And he(King Saul) tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. (I Samuel 13:8-10)
The background of this text reads like the JRR Toilken story of the Battle of Five Armies…. Multiple local city states with various pagan assemblies with their “giants of old” had lined up on the battlefield, each in his own camp. Ready for battle.
Sadly however, in this very act, Saul lost the kingdom. Worst still, he lost the Lord’s favor. He had been the anointed king Israel had asked for, and his “CALL” was to be the instrument of God’s rule. The prophet Samuel was not sympathetic to Saul’s reasoning, for he recognized the weight of his error.
The Philistines had assembled to fight Israel with soldiers as numerous as the sand. And the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical, for the people were distressed and hid themselves. (I Sam 13:5-6) Saul and his armies had been in Gilgal for many months and the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited for the appointed time for the priest Samuel to come to them to offer the burnt sacrifices, but when the time had passed, Saul proceeded without Samuel.
Saul would have been influenced by Israel’s attraction with Canaanite customs. At this time, the ark of God was separated from the temple, and the Israelites had adopted pagan customs of erecting alters or hills, without the temple.
Likewise, the priestly family were relatively inactive and the people had preferred to be ruled by a king because they had lost faith in the office of the priests. Pressed for time, he may have felt at liberty to perform the sacrifice and make supplication without Samuel.
How can it be then, that we –though we are faithful -still dabble in disobedience?
Married couples do it all the time. We are faithful to our wives or husbands, committed to our relationships, dedicated to our marriage as Christ commands us – even unto death. But are we obedient to them?
Are we still faithful when disobedient?
We are faithful to our Doctors…when we find a good one, we won’t go to ANYONE else, we tell all our friends and make referral for him/her….but are we always obedient to their instruction?
As employees we can be faithful to our jobs, but disobedient to policies or procedures we don’t care to follow.
At its source, disobedience is rebellion. Whether in our spiritual offices, marriages, or relationships. It is walking in the flesh. Whether we are growing in faith, or leaders in ministry, complete faithfulness requires complete obedience.
God tells the priest Eli in I Samuel 2:35, “And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind.” God tells us plainly the kind of obedience he desires. It is no mystery. Yet often we fail to seek His will first, or being eager to accomplish what work we know God has planned for us, we move ahead of God’s timing as did Abraham and Sarah. As well as Saul.
Scripture doesn’t reveal to us why Samuel was delayed, but if it was a test of God on his heart… at this critical time, Saul failed!
When Samuel met with Saul, he rebuked him harshly, proclaiming “the Lord would have established his (Saul’s) kingdom upon Israel forever, but now, his kingdom shall not continue”. (I Samuel 13:13-14) Samuel discerned in Saul’s reasoning that he was lacking in faith. Revealing that he had become dedicated to the call and the cause over God’s own voice.
Not long ago, I attended a conference in which the lead minister was faithful to the ministry and the work he felt God was using him to accomplish, yet, a serious word was delivered through guest preachers regarding the direction of the conference. Sadly, this minister was clearly in disobedience to the voice of God. If this minister continues in his disobedience to the voice of God…what will he then do to the Kingdom of God?
Samuel warns that “God delights in obedience better than sacrifices, that disobedience is rebellion, and rebellion as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry”. (I Sam 15:22-23) After all, was not the first sin rebellion? And the joint-heirship of Adam into sin disobedience?
We as believers and followers of the Gospel petition God that we might be mighty men and women in his sight. We push in and intercede for revival and plead that our church be set apart and used mightily by God. Sadly, many fall short. We get lazy. We get distracted. We get prideful. We lose faith.
Moses committed this sin when he struck the rock that God had told him to only speak to. Was he unfaithful? Moses could not know the significance of the command he had been given. He could not have known the parallel between Christ and the rock, yet his punishment for his disobedience was no less severe.
But what does this mean for the church of today? Grace covers such errors right?
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelations 2:1-7)
This is the first church mentioned in the book of Revelation. This is a word not from the author John, but directly from Christ the Bridegroom of the Church. The Lord says, I know you have been faithful, you have labored and not fainted! Nevertheless, there is something we are not in agreement with. There is something against you. Repent and return to your first love.Those IN LOVE are obedient to the voice of the other, even in the smallest of things.
You see, they had lost the passion of the first love. When we feel our marriages becoming routine and we lose that communion we have when it is new, we determine to work to rekindle it. We may start by paying more attention to the other, to know their heart, to understand their needs, to return into a communion with them…a oneness. We become obedient to the needs and requests of the other and we act accordingly. When we are successful, a rekindling follows. In church, it is called Revival.
Melchezidek, the High Priest entered into communion with Abraham, sharing bread and wine. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees stating they did not know him as Abraham had known him. They were faithful to the Law but disobedient to God’s voice…. They were without oil.
Jesus gives us the parable of the ten virgins… 5 had oil in their lamps, ready and waiting for the bridegrooms return, but 5, did not. At the midnight hour, when the bridegroom came to call, the 5 without, sought a share from those who had kept theirs in reserve. But the first 5, who were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.
Let us be a bride found with oil in our lamp and the fire burning bright!
Submitted by @ Christy Peers