King Saul was a hot mess. He had strict orders from God himself about the battle he was to fight. He and his army of 210,000 men were to kill every man, woman and child, along with all the animals of Amalek. Kill. Every. Living. Being. Leave. No. Survivors.
It was a harsh command. But God had a reason. 400 years earlier, the Amalekites had attacked the Israelites out of greed. With God’s help, Israel won that battle. But God didn’t forget how his chosen people were attacked. He vowed to pay back the Amalekites. And he took his sweet time in doing it.
Now that Saul was king, God wanted to test Saul’s obedience. And wow. Saul failed miserably. He partially obeyed God. He killed all of the Amalekites, except for their king. And he killed all the weak and useless animals. But he kept the best animals as plunder. Saul was proud of his accomplishment.
And after he did that, he rewarded himself by setting up a monument in his own honor.
When the prophet Samuel confronted him about it, he proudly announced that he had carried out the Lord’s commands. Then why do I smell and hear animals? Samuel asked.
Have you ever disobeyed God and then have someone else point it out to you? Has another believer confronted you about the smelly plunder that you have brought into your life? And you deny the sin?
Saul was dumbfounded to learn that Samuel was accusing him of disobeying God. He had killed people and animals. He had won the battle. What had he done wrong? He couldn’t believe that Samuel thought he had tried to play God.
Here’s the thing. A partial lie is a full lie. A partial disobedience is a full disobedience. A partial sin is a full sin. It doesn’t matter if you’re King Saul or John Doe.
Saul was more willing to offer a sacrifice to God than to obey Him. Sure, it’s easy to perform a legalistic ritual than it is to obey God’s command. But what does it get you? It’s still disobedience. It’s still sin.
Do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
But Saul. His heart had grown cold. He lived as though he was his own god and only needed to follow his own decisions and plans. He cast God aside and replaced Him with Saul as god. This battle was not his to win. This was a battle that God had planned and prepared for. It was retaliation on a country who were sworn enemies of God and Israel. There were to be no survivors of any kind.
Did Saul forget that he had disobeyed God’s command? Did he not hear the words spoken to him to spare no life? Human or animal? Pride comes before a fall. That’s what they say. And oh. When the mighty fall, they fall hard. Because of Saul’s lack of obedience and respect for God’s command, Samuel told him that he would lose his kingdom. His family line would not inherit the throne. No son of his would ever be king of Israel. Oh. How the mighty have fallen.
Once we start living with lies, we become immune to right living. We get to the point that we have lived in lies for so long that we no longer recognize the truth. We dishonor God by continually denying his existence. We reject his invitation to join in his family of believers. Saul was blind to his sin. He acted as if he was obeying God. But he either failed to realize, or ignored the fact, that partial disobedience equals full disobedience.
God says he wants our full obedience. He says if we aren’t hot in love with him or cold disobeying him, then we are lukewarm. We aren’t God’s children if we are lukewarm. We can’t be half in a relationship with him. It’s all or nothing. God wants our full heart. Our full allegiance.
Sure. It will be a sacrifice on our part. It will be an intentional act of walking away from behaviors and activities that seem pleasant, but are out of line with God’s commandments. It will mean that we say no when we’ve said yes in the past. Or perhaps, we say yes when we’ve always answered no before.
Has your heart grown cold toward God? Or do you recognize that you’re in a lukewarm state? God wants your whole heart. Obedience at all costs. Let’s do what is right. Let’s love mercy. Let’s walk humbly and obediently with our God. We won’t regret it.