Many people today are appalled at some of the commands God gave to His people.
Personally, I often ask myself the same question; “Why does every person, and even livestock have to die?”
We’re about to find out why.
And, today’s Bible study reveals a turning point for the reign of Saul.
In chapters to come, we will discover who God chooses to replace Saul as king. But, let’s move on to today’s lesson..
Saul is Rejected by God as King
Then Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore, listen to the words of the Lord.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt.
Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
Then Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah.
Saul came to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley.
Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt.”
So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
So Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as you go to Shur, which is east of Egypt.
He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
Samuel Rebukes Saul
Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.”
And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the Lord all night.
Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then turned and proceeded on down to Gilgal.”
Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have carried out the command of the Lord.”
But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait, and let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak!”
Samuel said, “Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel?
And the Lord anointed you king over Israel, and the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.’
Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?”
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord, and went on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
“For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has also rejected you from being king.”
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.
Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.”
But 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, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.
So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.
Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”
Then he said, “I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.”
So Samuel went back following Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag, the king of the Amalekites.”
And Agag came to him cheerfully. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”
But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal.
Then Samuel went to Ramah, but Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul. – 1 Samuel 15:1-34 NASB
Why So Ruthless?
I know this Bible reading is a bit long. But, I couldn’t find a stopping point & still reveal the entire story.
First, why was God so ruthless in dealing with the Amalekites? To answer, we need to examine who the Amalekites were.
This was a feared terrorist group who attacked Israel, among other nations, without ceasing.
They threatened the lives and even the spiritual well-being of Israel with their idols and religious practices.
In other words, the Amalekites likely became a wedge between the people of Israel and God.
So, the peace of Israel and their relationship with God could not prevail as long as the Amalekites existed.
No Sheep – No Idols
In verse 3, God made His command perfectly clear. He said;
“Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.“
He did not command Saul to destroy only the lowest or the weak.
Samuel reminded Saul of how “the weak” sometimes become leaders — Saul was such a man himself!
“Selective Obedience” – “Selective Sin”
We’re all guilty of it. What I mean is, we can easily fall into the trap of labeling a sin as “not so bad” when it affects our material lives.
Saul felt he was justified when he saved the best of the best to honor God, didn’t he?
Yes, but when he chose to decide who or what could live, he disobeyed God’s command.
In some ways, I’m like Saul (Heaven forbid!).
As we’ve read here and in other chapters from 1 Samuel, Saul had a bad habit of acting–then asking for God’s advice.
He had the order all wrong.
It’s ASK GOD; then ACT. Sound familiar?
If you have never made the commitment to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16.