Summary: Many times we do God’s will so long as we see the sense of it and agree with it, yet we feel free to change it around a little to suit our lives ignoring His commands.
A Poll years ago said people are impressively religious on the surface, and the poll went on to reveal that 3 out of 4 people surveyed “do not connect religion with their judgements of right and wrong. Obedience to God is a problem, but it’s not new to our age People have always resisted God and the demands of His will for their lives. Looking back in the Old Testament we find such a case of resist. read vs 1-3
1 Samuel 15:1-3 (NKJV)
15 Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
The armies of Israel were to be used by God to destroy a whole nation of idolatrous people. How obedient was King Saul read vs 9
1 Samuel 15:9 (NKJV)
9 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 unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
Despite God’s clear instructions for these people to be utterly destroyed they did what they thought was best. When Saul and his armies returned home God sent Samuel to challenge the king for his actions.
1 Samuel 15:16-20 (NKJV)
16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
And he said to him, “Speak on.”
17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?”
20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites
Saul’s reply fell upon deaf ears, it was weak. He did not do what the Lord had told him to do. Then he shifts the blame!
1 Samuel 15:21-23 (NKJV)
21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 So Samuel said:
“Has 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 heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.”
Wait a Minute!! Didn’t Saul almost do all that he was commanded to do?
Did he not destroy 95 % of the Amalekite’s and all of their possessions? After all wasn’t the original command from God a little harsh.
Sometimes we claim not to understand the doctrines or commandments of Christ when in reality we simply don’t understand obedience.
1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Problems of carelessness, indifference, Luke warmness all exist because Christians look at the matters of faithfulness and claim a faulty understanding of the details just as Saul did! If I can justify my actions to myself or if I can get away with them I’m okay, see where that got Saul! Just having a kind disposition toward God does not pass as being obedient.
A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them: