Summary: Saul, Pt. 4 (Final)
TRUST AND OBEY (1 SAMUEL 15)
I love mangoes. You can buy a good size mango during the mango season for $1.50 or in a box of 4-6 mangoes in a Chinese supermarket for as little as $2.99 and as much as $5.99. I usually buy it when it is $3.00-4.99 for a box of 6. A ripe mango is one of the tastiest fruits around. However, the problem with local mangoes is that most are never ripe - they are usually green, not yellow or golden. The buyer has to put the mangoes in a brown bag to ripen it. Lately, I use the old traditional Asian method of burying it in the rice container to ripen it faster.
My wife and I usually share one every two to three days to make the cost reasonable and to make the experience last. Sometimes we have to eat more because they ripe at the same time; however, overeating mangoes hastens bowel movements.
I know when a mango is overripe since I prefer to peel the skin off mangoes to maximize the eating experience. Using a peeler instead of a knife on even a slightly overripe mango is a bad idea because the peeler won’t budge in fermented fruit. A knife is necessary. A bad mango is diarrhea to the stomach, but a slightly overripe mango can still be food for the stomach by cutting the slightly bad part off. My wife is an expert in salvaging fruits and vegetables, but even the sharpest knife cannot salvage meat or drink gone bad.
After Saul’s disobedience in 1 Samuel 13, he was given another chance to salvage the throne and make things better. The kingdom or dynasty was over but the king was still in power and his reign was still in check. The next assignment entrusted to Saul was to destroy the Amalekites. The Amalekites were Israel’s blood brothers but sworn enemies. They were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother (Gen 36:12, 16). Blood is thicker than water, but boundary is thicker than blood. When Israel left Egypt, the Amalekites attacked them from behind (Ex 17:10), hoping to rob them (1 Sam 14:48). The Amalekites gave the Israelites their first experience of war and killed the weak, the slow and the weary travelers (Deut 25:17-19). The Amalekites were wicked (1 Sam 15:18) and had no fear of God (Deut 25:18). Saul had a chance to redeem himself, but the worst side of him surfaced and the last glimmer of hope was lost.
How do we differentiate between a person who is slightly bad and one who is fully rotten? Does God give people an opportunity to change or repent? What would you do if you were given another chance?
You Are Simply Not That Big
7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs-everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. 10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. 12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.” (1 Sam 15:7-12)
Bernie was a businessman who didn’t have as much money as he wanted. So he prayed, “Please God, you gotta help me. I’ve done wonderful things all my life, given money to charity, I’ve helped other people, I’d like to win the lottery.”
Sure enough, the next week Bernie wins $5 million in the lottery. He buys a $125,000 car and a beachfront condo, divorces his wife, gets a nose job, face lift, fantastic toupee and expensive new wardrobe.
Later, he’s driving along the Hollywood Freeway with his young starlet girlfriend when suddenly he smashes into an abutment. He’s thrown 30 feet from his car, his suit is ripped, his toupee falls off, his face is smashed and there are bruises all over his body.
Bernie looks to the heavens and cries out: “Oh God, why did you do this to me?”
A voice from heaven sounds out: “Sorry Bernie, I didn’t recognize you,” (Los Angeles Times 6/30/94).
Saul had become unrecognizable. Instead of becoming better, he turned worse. The rout of the Amalekites was guaranteed, but it got to Saul’s head. God literally served the Amalekites on a platter to him, but he did not acknowledge God or dedicate the victory to Him. His win with an army of 210,000 men was no big deal, but he made himself bigger than he really was. He forgot that the Israelites previously hid, fled and trembled at the presence of the same imposing Philistine army (1 Sam 13:5-8). The prideful Saul was acting like a big shot, a self-made man and a magnanimous person.