Summary: We might think we are on the right road, but there are signs that we are really heading down a disobdient pathway.
Passage: 1 Samuel 15:1-35
Intro: A few weeks ago we picked up Tom at the airport, returning from college.
1. on the way up the 101, had seen traffic backing up southbound.
2. so I was smart, took the 143 south to I-10
PP) trace the whole route on Google Earth photo.
3. what seemed like such a good idea to me, with limited info, turned out badly.
4. how I longed for Detour Dan in his airplane to tell me what was going on! But it was Saturday!!
5. this image can be instructive for us as we look at a whole army and Saul in particular, on the road of disobedience.
6. on that road, there are gracious signs, warnings, even red lights that we have to drive through.
7. let’s take a look, and see not only a rebellious, fearful king, but ourselves.
I. The Road of Disobedience is a Detour
1. Saul had become the king of Israel by God’s choice, but was struggling.
2. militarily courageous and successful, but in terms of godly character, a disaster.
3. fearful impatience in chap 13 led to sin, foolish oath in chap 14, now the coup de grace in chap 15.
4. God called him, very specifically, to destroy the Amalekite nation.
5. notice three references to “the Lord” in vv1-2. Hebrew yhwh, the unpronounceable name of God.
6. as well, everything that made up this nation was to be destroyed, all the way down to the smallest animal.
7. this was fulfillment of a promise God made hundreds of years earlier.
PP Exodus 17:14
8. what was so bad about these guys?
9. so God is calling Saul to be the tool through which God fulfills His promise.
10. so Saul raised an army of 210,000 soldiers and began to obey. V7
11. but then they took a detour
Il) French word = “to turn aside”
12. v9, they spared 1 man (Agag the king) and the best of the animals. Why?
13. “they were unwilling…everything that was good!”
14. no problem slaughtering the weak, the lame, the old, the valueless.
15. but argued with the command of God when it came to what they valued.
16. can’t you hear the chorus of “yeah, buts?”
17. they detoured into disobedience, led astray by a wrong value system.
18. they placed temporal values over trusting obedience to God, focused on short-term results they could have now!
19. we do the same thing, hoarding $ instead of giving to God, valuing security instead of obedience, relationships that are outside God’s will, wrong habits we enjoy.
20. unwilling to stay on the revealed path, taking another that seems good.
II. The Road of Disobedience is Full of Potholes
Il) “an excuse is the skin of a reason packed with a lie” In our image, an excuse is a gaping reasonable pothole packed with a lie
1. God revealed the problem to Samuel in v 11, “Saul turned away…has not carried out…”
2. confrontation, look at the potholes Saul is trying to fill in vv15-21
3. the soldiers did it! (though Saul included in v9
4. true, but Saul their commander
5. “we’re going to sacrifice”..vv15,21
6. maybe, maybe not. But either way, that’s not what God was looking for.
7. “but I did obey!” v20. I did pretty good!
8. look back at original instructions in v2
9. destroy everything that “belongs to them”
10. listen to Saul’s mind grinding. “I killed everything that belonged to Agag, but that didn’t include Agag”
11. excuses often take the form of reinterpretation of the original command.
Il) “that’s not what God meant!” We desperately fill in the potholes with reasonable lies to keep our way smooth.
12. “I know I’m not to marry a non- believer, but I can lead him to Christ.”
13. “I know I’m supposed to pay taxes, but I can give more to God if I cheat.”
14. “not really committing adultery”
15. when you have to make up excuses for your behavior; blaming others, situation, you are on the road of disobedience.
III. The Road of Disobedience is Paved with Fear.
1. Saul finally quits making excuses and confesses in v24.
2. but it is the classic confessional excuse, “I was afraid”
PP) Matthew 25:25
3. here, Saul afraid of the people, whether afraid they would kill him, or afraid they wouldn’t like him.
4. underneath that fear of the people, a fear that he could not control the results of his actions if he obeyed the Lord completely.
5. obedience requires trust, and fear is the enemy of faith
Il) trust is shown by the employee who will risk losing his job because he will not engage is shady business practices.
Il) trust is the lonely single man or woman who believes God has a mate for them from within the body of Christ.