Saul really messed up this time! He didn’t listen to God! He heard what he wanted to hear. Boy did that speak to me! I can’t say that I’ve ever had such an intentional message from the LORD such as Saul was given by Samuel. But when it comes to instructions from an authority figure, I have been known to try to figure out a better way.
Saul didn’t follow God’s instructions to the letter. He made a judgment that keeping the good stuff and sacrificing it would be a good idea. In his head, it sounded good. His army was happy to have some spoils of war, too. But that is NOT what God had said to do.
The LORD was not pleased and said, “I am sorry that I ever made Saul king, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command.” Ouch! Samuel’s heart was breaking for Saul. Our human condition often gets in the way of our obedience to God. Yet, it’s no excuse. God wants our obedience.
To be obedient, we need to master our listening skills. How often have you been in a conversation with a co-worker, neighbor, friend, or family member, only to leave the discussion unclear on what was said? Our minds are full. We tend to be thinking of the “next thing” and not truly focused on being in the present moment.
As I write these words, I know there are plenty of times when I have not been totally present with others. If I’m lackadaisical with those I’m face to face with, how much am I missing in my communication with God? This text is a brilliant wake up call for us, don’t you think? What message is God trying to tell you?
Sadly, Saul didn’t think he’d done anything wrong. We are probably just as guilty at times. Samuel’s words make it clear to both Saul and us how serious God is about our obedience and devotion. Read and reflect on these words again.
“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
Lord, you know my heart and my struggle. Forgive me for times I have merely heard and not truly listened. Open my ears, still my mind, and refresh my spirit. Empower me with your wisdom to overcome the challenge that distractions bring. I want to be ready to listen intently for your voice and call on my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.