Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 8: 1 Samuel 15-16

Welcome back everyone! I just want to say great job to everyone is tracking along with us on the 28 Day reading challenge. We have read half of 1 Samuel already and I pray it is a rich experience for you both interacting with the Scriptures and gleaning from the insights of others. Keep it up!

Today's reading 1 Samuel 15-16

Chapter 15:
I'm struck by how deeply emotionally and spiritually connected Samuel is to Saul's mistakes and the LORD'S regret of making Saul king. It says that Samuel was so deeply moved that he cried out in prayer to the LORD all night (vs 11). The question of all questions is found in this chapter; Samuel says, "What is more pleasing to the LORD: burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?" Man! Talk about in your face. We have to wrestle with this question still today. It is easy to worry about going through the proper rituals and religious motions, but what about obedience to His voice? That is what really matters. Rebellion is as bad as witchcraft and worshiping idols in the eyes of the LORD (vs 23) - wow! Saul is rejected as king and now the story is about to take a turn.

Chapter 16:
When Samuel goes to find the LORD'S anointed, the LORD tells him, "The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions (vs 7)." I think this is as applicable today as it was then. I actually did a sermon on this two weeks ago called a Ruthless Invasion. Samuel then anoints David and the journey with David that we all get to witness begins.


  1. Eric I had similar take aways from Ch.15

    Take away: Obedience is greater than sacrifice ...How many times in our life have we been willing to sacrifice in certain ways...say give time on Sundays or even give tithe? Will we be obedient to all that He asks and not just partially?
    I don't want to be half-hearted in my obedience as Saul was!I also...loved how it talks about Samuel was in constant mourning for often are we in constant morning for those that are missing out on what God is trying to do in their life?

    Take away: Like Eric v.7 spoke to me as well "The Lord doesn't see things the way we see them." I had to think about this when reading about God sending a tormenting spirit to Saul, but then on the other hand He essentially sends David to calm that spirit with his music...
    Makes me think of a verse from earlier in our study:
    "For all the earth is the Lord's & He has set the world in order." 1 Samuel 2:8b - I find great comfort in knowing someone's in control!!

  2. Saul sounds a lot like Adam back in Genesis 3. I noticed a very important word in both passages, the word(with).Adam was with Eve when she and the serpent were speaking and yet he held his tongue. Saul was right in there tying king Agag up and picking out herds of sheep and cattle with the people and if he kept silent that would still make him just as guilty.Saul,typically blames others.At first he's like I didn't do it, the people did it.Then his tune changes to the one Aaron sang back in Exodus 32, the people made me do it.
    Saul is such a control freak!!
    He knew what the command was,and that is why his blaming others for his mess ups and sins is laughable. If rank Sinatra were alive back then, Saul would be singing "MY WAY". To think God would want this as a sacrifice is ridiculous. It's like reaching your hand into your neighbors pocket and putting the money you grabbed from his wallet into the offering plate to make your tithe.
    He was sorry he got caught,not sorry he did wrong and he is so proud that all he can think about is his image.
    Poor Samuel. He is like the teacher who gives a class instructions and then steps out of the classroom for a moment only to return to find everything in total chaos!The monitor in charge is just as guilty of disregarding the instructions.
    God never codones sin and I had to chuckle at the visual I had of Samuel taking charge of the situation.He not only slew the king Agag, he chopped him up to pieces. Make no mistake Agag is dead!!Take that, and that.The sad thing about this is, Saul's sin was a relationship breaker. Samuel never sees him again till the day he dies.Don't you think Saul missed that?
    Chapter 16-appearences. It's funny how God gives the okay for Samuel to appear to be offering a sacrifice so Saul doesn't get suspicious at what he's up to and yet God instructs Samuel not to judge the new king by appearences
    I remember your sermon on this subject.Jesus spoke on it a lot too. So often we jump headlong into something because it looks good. Instead we need to ask God to show us what He sees.
    The people saw a tall man and thought he'd make a good king based on his height,but he was a terrible leader and only led the people to do things the Saul way.
    I love how Samuel asks God's direction and never argues at the answer.

  3. Saul certainly is an example of a "Wilderness Attitude". Always on the outside of God's will. But wanting to be seen as in God's Will, but only on his own terms.

    Samuel left Saul and went to Ramah..a high place known for worship. Saul went to Gibeath, which was a hill in Gilgal.(Remember the place Gilgal was for renewal.) Now this hill was the place where those who had come out of the wilderness were circumcised. It was a renewal with a physical sign of cutting away.

    Saul simply refuse to cut off his wilderness attitude. Some theologians in dealing with the phrase: "evil spirit" See this as God allowing Saul's disobedience or "wilderness of attitude" to over take him. Notice that the Lord's Spirit departed from Saul.

    Talk about a wake up call. We must always be on guard against that wilderness attitude.....that natural man wanting to control our destiny. It is God's Spirit that we need to carry out all task that He gives us.

    The last thing that really stood out to me was that David the newly anointed was sent to minister to the unanointed. When we are called to replace someone in the work of the Lord, we might be the very one who is called upon to minister to one we replace.

    Humility is truly a key ingredient in the midst of being anointed of God

  4. Elder James you got that right about humility. Saul and David were as different as black is from white.

  5. For me this entire two chapters is about obedience. Plain and Simple. It shows us that God is not interested in platitudes and excuses. When He tells you to do something, He expects it to be carried out to the fullest extent of the instructions. Saul may not have thought he was doing anything wrong by keeping the king alive to punish, mock, or whatever else he had planned, but he was disobedient in doing so. God told him to kill EVERYONE. And though, to us, that may sound a little overzealous, it was the will of God that it be done. Who are we to question that?

    We see many acts of obedience in these chapters, from Saul turning from it, to Samuel adhering to it, defying his king and anointing the youngest, most inadequate, and unqualified young man for the job, just because God told him to. I believe the biggest takeaway is this, If you are disobedient, God will remove favor from your life. It doesn't mean that He will disown you. Even Saul continued to give offerings and we're not told that God refused the offering. It just says that Saul was rejected as king. Just as if you would take away your son's car, for not doing what you told him. God took away Saul's kingship. So the moral of the two chapters, for me, is this: God loves you, always has, always will. No matter what you do, He'll always love you. BUT, He also expects you to do exactly what He says. If you don't, there will be consequences. And even though it may not seem like a big deal to you, it may be to God. So make sure, when God speaks to you, you listen. Do exactly what He says and don't take shortcuts. Then and only then, will you experience the full anointing and blessing of our Father.

    Those are my thoughts.


  6. Man, everyone is really offering some great insight into these passages. I love hearing how God is revealing different things to each person. It is helping me to see these chapters with fresh eyes.

    Josh, you questions of: "how often are we in constant mourning for those that are missing out on what God is trying to do in their life?" is a perfect question! The answer will inform our next step.

    Laurie, your reflection about Saul missing that time with Samuel is fascinating...I have never thought of that. My guess is that Saul had a very lonely reign as king.

    James, humility is definitely the path of righteousness in the Kingdom of God.

    Robbie, you are spot on. Obedience is what these whole book has been screaming about. Not just half-hearted or some of the way obedience, but sold out, every detail heeded, every command executed obedience.

    Great stuff everyone!

  7. So, I've been trotting along, but have yet to comment. Today was a day that I simply thought, "Saul--Amber, what's the difference?!" As a recovering control-of-my-life freak I totally get this.

    If Saul was truly abiding in the Lord he would have His instruction at the forefront of his mind. He would not have caved in to his people who desired what at the time seemed like the greater deal: plunder and the finer things that were right in front of their eyes. Yet much like so many decisions we make in our lives, what seems so amazing at the time--what we want so badly to satiate an immediate desire falls so very short of the true blessings GOD has in store for us if we are simply obedient and truly seek His will.

    I have yet to find anything that speaks of Saul desperately seeking God's heart. Of all people he should have been humble for the position he was granted by God that he did not deserve, yet he either winged it on his own or half-listened to his mentor.

    Again, such familiar themes. It wasn't until I just surrendered to what God spoke to MY very own heart when I humbly entered His presence that I started to experience amazing rewards. And still I get testy with Him in that I want what I want when I want it like a little child. I want the fat calf that is sitting right in front of me to take NOW. What I know, however, and what I am reminded of through this passage is that all I should ever want is what God wants for me. It not only effects my closeness with Him, it effects the success of my life; and like Saul and his kingdom, it effects all who are under and around my own authority.

    I don't set guidelines and expectations of my children to oppress them. Rather, it is because I have wisdom and foresight that knows of a better life for them. So I ask, how much more does my Father have for me? This is a daily surrender, but as bad as it hurts at times, I know life changed for me forever when I started to truly "get it."