Saturday, April 21, 2012

Letting Go of King Agag

King Saul made some mistakes during his reign, but he made a final blunder that ended his career as King of Israel. I focus on this because King Saul did something we can all relate to and have all done to some extent in our individual lives.

I'll summarize the story. (You can read it all in 1 Samuel 15.)

The prophet, Samuel, gave a message from the Lord to King Saul. He said, "The Lord says, '...Go and attack Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, sheep and ox, infant and nursing child, camel and donkey."

So, Saul went into the Amalekites' land and began destroying them, but he decided to spare their king, King Agag. They destoryed everything except the good things, like the best of the lambs, ox and sheep.

Well, needless to say, King Saul's actions didn't make God or Samuel very happy. After hearing a word from the Lord, the prophet met with Saul. Saul said, "I have performed the commandment of the Lord!" I can see Saul now, getting all excited talking to Samuel, thinking that he should be praised for wiping out the Amalekites. But, Samuel did not praise Saul.

He said, "Well, what is this bleating of sheep and lowing of oxen that I'm hearing in my ears?"

Saul tried to explain, "Well, we thought we would keep the best lambs and animals to offer as offerings to God. But the rest we destroyed!"

"Be quiet!" Samuel said. "The Lord sent you on a mission to destroy and not spare the Amalekites. Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?"

"But I HAVE obeyed the voice of the Lord!" Saul insisted.

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. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”

Saul added to the commandment of the Lord. He put in his own words and opinions. The Lord said, "WIPE IT OUT!" Saul said, "We'll wipe it out, but..." Because of this, Saul was rejected as the King of Israel.

This story brings me back to how important obedience to the Lord is. Compromising is failure to the Lord. Anytime we insert a little of our word into God's? We've failed. Let's relate this Old Testament story to a New Testament scripture.

Matthew 7 says, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" 

This passage is talking about final judgement. There are people who are going to say, "Oh, I was saved! I did all these good things and even said a prayer for salvation! I went to church! I gave money to the poor!" But God is going to reject them because they exchanged the truth of God's Word for a lie. They believed that what they did would make them more acceptable to God. Well, folks, nothing you do is going to make you more acceptable to Jesus Christ. If you're trying to impress him with your bucket list, you're gonna fail. He wants us to believe in him, have a heart change, and spread the gospel.

The people in Matthew 7 believed that they would go to heaven for casting out demons because they started infusing their own pride and opinions with what God said. Don't we do that every day? Instead of just obeying the Lord, we try to manipulate or bend the instructions so our selfish selves get what we want. God tells me, "Ashley, let go of him. He's not what I have for you." But, I bend the instructions a little. "Well, God just said that he doesn't want me to hang out with him so much. If I'm still his friend, I can witness to him!" That's disobedience! When God gives me instructions, I must obey. When He says, "Ashley, go to Bible school!" I can't reply with, "I will....after college." Mistakes and plain disobedience can cost us our careers, health, emotional stablitiy and who knows what else? When we hear the call, we need to abandon all. All hopes, desires, dreams, opinions, reputations and everything else. We have to just kill King Agag whether we wanted to save him or not. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Ashley, I just want to tell you how much you mean to me! I've gotten so caught up in my own selfishness and my own ways lately, that I have pushed God aside in my life. I needed a reminder to stay in love and you gave me that through this post! God CONSTANTLY uses you in people's lives; someday, when you finally met Christ, He will smile upon you and call you His good and faithful servant! Thank you for changing my life and the lives of others, and for your honesty! Just, thank you!!!

Lexi Winters