Key Verse: 1 Samuel 15:22
So 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 heed than the fat of rams…”
Saul’s lame excuses for disobedience brought a sharp “Be Quiet” from the Prophet. Samuel was harsh with the King, and at the same time the last verse of our reading tells us that he mourned for Saul. Saul showed such promise. God gave him a new heart, but Saul’s will was not fully yielded to God’s will. Saul’s biggest problem was himself. He wanted to build a kingdom for himself. It was all about him and not about God’s continued sovereignty over Israel. When Saul disobeyed, he tried to blame it on others and to justify himself. Then he immediately followed up by building a monument to himself. Upon hearing God’s verdict on his actions, Saul’s biggest concern was his reputation. He begged Samuel to make him look good. Saul’s successor, David, sinned also, but the difference was that David did not offer any excuses or try to justify himself. He repented with godly sorrow, and took all the blame. Honest repentance brings God’s forgiveness. God will not tolerate a self-centred focus on the part of His leaders. God is a God of mercy, but the time comes when justice, as in the case of the Amalekites, must be meted out. These are harsh judgments, but so was the flood of Noah and, most of all, the judgment of God which was borne by Jesus as He took our place in suffering and death. God Himself, in the Person of His Son, took the full force of the penalty for the disobedience of all humanity. Justice was satisfied, and we who believe in Jesus are the beneficiaries.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Lord God, You have taken the judgment I deserved. Dear Lord Jesus, You suffered far more than King Agag and King Saul did for the evil of their sin. All I can do now is cry out to You, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” I say this with my whole heart, mind and soul. You’ve said, Lord Jesus, that I am now made right in the sight of God. I have no excuses for my sin, and like King David, I have found forgiveness. Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I was compelled just now to meditate on God’s mercy. In the Virgin Mary’s prophetic utterance, she spoke these words: “He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:49-50). Later in his Gospel, Luke records the prayer of repentance and cry for mercy which God hears and answers with His assuring “Yes” (Luke 18:9-14). What comfort! I’ve also just read Hebrews 8, the entire chapter is my New Testament reading for today.
All who are in leadership, particularly Christian leadership, must be warned that God will never take excuses for sin. He only receives sorrow for sin…that’s being sorry enough to quit sinning…and that’s called repentance! Christian leaders have built memorials to themselves, as Saul did. I fall on my face and cry out for mercy. I take most seriously the Words of our key verse, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Once again I pray the sinners’ prayer, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” I remember clearly the words of John, who included himself, writing, “If we say that we have no sin [present tense] we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). What assurance!
Yours for constant cleansing from all sin (1 John 1:1 – 2:6),