“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. 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. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.’ I Samuel 15:3,9,22.
Amalek was a very wicked nation that God had marked out for judgment when they attacked Israel in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. They were a nomadic people of the desert and descendants of Esau. Saul was instructed to completely destroy Amalek, including women, children and even their livestock. However, Saul disobeyed God by sparing King Agag and the best of their livestock. When confronted by Samuel in verse 15 Saul claimed he and the people spared the livestock to sacrifice to God. Whatever his true motive, he had disobeyed God’s command. He felt like he knew best and had become very proud, even building a monument to himself (verse 12). He had rebelled against God’s Word. Samuel rebuked Saul by reminding him that obedience to the Word of God is what he desires above all. To disobey God is wicked rebellion and brings loss to those who practice disobedience. In this case, Saul was rejected from being king.
We see many in churches today who will not hold to the Word of God but think they know better, at least on certain subjects. Whether it is acceptance of homosexuality or transgender, a failure to preach against sins such as abortion or calls to let women teach men or preach from the pulpit, false teaching or an unwillingness to preach Truth is increasingly present. God is not concerned about the offense the Word may bring to people hearing the message but wants these people to be confronted by their sins so they will find repentance and restoration.
God’s primary concern is that His people obey His Word to the letter. If not, like Saul, we will suffer loss and God’s judgement on ourselves.