I Samuel Chapter 15

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Text: I Samuel 15

INCOMPLETE OBEDIENCE

INTRODUCTION:

In the New Testament there are over 500 commands and exhortations given to us. Some tell us what to do, and others tell us what not to do.

In John 14:15 we read, If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Complete obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His commandments is what is expected of believers.

James 4:17 - Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

In order that we might check up on our obedience to the Lord's commands, let's check ourselves on a few of the basic ones.

Matthew 6:33 - But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Are we pursuing after the Lord more than we are pursuing after other things in our lives?

Mark 16:15 - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

How are we doing at witnessing?

Romans 12:1-2 - (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Have we surrendered our lives to the Lord to live for Him?

Are we discontinuing our conformity to the world? How about our choices in music, or our attitudes, or our appearances?

Are we consistently studying the Scriptures, thereby putting on the mind set of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Romans 13:14 - But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Are we becoming more and more Christlike?

Are we still making provision for the old sin nature to sin?

I Corinthians 10:31 - Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Are we doing everything we do to the glory of God?

Ephesians 5:18 - And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Are we controlled by God the Holy Spirit?

Do we have a song in our hearts?

Are we thankful?

Are we submissive to proper authority?

Ephesians 5:22-24 - 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Are you as a wife submissive to your husband as you would be if your husband were the Lord Himself?

Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

Are you as a husband loving your own wife, expecting nothing in return, like Christ loved the church?

Ephesians 6:1-2 - 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Are you children obeying your parents?

Are you children honoring your father and your mother? Honoring our parents is required for the rest of our parents' lives; whereas, obedience to them ends when we are on our own.

II Timothy 2:15 - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Are you making every effort to demonstrate yourself approved by God as an unashamed workman?

Are you able to analyze the Word of God correctly?

I Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.

Are you praying all the time?

So, how are we doing at keeping Christ's commands? Certainly not as well as we should be doing.

Now let's take a look at God's reaction to Saul's incomplete obedience in I Samuel 15 , and as we do, let's consider how amazing it is that any of us is still alive and still able to serve the Lord.

I. GOD'S COMMAND - 15:1-5

I Samuel 15:1-5 - (1) Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. (2) Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him [i.e. ambushed him] in the way [i.e. on the way], when he came up from Egypt. (3) Now go and smite [i.e. attack] Amalek, and utterly destroy [i.e. totally destroy] all that they have, and spare them not; but slay [i.e. kill;] both man and woman, infant and suckling [i.e. nursing child], ox and sheep, camel and ass [i.e. donkey]. [Is there anything about this instruction we don't understand? No, it's clear.] (4) And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. (5) And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.

You might wonder why God did this. I'm glad you asked. I remind you of what happened in Deuteronomy. Remember that the time of the exodus from Egypt was about 1445 B.C. and that they entered into the promised land about 1405 B.C. Remember also that I Samuel 15 took place in about 1025 B.C., nearly 400 years later. It shows that God does not forget and that God keeps His Word.

Deuteronomy 25:17-19 - (17) Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; (18) How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee [i.e. he attacked the stragglers at your rear], when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. (19) Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

II. SAUL'S INCOMPLETE OBEDIENCE - 15:6-9

I Samuel 15:6-9 - (6) And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. (7) And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. (8) And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly [i.e. totally] destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. (9) But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly [i.e. would not totally] destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse [i.e. every thing that was despised and worthless], that they destroyed utterly [i.e. that they totally destroyed].

Do you remember what Joshua 1:8 says?

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

III. GOD'S DISSATISFACTION - 15:10-23

I Samuel 15:10-23 - (10) Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, (11) It repenteth me [i.e. I greatly regret] that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night. (12) And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place. . . .

[Saul was honoring himself when he set him up a place. It means that he had built some sort of memorial or monument. He had already brought back Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle in order to exhibit his wonderful leadership. How often is our old sin nature prone to do the same thing and bring honor to self rather than to God? We must continually strive to keep the flesh in check and under control.]

I Samuel 15:12 b-23 (continued) . . . (12b) and (Saul) is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. (13) And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.

[Oh, really! Now, refresh my mind. What was that commandment again? I Samuel 15:3 - Now go and smite [i.e. attack] Amalek, and utterly destroy [i.e. totally destroy] all that they have, and spare them not; but slay [i.e. kill] both man and woman, infant and suckling [i.e. nursing child], ox and sheep, camel and ass [i.e. donkey].]

[But what did Saul and the Israelites do? I Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly [i.e. totally] destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse [i.e. (that was) despised and worthless], that they destroyed utterly [i.e. that they totally destroyed].

Now Saul says, I have performed the commandment of the Lord., but it's not quite true, is it? No, it's not true at all.

(14) And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing [i.e. mooing] of the oxen which I hear? [What is meant by lowing? Do you remember the Christmas song, Away in a Manger - On the second verse we sing, The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes. It means the cattle are mooing.] (15) And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God [not unto the Lord my God].

[It's not my fault - it's the people's fault! but Saul took credit for it when he set him up a place in verse 12.]

(Verse 15 continues) . . . And the rest we have utterly destroyed. (16) Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he [i.e. Saul] said unto him [i.e. to Samuel], Say on. (17) And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? (18) And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. (19) Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? (20) And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. (21) But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. [again - not unto the Lord my God - I am not responsible; it's the people's fault.] (22) And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken [i.e. to heed] than the fat of rams. [The Lord isn't looking for ritual. He's looking for obedience in a submissive heart.] (23) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [i.e. insubordination] is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

IV. SAUL'S PUNISHMENT - 15:24-35

I Samuel 15:24-35 - (24) And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice [It's the people's fault! I didn't have any choice!]. (25) Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord. (26) And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. (27) And as Samuel turned about to go away, he [i.e. Saul] laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle [i.e. on the edge of Samuel's robe], and it rent [i.e. it tore]. (28) And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent [i.e. has torn] the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. (29) And also the Strength of Israel [i.e. God] will not lie nor repent [i.e. He will not change His mind]: for he is not a man, that he should repent [i.e. that he should change His mind]. (30) Then he [i.e. Saul] said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel [i.e. make me look good in the eyes of the people], and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God [once again - not that I may worship the Lord my God]. (31) So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord. [I'm surprised Samuel did this. I would have expected him to refuse to do it.] (32) Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither [i.e. Bring here] to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately [i.e. cheerfully, cautiously, or confidently]. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. (33) And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed [i.e. hacked] Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. (34) Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. (35) And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death [i.e. until the day of his own death; i.e. for the rest of Samuel's life he never came again to see Saul]: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented [i.e. regretted] that he had made Saul king over Israel.

CONCLUSION:

I Samuel 15:22 - And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.

God regards incomplete obedience as rebellion. Let's be careful to obey all of his commands, fully and completely.

Consequently, we need to know these commands of God and we must understand their meaning. This brings us back to the need of consistent Bible study. Every time we read the Word of God, we need to ask God to show us what we need to stop doing that we are doing and what we need to begin doing that we are not doing. Over a period of time this habitual study of the Word of God should remove our ignorance, and this submissive spirit toward the Word of God and obedience toward it should result in our obeying the Word of God to the best of our ability.

When we fail, and we will, we must confess and forsake our sins.

I John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Proverbs 28:13 - He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.