The Honor In Obedience

Message: In 1 Samuel 13 we read about the fall of Saul. Saul had a constant battle with the Philistines and despite the large military presence he had established they found themselves in trouble and Saul was losing men. Not because of battle but because circumstances looked different, their morale was low and they were fearful. Saul felt the pressure mount as his soldiers were abandoning him and when the prophet Samuel was taking longer than the appointed time to show up and make the sacrifice for God’s favor, Saul’s desperation made him impatient, and his impatience made him foolish. Every Israelite knew that only a Levite priest was allowed to make sacrifices, let alone go into the holy place, but Saul went in there himself and made the sacrifice. Just as he finished Samuel showed up and told him that this had cost him the blessing God would have given him to establish his throne permanently. As I thought about this I wondered how many decisions I have taken into my own hands because of fear and desperation. I can think of a handful of them both large and small, and I wonder how close I was on some of those challenges to see how God would have turned it. Obviously it’s not wise to dwell on that, but it does help to consider how that all worked out (or not) so that I don’t repeat foolish behavior. It’s also important to note that this was beyond impatience. Saul violated the holy place by placing himself where he didn’t belong and the irony was that he did in the hopes of gaining God’s favor. This is where we are tempted to overlook the disobedience in favor of the intended desire. I used to get frustrated watching Disney TV shows where a teenager deliberately disobeyed their parents, got into a bad situation but it eventually worked out and the disobedience was overlooked because they were trying to do something nice or helpful. Man excuses disobedience and glorifies emotional desires. We assume that because we see it that way God will too. This is why we so often hear people say “Well God knows my heart” as if God is on board with their disobedience in favor of their emotional decision. Reading this I am reminded that although I am thankful for the grace of God, I need to honor Him with my obedience.

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