In today's third installment we will look at Saul's response to the exposure of his sin. In this and the next two posts we are going to really see what made Saul and David so different and perhaps where the dividing line lay between the king rejected by God and the king that was known as a man after God's own heart . . . read on . . .
Saul’s Response (1 Samuel 15 continued)
And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, "Blessed be you to the LORD. I have performed the commandment of the LORD."(1 Samuel 15:13)
1. Lying - here Saul blatantly lies to the prophet Samuel.
And Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?" Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the LORD your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction." (1 Samuel 15:14-15)
2. Blaming - in verse 15 Saul blames everybody else.
3. Justifying - after blaming everyone in verse 15 Saul goes on to justify his actions by saying that they planned to sacrifice all the animals (they should have destroyed) to the LORD.
Lying, blaming, and justifying - do these responses resemble things we see on the news and in our everyday lives . . . perhaps in our own lives? Let's continue onto verse 16:
Then Samuel said to Saul, "Stop! I will tell you what the LORD said to me this night." And he said to him, "Speak." And Samuel said, "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. And the LORD sent you on a mission and said, 'Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.' Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD? (1 Samuel 15:16-19)
In these verses Samuel clearly points out what Saul’s sin is.
And Saul said to Samuel, "I have obeyed the voice of the LORD. I have gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal." (1 Samuel 15:20-21).
In the face of all this clear exposure of his sin, Saul still perseveres in trying to deny any guilt on his part. As you read verses 20 and 21 you can see the mental drunkenness that continual lying produces in Saul's bizarre self refuting statement where he both emphatically states that he has "obeyed the voice of the Lord" and spared the life of Agag.
(Interesting footnote concerning Agag - In the book of Esther, over five centuries later, a descendant of Agag called Haman very nearly succeeded in a Hitler like plan to exterminate the entire Jewish race. Something interesting to ponder in the light of people's questioning about how God could send Saul to wipe out an entire people group.)
And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams". (1 Samuel 15:22)
Here we hear the well known verse that was behind Steve Camp's great song "Consider the Cost". God is so much more interested in our day-to-day obedience to Him than in the sacrifices we try to appease Him with (Isaiah 58:1-7). Think about that next time you are exerting yourself during a worship service.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king." (1 Samuel 15:23)
Verse 23 is interesting in that it is the verse that precedes Saul’s “repentance”. Do you think there is something said here that finally prompts Saul to confess his sin? Is there insight here to what Saul values most?
Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. (1 Samuel 15:24)
Here we see that Saul knew his sin all along as he readily verbalizes what it is. Saul is more concerned about protecting his own kingdom than building God’s. Are you sorry because you sinned against God or sorry that you got caught?
Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may worship the LORD." And Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel." As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. And Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret." Then he said, "I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may bow before the LORD your God." (1 Samuel 15:25-30)
Tragically, after all this, Saul’s greatest concern is to maintain his public profile by concealing his personal problems. After all that transpired he still didn’t get it! Saul's repentance was not built upon godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) but upon worldly sorrow. That is a big clue as to where this series is heading as we continue on Wednesday . . .
Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1