Partial Obedience is Disobedience

Scripture: 1 Samuel 15:17-23


17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction 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 pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 And 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 listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,     and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,     he has also rejected you from being king.”

In the prior verses of this chapter, we read the mission God has given to Saul to punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel and totally destroy everything that belongs to them (verses 2-3). Saul did what the Lord commanded him but there was a miss. They took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord.

Saul’s intention seems to be honorable as he thought of the Lord and kept the best things to sacrifice to Him. But this did not please God. When he was asked by Samuel, he answered,

I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.

Is there any situation in our lives when we obeyed with “but”? We thought we obeyed the Lord, but the reality is we partially obeyed him possibly by interpreting on our own what God has commanded us to do to suit our desires. Or it might be selective obedience – to obey only what we want to obey and disregard the rest. It might be as well we simply not taking it seriously. We made our own presumptions and thought that God might understand.

We can relate these verses as well on the things that we are holding onto. God might be telling us to destroy all things that may cause destructions to us. But instead of destroying everything, we kept what we think are the best and destroy the rest.

Whatever the situation is, God demands full obedience. Partial obedience is disobedience.

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

God wants us to listen to him and obey. Our obedience and listening are better than our sacrifices to the Lord and our offering. But how?

  1. Read the word of God and do it.

  2. Pray for his will to be done.

  3. Be still and listen to God.

The more that we know God, the more we trust Him and know His voice. We might be aware of what God’s will in our lives is and will be in full surrender in obedience to Him.

Image excerpt from http://onochurch.org

#1samuel15 #partialobedience #sauldisobedience

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