Posted By Nan
AN OBEDIENT HEART IS WORTH MORE THAN ALL THE BURNT OFFERINGS
 
Samuel reminded Saul that God does not delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices. His delight is in obedience. Saul had disobeyed. Having disobeyed he then tried to justify what he had done by claiming he took the items as offerings to God, but no amount of burnt offerings and sacrifices could change the fact of Saul’s disobedience.
 
Saul tried to apologise, claiming he was afraid of what the people would think, but his fear should have been about what God would think and he should have trusted God to fulfil His promise.
 
SAUL IF REJECTED BY GOD
 
God rejected Saul as King of Israel. All the glory and power he had become accustomed to was going to be taken from him.
 
As Saul begged Samuel to relent, he grabbed Samuel’s cloak and tore it. Samuel spoke, saying that just as he had torn Samuel’s robe, so God had torn the Kingdom of Israel from him and given it to a neighbour.
 
Samuel never saw Saul again.
 
SAUL NEVER HAD A HEART FOR GOD
 
Nothing Saul could do changed the outcome of God’s decision. His thoughts were always about how he looked to others.
 
He did try to appease Samuel by expelling all mediums and spiritists from Israel but it was not sufficient to change the outcome of his disobedience.
 
His heart was always with the impression he made on others and not on God.
 
Samuel died and the Philistines came up to attack Israel again.
 
SAUL AND THE MEDIUM
 
Saul inquired of God what he should do. God however did not answer him because He had departed from Saul a long time ago. So Saul found a medium and visited her, asking her to bring up the spirit of Samuel. 
 
Samuel’s spirit delivered a prophesy, one Saul did not like. He told Saul that he and his sons would die, and the kingdom would be given to David, who Samuel had anointed as new king of Israel.
 
Saul’s final act, to try to force God to answer him, resulted in his immediate death. 
 
THIS IS A WARNING TO US
 
I have long seen the story of Saul as a warning to all of us. 
 
1. we have the contrast of Hannah and her husband and their faith in God. Hannah’s thoughts particularly were with honouring God and she kept her promises, as well as waiting patiently for her requests to be fulfilled.
 
       Samuel inherited from his mother a great faith in God.
 
2. The people did not have enough faith in God to remain faithful to Him and trust Him to care for them.
 
       They wanted a King.
 
       So God gave them the King they wanted, and it was a disaster.
 
3. Saul did not have a heart for God. He cared more about what people thought of him than about obeying God. He lacked the depth of faith to trust God and wait patiently.
 
4. God values our obedience and faith more than any sacrifices or offerings we make. Even our works are of less value than our heart for God.
 
5. Patience is needed. God answers prayers in His time, not ours. His time may not be as instantly as we want.
 
6. Although I have not mentioned it here, David stands as a contrast to Saul. He was the King after God’s heart. He remained faithful to God during his long training and honoured Saul as King, even when he was intent on killing David. He placed God ahead of what people might think of him. We should seek to emulate David in his faith in God.
 
Samuel had a personal relationship with God. God spoke directly to him and he spoke directly back. We need to do that. We cannot rely on what other people tell us God is saying and worry about how other people may perceive our actions. We must learn to obey God.
 
30 years ago I was in a terrible state. The people I thought were my friends were saying horrible things about me and ostracising me. I felt so abandoned. I prayed to God for support and His reply was to “get rid of your friends, they are no good for you.”
 
What did I do? I argued with God. But they are my only Christian friends. I have to have Christian friends. That is what I was constantly told by my Church. God’s response? He took my friends away and gave me wonderful, caring, supportive, loving non-Christian friends. God didn’t care what faith my friends had. They were His responsibility, not mine. Mine was to obey.
 
I always remember that incident when God asks me to do something. I aim to always obey Him.
 
My prayer for you is that you will trust God, listen to Him, trust Him and obey Him. And NEVER put what others say ahead of what God is telling you.
 
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Nan
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