Faithlife Sermons

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*Partial Obedience is still Disobedience*
Anyone who has children knows what partial obedience is.
We can send our children to clean their rooms and they come out after a couple of minutes and say it’s all done.
When we check, we find they’ve taken all the stuff off the floor and thrown them into the cupboard; and that’s their idea of cleaning.
The Lord gives us commands to obey.
We think that we can just obey part way and the Lord will be happy.
In this section of salvation history Saul discovered the hard way that the Lord doesn’t want partial obedience.
Saul had become the king of Israel by God’s choice, but was struggling.
From a militarily perspective he was courageous and successful, but in terms of godly character, he was a disaster.
Why am I saying this: Friends consider his fearful impatience in *chapter 13* that led to sin, and what about that foolish oath in *chapter 14*, now the /coup de grâce/ [final blow] here in *chapter 15*! Walk with me through this passage.
*The Orders* (verses 1-5) God was not vague in His command.
God called Saul, very specifically, to destroy the Amalekite nation.
Notice three references to /“the Lord”/ in *verses 1-2.*
Hebrew /YHWH/, the unpronounceable name of God.
Samuel said: /“Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy everything that belongs to them.
Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
/Everything that made up this nation was to be destroyed, all the way down to the smallest animal.
This was fulfilment of a promise God made hundreds of years earlier.
We find this promise *in Exodus 17:14* (NIV) /“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven’.”/
What was so bad about the Amalekites?
We find the answer to this question in *Deuteronomy 25:17-19*: “/Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt.
18 When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God.
19 When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.
Do not forget!”
These people had not given the Israelites help when they were travelling from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan.
The Lord waited until they had conquered the land of Canaan and established a king before He sent them on this mission.
The orders were plain.
We might think it’s cruel of God to have all the people of a nation killed, but the Lord knew what the descendants of this nation would do in the future if they stayed alive (*Esther 3:1*).
God, then, was more merciful to cut off the offspring of a rebellious nation than to allow them to continue to reproduce.
They had passed /“Redemption Point.”/
In any case, God knows every detail, and we can only guess at why He commanded as He did, but there’s no guessing as to whether it was the right thing!
So God is calling Saul to be the tool through which He fulfils His promise.
And Saul raised an army of 210,000 soldiers and began to obey.
*The Battle* (verses 5–9).
Saul went to the valley outside the city of Amalek.
He told the Kenites to leave the area before the battle because they had treated the Israelites well when they came out of Egypt.
The Kenites left.
Saul killed some of the Amalekites, but he took the king of the Amalekites, Agag, captive.
They also saved the best of the sheep and other animals /“… and were unwilling to totally destroy them.
But everything despised and worthless, that they totally destroyed.”/
They didn’t obey the command.
They saved the best of the animals and the king of the Amalekites.
*The Road of Disobedience is a Deviation \\ *They took a detour.
[French word = “to turn aside”] According to *verse 9*, Saul decided to spare 1 man (Agag the king) and once that decision was made it was easy to decide to spare the best of the animals as well.
But why? Friends, they argued with the command of God because it clashed with what they valued.
They detoured into disobedience, led astray by a wrong value system.
They placed their assessment of temporal values over trusting God’s value system and obedience to God’s value system
*The Confrontation* (verses 10–23).
God told Samuel to go to Saul.
He told Samuel that He greatly regretted making Saul king, because he has turned back from following God (*verse 11a*).
It grieved Samuel so much that he cried to the Lord all night (*verse 11b*).
Samuel rose early in the morning and went to Saul.
Saul and Samuel’s conversation provides an excellent lesson for us.
It teaches us that the road of disobediences is often littered with potholes of excuses.
*The Road of Disobedience is littered with Excuses*
But we must remember that /“an excuse is the skin of a reason packed with a lie.”/
In our book, an excuse is a gaping reasonable pothole packed with a lie.
*1 Samuel 15:9, 15-21* (NIV) /9 //But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good.
These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed…15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”
16 “Stop!”
Samuel said to Saul.
“Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel?
The Lord anointed you king over Israel.
18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’
19 Why did you not obey the Lord?
Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?” 20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said.
“I went on the mission the Lord assigned me.
I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.
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