But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22
Saul’s disobedience was massive. 1 Samuel 15 marks the rejection of Saul as Israel’s King. Samuel said to [Saul], “You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!” (1 Samuel 15:26)
What made this such a big deal?
1. Saul heard the voice of God. “Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord.This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” (1 Samuel 15:1-3)
2. Saul disregarded the voice of God. “Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. They were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.” (1 Samuel 15:7-9)
3. Saul manipulated disobedience to look like obedience. “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” (1 Samuel 15:20-21)
4. Saul abdicated, which required someone else’s obedience. “Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites… And Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal.” (1 Samuel 15:32-33)
Like Saul, we answer to a higher king. We may not hear God speak to us through prophets or priests in the same manner Saul did, but when we claim to follow King Jesus and make him the Lord of our life, we agree to listen and obey him. He is the King. We are not.
Ask King Jesus, “What’s the most important thing you want to know today?” Write down what he says to you. Whether you are making big decisions like where to move or what job to take or small decisions like what food to eat or what person to invite over, talk with your King and let him take the lead.