Join us on our new podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
There are so many life lessons we can learn from the Word of God. One of the simplest is that obedience brings reward and disobedience brings dire consequences. We see this in an incident from Saul's life. The prophet Samuel came to King Saul with a command from the mouth of God. “'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'” (1 Sam. 15:3, NKJV).
The command was very direct and specific. Nothing that Amalek possessed, whether human or beast, was to be left alive. With the appearance of being obedient, Saul gathered his army and went on the mission. They attacked and killed every man, woman, infant and nursing child. Thousands were slain by Saul and his army.
However, Saul and the people spared King Agag of Amalek and the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs and all else that was good. Contrary to what God had specifically commanded. The next morning Saul greeted Samuel with, “'Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord'” (1 Sam. 15:13).
Saul believed he had kept the commandment of the Lord. Yet, God had a different opinion. Saul's reasoning had deceived him. This is often the case when we do not obey what God had told us. The New Testament explains: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
Samuel directly confronted Saul with the evidence of his disobedience: “'What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?'” (1 Sam. 15:24). Saul quickly responded, “'They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed'” (1 Sam. 15:15).
Saul blamed the people. Then he pointed out that they spared the animals for a good cause-to sacrifice them as offerings before the Lord. You know Saul is deceived if he thinks that through disobedience he can offer a sacrifice or service to God that would be acceptable.
This is the most deceptive form of rebellion. Working hard does not necessarily mean you are doing what is right. The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I discover that sometimes the busier I am, the less I accomplish. Busyness does not equate to obedience.
When Samuel confronted Saul with his deception, Samuel reminded him of a few things. At one time Saul had been unassuming, humble and meek. It was as if Samuel was saying, “Saul, when did your wisdom begin to override God's? What happened to your humble, unassuming spirit? Why do you now think you know more than the Lord?”
Do you think you know more than God? Of course not! But when we are disobedient, that is exactly the message we communicate to God and those around us. How foolish to think we could ever be wiser than the One who sits on the throne of glory, the very One who not only created the universe, but also contains the universe, the Creator who put the stars in the heavens with His fingers. Yet we exalt our wisdom above His when we ignore His counsel! Commit today to live a life of obedience.
Adapted from Enemy Access Denied by John Bevere, previously published as The Devil's Door copyright 1996, Charisma House. This book will show you how to walk free from sin and keep Satan out of your personal and business affairs through the simple act of obedience.
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. Join us for giveaways each weekday, pages from our past, and more. We're including an anniversary special where you can get 40 issues of Charisma for only $40!