1st Samuel 15-17
Being raised as a pastor’s kid, I probably took for granted the accessibility of all things church related. Being a Christian was something that was easily practiced because of the environment I was constantly in. I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was 5 years old. I was baptized the summer before my eighth grade. But it wasn’t until I went off to college that I really realized that my faith was my own responsibility. If I was going to have Christian friends, I needed to find them on my own. If I was going to attend a mid-week Bible study, I needed to find it on my own. If I was going to attend a Sunday morning service, I needed to find it on my own. Mom and Dad weren’t there to guide and direct me. If I wanted to continue to build up my faith, it was now up to me.
As we read through King Saul’s life, we see that he was hand selected and groomed to take on the role of leading Israel – everything was handed to him. And as a result, he never really owned the responsibility of the position he was put in. He never connected the dots of being the leader of God’s people and having a relationship with God himself.
This is particularly evident in 1 Samuel 15. Saul has carried out God’s instructions of taking up arms against the Amalekites. Once Israel wins the battle, they were supposed to destroy everything: man, woman, child, cattle, sheep, camels and donkeys. Nothing was to be spared. But…that’s not what Saul did. He kept the best of the spoils. He claims that he was going to use the prime plunder as a sacrifice.
Here’s how I know that Saul didn’t own his relationship with God: in verses 21 and 30 of chapter 15, Saul refers to the LORD as Samuel’s God.
“…the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” (v 21)
“…come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God.” (v 30)
Saul didn’t understand his disobedience because he hadn’t bothered to grow a relationship with the One who made him king of Israel.
More than anything God desires to have a relationship with us. He wants us to seek Him more than any other person or pursue any other passion. When we grow our relationship with Him, we come to know the things that please Him as well as the things that displease Him. As we grow our relationship with God, our hearts swell with love for Him, His word, and His people. And when our hearts are full of love, obedience comes naturally.