Summary: Message about how our obedience is better than our sacrifice.
Title: Obedience is Better than Sacrifice
Theme: As the title states
Text: 1 Samuel 15:1-23
After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.
Saul was a fighting King. He was a great general. He dealt all kinds of misery to Israel’s enemies from the day he took charge…. It’s not unusual for God to use gifted people when He has a job to be done. Saul’s talent was making the enemies of Israel dead. He was good at it!
God had a job that needed to be done, and don’t you know it was right up Saul’s alley… We read about it beginning in Chapter 15…-
(1) 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.
Saul was the King of the people. In 1 Samuel 8 we read that the people called for a king. Two reasons 1) Samuel was old and his sons had rejected the heritage of their father. The people were afraid of what would happen when Samuel would die 2) The nations around them had a king and they had been tormented by them. They wanted a leader. In this same chapter we read that God was angry yet gave into their request.
Samuel was prepared to anoint a king. Here is Saul. He is described as
1Sa 9:2 And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
This was the peoples king. Even Samuel was impressed. Yet as we read in 1 Samuel 16 this was Samuel’s problem he looked on the outside. God was looking on the inside
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
So in verse 2 of 1 Samuel 15, God gives a command to Saul
(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.'"
Don’t get distracted by the commands of the Lord here. This sometimes can cause us confusion when we read of these commands. This was not uncommon during this time for all nations. This is how God had chosen to judge some nations. The judgment for Amalek was prophesied in Exodus 17. They were a thorn in Israel’s flesh, attacking them, Numbers, Judges.
(4) So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. (5) And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley. (6) Then Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed 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 attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt.
(8) He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. (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.
As you know this is direct disobedience against what God had told him to do.
(10) Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying,
God’s Response to Samuel
(11) "I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me,
and has not performed My commandments." And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night.
KJV “I repent, that I have made Saul king”
Samuel prayed for Saul all night.
(12) So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, "Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal."