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1 Samuel 15






BY: Jeremy Witt

Today’s chapter is one that should be in a soap opera.  We are told in verse 1 what should happen, and then we read of what actually happens and see the twist of what is to come.  From God’s vantage point, this will be the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”  Saul who was anointed and chosen by God will be disobedient, and God will remove His hand of blessing upon Saul.  Why would God do this?  Because Saul who was once humble and obedient has become focused on other things and not the purposes of God.

Notice in verse 3 what the LORD specifically tells Saul to do.  Wipe this group of people out along with their property.  Why would God do this?  The back-story of the Amalekites is in Exodus 17:8-16, Numbers 24:20, and in Deuteronomy 25:17-19.  Go back and read Deuteronomy 20:16-18 and Joshua 6:17-18 regarding on what the LORD said about destroying the devoted things.

What do we know about these people?  Essentially they were raiders who attacked other nations and carried off their wealth, animals, and in some cases, people.  They were the first to attack the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land.  The Amalekites continued this practice to this point in 1 Samuel.  You could say that they were guerrilla terrorists, and God was protecting the Israelites’ future by getting rid of them.  This destruction was necessary to protect the Israelites, the people, and their property. 

Everything went as planned until verse 8.  Do you notice what it was?  Then read verse 9 as it only gets worse.  Humanly speaking, it makes perfect sense to do what Saul did.  Notice that they destroyed only the worthless or defective animals.  Spiritually speaking, it was “partial obedience” but that means full disobedience.  When we only partially obey God, we are essentially fully disobedient.  God expects of His people to be fully obedient. 

This moment ultimately cost Saul everything.  In verse 10, we see God’s response to Samuel concerning Saul.  Samuel’s response in verse 11 shows his feelings towards Saul.  Samuel was the mentor and spiritual mentor to Saul.  He cared deeply for him and wanted him to succeed as we see that Samuel cried to the LORD all night. 

Verses 12-16 is an interesting section.  Samuel is looking for Saul, and when he finds him, Saul acts as if he did everything the LORD had commanded.  Verse 14, in my opinion, should be read with great sarcasm in Samuel’s voice.  Maybe he had a parental tone to a disobedient child.  Oh really!  It’s funny you say that, because I hear these animals making noises, so did you obey the LORD?  Did you really?  That is the Jeremy translation of how Samuel spoke.  Then verse 16-19 catches Saul’s attention.  Notice his reply and attempt to say that he was obedient in verse 20.  In his defense, he blamed his troops and said the animals were for sacrifice to the LORD your God.  Notice that he does not say, “my God” or “our God.” 

Verses 22-23 teaches us what the LORD desires.  Obedience matters more than sacrifice.  Each one of us needs to have these things burned into our brains. 

Verse 24 shows us Saul’s admittance of sins and notice who he feared most.  It was the people!  Saul feared the people more than he feared God.  So here is where we apply this to ourselves.  Who do we fear most?  Whose words do we listen to most?  Are we more concerned with God and His word or what people think of us?  Does the way that we live show our obedience to God or are we more like Saul and being partially disobedient? 

Posted by Jeremy Witt with
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1 Samuel 14






BY: Jeremy Witt

As Josh mentioned in yesterday’s devotion, Saul did not take care of his troops.  They were not equipped with the proper armor or weaponry.  We will see Saul ignore his soldier’s well-being again in verse 31.  Jonathan is the son of Saul and communication between the two was not exactly what you would wish between a father and son.  We see in verse one that Jonathan just took off and did not tell his father, the king, where he was going.  In verse 17, we see Saul realizing his son was missing.  In verse 24, Jonathan is unaware of his father’s curse.  I pray that we learn from Saul’s mistakes.

Saul’s son, Jonathan is different from his father.  He is willing to be daring and courageous while trusting in God.  As we read the events in verses 1-15, we see traits in Jonathan that are different than those in his father, Saul.  Jonathan has grown tired of the standoff between the Philistines and the Israelites.  He makes a bold and daring move with his armor-bearer.  Notice Jonathan’s plan is contingent upon the LORD’s help.  His plan for success was based solely upon the LORD’s help and the key to victory or defeat were based upon how the guards responded.  Jonathan did not focus upon man as his father did and will continue to do, but his focus was upon the LORD.  Jonathan and his armor-bearer are outnumbered 10-1 or 20-2 depending on your viewpoint.  Their victory was not based upon the numbers but the power and act of God providing the victory.  Something for us to think about is how will we respond?  Will we face the unknown with fear or with faith?  How will we deal with the future of our church or in our life?  Will we trust in God as Jonathan did, or will we sit back and do nothing as Saul did?  This applies to us as a church right now and as individuals.

Notice in verse 18 that Saul calls for Abijah the priest to bring the ephod to seek God and notice what happens in verse 19.  God had caused the Philistines to fight each other and the “turn-coat Israelites” who had left the army of Israel and joined the Philistines had begun to fight the Philistines again.  When God moves, it can cause confusion to those who are not His.  It is not expected or understood.  Notice Saul’s response of seeking God when the noise got louder. 

Let’s remember how often we may do the same thing as well.  When the noise of the world gets louder, do we continue to seek God or do we take matters into our own hands?  Do we really trust that God is in control or do we panic?  We face a similar circumstance as a church.  Will we trust God to lead us to our next shepherd (senior pastor) or will we panic and try to take matters into our own hands? 

In verses 24-34, we see Saul concerned with himself yet again.  In verse 24, it mentions how tired the men were.  Saul’s focus was on the defeat of his enemies solely and he neglected the needs of his men.  Saul’s son, Jonathan, did not know of the curse that Saul spoke in verse 24 and ate some honey in verse 27.  Notice Jonathan’s response to the curse in verse 28.  The men’s exhaustion is spoken of again in verse 31.  Their exhaustion led them to sin by eating meat with the blood still in it, which was forbidden by God.  Read Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 7:26, 27.  This is a law that was also mentioned because of its practice in Acts 15:27-29.

Saul is told of this and immediately up a stone to butcher the spoils of victory to drain the blood first.  Notice verse 35 was the first time Saul built an altar to the LORD.  Yet Saul wanted to keep going after his enemies.  The priest suggested in verse 36 to seek the LORD, so Saul sought the LORD this time.  Yet the LORD was silent.  Then Saul repeats his foolishness again by making a promise of death for the person responsible in verse 39.  The people ask God to show them who the guilty party is by casting lots.  It falls on Jonathan and Saul condemns him to death.  However, the people step in on behalf of Jonathan in verse 45.  It was only after this event that Saul quit pushing to kill the Philistines. 

There are multiple leadership principles at play with Saul and even with Jonathan.  Ultimately, we must learn from their successes and failures.  The big failure of Saul was his focus almost cost him his son and his army.  Saul never focused upon the LORD and sought Him.  When we focus upon ourselves, we are making the mistake of Saul all over again. 

As we lead and impact people, we must be concerned for them and what is best for all and not self-centered on our own agenda.  Ultimately our first focus must be the LORD and His Will.  May we remember this personally and collectively as a church as we face the battles we must face today and in the days ahead.

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