Consider the importance of obedience to God's commands. So often we think we're serving the Lord when really we're serving our own lusts and desires.
Saul was commanded by the Lord through the prophet Samuel to destroy the Amalekites, to destroy all the men, the women, the children, the lambs, the fatlings and all of the animals. He was to destroy them utterly and to leave none alive. See 1 Samuel 15:1-9
Well, Saul set out to destroy but he did not do it in a complete fashion. He sparred King Agag alive. Perhaps because he was a king like himself and he didn't have it in his heart to destroy one who was in command and who was powerful and honored and yet God told him to destroy Agag. Perhaps Saul thought to get something from him and he left the good animals alive.
Is this not learning to our own understanding? Was this not a violation of the word of the Lord that we find in Proverbs 3:5,6? "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path."
But Saul, you see, was learning to his own understanding. He was trusting in himself and not in the Lord for he directly disobeyed God's word. Samuel had to come to Saul and tell him that he had not performed God's commandments.
You see it grieved Samuel.
It grieved Samuel and what happened? Saul tried to justify himself and say, "What? I did do all that God commanded me" verse 15:13 and Samuel said, "What meaneth then this bleeting of the sheep in mine ears? (verse 14) This bleeting of the sheep which has an Amalekite accent as it were, the lowing of the oxen which I hear. You know what happened brethren as a result of this.
Consider further the account of Saul's disobedience to God's commands. Saul sought to justify himself. He was preparing a triumphal arch, some type of a monument for his victory at Carmel and thus he was seeking his honor rather than repenting for his sins of disobedience.
He was more ready to boast of his victory than to confess his disobedience to the word of the Lord because he was blinded.
He was proud.
He had started off humble and the Lord had given him another heart. It doesn't say the Lord had given him a new heart but another heart and at this point the Lord was testing him as the Lord does with all of us.
Would Saul fail or pass the test?
Well, Saul clearly did not pass the test because Samuel plead for him all night long with tears. He plead with God not to reject him. It grieved Samuel. It grieved Samuel that God had rejected and cast off King Saul and so Saul is out there preparing some type of a triumphal arch to commemorate his victory and triumph and Samuel is sent by God to give him his word to inform Saul that there's no need for this because he had forfeited God's favor and that God had rejected him.
Ofcourse Saul continued to justify himself and says, "I did the word of the Lord. I performed the commandment of the Lord."
The rambunctious rumblings and seditious stirrings of his soul caused him to justify himself and then he justified keeping the lambs and the best ones because he wanted to sacrifice them to God and what did Samuel say?
Samuel said, "Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams; for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubborness is as iniquity and idolatry." This is a violation of the first commandment "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3
You see Saul again started out right but ended wrong. He was boasting to Samuel about his obedience to God's word whereas Samuel knew that he had disobeyed God and was now seeking to justify his disobedience by saying that the people kept the good lambs for themselves as though they were able to do this apart from Saul's commands. No. Saul allowed them to keep them.
Perhaps they had asked him for them or had said, "Saul let us not kill the good one" and Saul, ofcourse, knowing God's will disobeyed it and perhaps said, "Yeah go ahead and spare them. We can use those for sacrifice."
Here Samuel tells Saul that to obey is better than to sacrifice for REBELLION IS AS THE SIN OF WITCHCRAFT.
Now what did witchcraft entail? It entailed worshipping Satan as it were. It demanded the death penalty for one thing. It was a serious captial offense. It was committing idolatry, that is putting another god before Jehovah. It was a violation of the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
All these bleeting of the sheep was evidence against Saul and Samuel appeals to them as witnesses against him. They were as the rust of silver in James 5:3 where it say, "Weep now rich men. Howl for the miseries that shall come upon you. Your silver is rusted. Your garments are moth eaten and they shall stand as a witness against you. Saul's plausible profession proved to be unconvincing in the end and short on substance.
We see that God readied Saul in allowing him to be Israel's first king. God rejected Saul and God replaced Saul with David, a man after God's own heart.
When God looks inward into our hearts and minds what does He see? Is it a renewed heart or a hard heart? If it is renewed it will be a surrendered heart.
People ask and I've often wondered myself was Saul a converted man?
Consider first that Saul was jealous and hateful of David. He tried to kill him and Jesus said if you hate somebody without cause you are guilty of murder. No murderers have any part in the kingdom of God.
"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." 1 John 3:15
Second, Saul was superstitious when he visited the witch of Endor and ultimately he was suicidal and fell on his own sword. "All they that hate me love death."
Draw your own conclusions but I'd say Saul lacked saving faith.
Read 1 Chronicles 10:13,14
***God looks for those whose FOCUS IS TO SERVE HIM and to serve HIm with an upright heart.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching. See his videos on www.YouTube.com LAStreetPreacher. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.com