Saul was chosen to be the king of Israel by God through the agency of Samuel. He was a good looking, forceful, leader. But, like all of us he was flawed. He was told, in 1 Samuel 15:3, to destroy Amalek. In Exodus 17:8 – 16, we read that as Israel was coming out of Egypt, Amalek came and fought them. God was not pleased with this. He commanded Saul to destroy, completely destroy Amalek. He told Saul to leave absolutely nothing alive.
But we read in 1 Samuel 15:7 – 9, that although Saul did roundly defeat Amalek, he did not wipe them out. He kept what he considered to be the best destroying only what he deemed worthless. When Samuel confronted Saul’s disobedience, Saul, in 1 Samuel 15:24 blamed the people. He said that he feared the people. He was more concerned with what he said the people wanted than what God wanted.
Couple of side notes here. First, in the text there is no indication that Saul was approached by the people. He is portrayed as being in on the decision to keep the “best”. Second, since the garden it has been human nature to blame shift when we disobey. Adam blamed Eve and ultimately God for his disobedience. Eve blamed the snake. None of us seem to want to quickly own up to our disobedience.
The Ongoing Pattern
Saul disobeyed because he feared the people. Let’s go with that for a minute. It made me wonder in what ways I am disobeying the Lord because of my fear of people. I am not a big fan of conflict. I enjoy being accepted much more than I enjoy rejection. If at all possible I would prefer to avoid persecution and suffering. There have been times that I have stopped short of sharing my faith with people for fear they would react negatively.
Our Call to be Different
In the culture today there are several “third rail” topics. Homosexuality, same sex marriage, abortion, ordination of homosexuals, to name a few. Conversations that drift toward those topics are confrontational. As believers we are to engage. We are to engage on the basis of Christ’s provision for our salvation and of those with whom we may have the chance to interact and under the umbrella of 2 Timothy 2:24 - 25. But rather than engage Biblically, some of us, me included, at times have drawn back. I did it last week because of the time and place. Not sure that was the right decision.
Some organizations and denominations have chosen to embrace the culture over and against the Bible. Rather than stand on what God has said, like Saul, they have chosen to disobey for fear of the people.
We will all give an account of our obedience. I am not sure – no I am sure – I do not want to stand before the One who was nailed on a cross for me and tell Him I did not share my faith because I was afraid of being shunned.