Do you remember the story in I Samuel 15 where God told Samuel the prophet to tell King Saul to go to war against the Amalekites? God gave very specific instructions to King Saul. God said, “Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation – men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys.” God gave this order because the Amalekite nation opposed the nation of Israel when they came from Egypt.
King Saul mobilized his army and went against the Amalekite nation. His army destroyed all the people but captured King Agag, the Amalekite king. They also kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.
Samuel met King Saul and asked him, “Have you obeyed the Lord?” King Saul, without hesitation said, “I have carried out the Lord’s command.” Samuel then asked, “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” King Saul admitted the army spared King Agag and kept the best of the animals to sacrifice to the Lord but they destroyed all the weak and sickly animals that they counted as worthless.
Samuel said to King Saul, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice?”
Do you find it easy to condemn and judge King Saul? I wonder if we are as quick to judge the evil, the Amalekites in our own lives…the secret sins, the disobediences, the unforgiveness, the grudges we hold? How do you treat your personal vices and lusts? Have you crushed out the little Amalekites that you don’t particularly love but kept the big Agags that are your favorite sins. Have you, like King Saul, made excuses or blamed others for your disobedience? Do you see yourself in this story? Are you, like Saul, guilty of partial obedience? Disobedience cost Saul his throne. Have you counted the cost?