Summary: To obey is better than sacrifice. Saul learned that lesson the hard way.
A. The story is told of a lady who went to the Post Office to mail a gift to a friend.
1. The clerk looked at the package and said, “Is there anything breakable in here?”
2. The woman immediately responded, “Yes, there is a Bible with all its commands in that box.”
B. One man went from church to church looking for the one that seemed to fit him the best.
1. One Sunday he slipped into a little church while the congregation was reciting this statement of confession: “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things that we ought not to have done.”
2. With a sigh of relief the man thought, “Thank goodness, I’ve finally found the place I belong.”
C. Where are we most comfortable – among the obedient or the disobedient?
1. The Bible is full of instructions and commands from the Lord, and all of them are breakable.
2. None of us, myself included, have lived in perfect obedience to God’s commands, and none of us ever will.
3. Thank the Lord that we are saved by grace and not by works!
D. But just because we are saved by grace does not give us permission to treat God’s commands and obedience to them casually or indifferently.
1. Our Scripture reading from 1 John 5:3 tells us, “This is love for God to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.”
2. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will do what I command.”
3. John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
4. To love God is more than mere emotion or word, it is demonstrated by our submission to the will of God.
5. As we seek to do God’s will from the heart, we remain in God’s grace.
6. But if it becomes apparent to God that we do not intend to obey him, then he will certainly withdrawal his grace, and allow us to face the consequences of our disobedience.
E. As we continue our series on Avoiding Life’s Biggest Mistakes, we want to learn from the experience of King Saul.
1. He did not avoid the mistake of disobedience, and it cost him dearly.
2. His story is found in 1 Samuel. We will be looking primarily at chapters 13 and 15.
I. His Story
A. You might remember that God had been the king of his people, and lead them through prophets for many years.
1. But when Samuel the prophet was old, and his sons did not walk in his ways, the people asked for a king.
2. Although God warned them about this, he granted their unrelenting request.
3. The Bible says in 1 Sam. 9:1-2, “There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish…He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites – a head taller than any of the others.”
4. So God chose him to become the first king of Israel.
B. Saul actually had a humble and glorious beginning to his reign.
1. When Samuel the prophet approached Saul to inform him of his new position, Saul humbly said, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (1 Sam. 9:21)
2. Saul was incredulous that God would seek him out to be the king. He was a nobody!
3. When Samuel gathered all the people together to anoint Saul as king, they could not find him, so the Lord told Samuel that Saul had hidden himself among the baggage.
4. So they brought him out, Samuel anointed him and said, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” (1 Sam. 9:24)
5. Most of the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
6. But a few people said, “How can this fellow save us?” And they despised him and brought him no gifts.
7. Saul could have ordered them executed, but how did Saul respond to them? The Bible says, “But Saul kept silent.” (1 Sam. 9:27)
8. After Saul’s first victory over the Ammonites, the people brought the men who had earlier spoken against Saul and suggested that they be put to death.
9. But Saul said, “No one shall be put to death today, for this day the Lord has rescued Israel.” (1 Sam. 11:13)
10. I think you would agree that that was a pretty good beginning!