with the Zidonites. Yet on another occasion with the Midianites, and still another with the Canaanites. It seemed that it didn't make any difference who was fighting Israel; the Amalakites would join forces with them to destroy Israel.
(5) God announced after the victory that He would have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
As God was giving Moses instructions concerning their settling in the new land, He said, "Remember what Amalek did when you came out of Egypt, the sneak attack against feeble, those who were weary and faint. When you have settled in the land and have established yourselves, you are to blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Don't forget this (Deut.25:17-19).
(6) The Time To Fulfill This Command Of God Has Come.
(a) Time does not erase sin before God, only the blood of Jesus Christ can erase sin, not time. The Amalekites were given every opportunity to repent but did not!
(b) God wants this old score with Amalek to be settled.
(c) Saul & his army are to be the instruments of God's judgment against these vile people.
c) Amalek – A Type of the Flesh.
(1) Agag Literally “I will overcome” The flesh will overcome if you do not put it to death!
(2) God declares of the flesh life that you are going to have war with it through all generations. There is a constant war going on inside of every believer: whether or not I am going to yield to the flesh or to the Spirit.
Remember as we noted earlier that Jesus said to "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41, NKJV)
Paul tells us in Galatians "The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict." (Galatians 5:17, NLT; cf. Romans 7:14-25)
(3) Even as the Amalekites attacked Israel from the rear, the flesh seeks to attack me at my weakest point.
(4) Even as God swore that He would have war with Amalek from generation to generation, it seems that there is no end to my war against the flesh. As long as I live in this body, I will have war against the flesh.
(5) There is a battle over the supremacy in my life. Will I be ruled over by my flesh? Or by the Spirit? This battle will continue as long as I am in this body.
Paul had a passionate longing to be free from his body saying "We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing…” "Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life.” (2 Corinthians 5:2, 4, NLT)
Though believers souls have been redeemed, their bodies have not, Paul said "Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23, NKJV)
d) Man is either ruled by the flesh or by the spirit.
(1) I Must Rule Over My Bodily Appetites, Not My Bodily Appetites Ruling Over Me.
There is nothing wrong with these appetites because God created them, however they must be kept in their proper place. They were intended to serve me, not rule over me.
Just as God asked Cain "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.“ (Genesis 4:6-7, NKJV)
God says in concerning the flesh that we "By the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body" (Romans 8:13, NKJV)
We must learn to control our desires, Paul said that "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, NIV)
Remember that it is a choice that we are to make, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:12-14, NKJV)
"I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness." (Romans 6:19, NKJV)
(2) If my flesh rules me, I then possess what the Bible terms the mind of the flesh. That is my consciousness is dominated with thoughts of fleshly desires, and how to satisfy them.
(a) Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
(b) If a man is always talking about his latest pleasure adventure, whether in the realm of food, drink or sex, he is only demonstrating that he is dominated by his flesh.
(3) If my spirit rules, then I live in the consciousness of God. He fills my thoughts. I have what the scriptures term the mind of the spirit.
(a) To come to the mind of the spirit I must be born again. Born of the Spirit.
(b) This is necessary to know and worship God. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
4. The command (v.3).
a) To totally destroy everything-not sparing anything (v.3).
(1) The word means to annihilate, exterminate, eliminate, abolish. The word is related to the Hebrew herem which means "to devote to the ban."
(a) Once something had been promised or devoted to God, it was placed under the ban: it could not be removed. If it was a gift, it had to be given to God.
(b) If it was the promise to do something, then it had to be done. If it was a vow to devote something to destruction, then it had to be destroyed or exterminated. In ancient days, this was known as the harem principal or law. Once a person or thing had been devoted to the Lord, it could not be removed. It went to the Lord.
"So Israel made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” And the Lord listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called Hormah.” (Numbers 21:2-3, NKJV)
"But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 20:16-18, NKJV)
"For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord had commanded Moses." (Joshua 11:20, NKJV)
(2) God had one command for Amalek, utter destruction.
(a) Not to try to conquer, and then reform.
(b) God has one rule for you flesh life. Death. Crucify the old man with his affections and lusts. If we by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, then we shall live. Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the desires thereof.
b) Christians today are to waging war.
(1) Would God call His people today to fight such a war of judgment? Many today feel this is their real agenda of the “religious right” to rule the world according to the Bible. But God has a completely different call for Christians under the New Covenant that He did for Israel under the Old Covenant.
(2) Jesus made it clear that He was establishing a spiritual kingdom, not a political or a military kingdom.
Jesus said in John 18:36: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.
Paul made it clear that the enemies of the church were not material, but spiritual: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
We want to win the world for Jesus Christ, but we want to do it through the influence of individual lives, transformed one at a time by the spiritual power of Jesus Christ.
5. The mobilization of the army by Saul (v.4-5)
a) 200,000 foot soldiers plus 10,000 more from Judah gathered at Telaim (v.4)
b) The strategy of Saul: To set an ambush against the city of Amalek (v.5)
6. The secret warning given to the Kenites (v.6-7)
a) Because of their alliance and friendly relations with Israel (v.6)
b) The victory over the Amalekites (v.7)
7. The refusal of Saul and his army to destroy everything (v.8-9).
a) Everything despised and worthless they utterly destroyed (v.8).
(1) They took the care to make sure that they took home the best, and I can imagine they were all pleased with what they had gained after the battle.
(a) I believe this is the worst of all, because Israel was not reflecting the heart of God in His judgment.
(b) When they came home happy and excited because of what they gained from the battle, they implied there was something joyful or happy in the midst of God’s judgment. This dishonored God, who brings His judgment reluctantly and without pleasure, longing that man would have repented instead.
The Lord asks Ezekiel the question "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live…? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”“ (Ezekiel 18:23, 32, NKJV)
The Lord told Ezekiel to "Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 33:11, NKJV)
(2) The Lord desires that all men would be saved, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9)
b) An unwillingness to completely obey God (v.9)
(1) Partial Obedience is Complete Disobedience.
(a) Spared the king, Agag (v.8)
(b) Spared the best animals and everything else that was of value (v.9a)
(c) Destroyed only the weak animals and the things of no value or of poor quality (v.9b)
(2) Due to Saul’s disobedience in sparing Agag, the Amalekite king and some of his people (1 Sam. 15:7–9), he lost his throne (v. 23).
(3) Samuel killed Agag (v. 33), but some Amalekites remained to return a few years later to raid Israel’s southern territory, even capturing David’s family (1 Sam. 30:1–5). David killed all but 400 (v. 16, 17) who escaped.
8. The story of Esther and the almost eradication of the Jews (Esther 3:1-6).
a) Haman was a descendant of Agag.
(1) Because Saul did not fully obey the command of the Lord to totally destroy Agag, Haman, a descendant of Agag, is now seeking to destroy the entire race of the Jews.
(2) Not obeying the command of God almost cost the whole nations extermination.
b) If you do not crucify your flesh, your flesh will destroy you.
(1) The Haman in your life is that area of the flesh that has not yet been dealt with that is seeking to bring you under bondage again to the flesh life.
(2) It is that area of your life that has not yet been fully surrendered to Christ.
(a) You have not yet brought it to the cross that it might be destroyed.
Paul wrote to the Romans saying, "knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." (Romans 6:6, NKJV)
Now it is Christ that lives in us, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”" (Galatians 2:20-22, NKJV)
If your are a child of God the Scriptures declare that "Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:23-25, NKJV)