For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry (1 Samuel 15:23).
When Saul and the Israelite army attacked the Amalekites, God instructed him to completely destroy everything that belonged to the Amalekites, including people cattle and every other living thing. When Samuel passed on the instructions to King Saul, he made it clear that it was the command of God and not of man. (1 Samuel 15:9)
But Saul rebelled against God. Rebelled might seem a strong word for an act which seemed like mere disobedience - and partial disobedience at that. But what Saul really did was place his own moral judgment and reason above Godís counsel.
God told him to destroy every living thing but it appears that Godís instructions seemed extreme in Saulís view. He obviously thought it unnecessary to destroy everything, as God said, so he destroyed all that seemed evil or bad in his own eyes and left the best of the cattle and other animals behind. He might have reasoned, that after all, they were only animals, not people who could fight back. He might have asked himself what harm could come from saving some cattle which he could use to sacrifice to God himself, or even for food
But the animals werenít the issue; Saulís heart was. His disobedience was a deliberate, calculated act, which showed dishonor and disrespect for God and his word. His action showed a disregard for the things of God and a heart not fully turned towards him. Saul demonstrated no desire to please God: he had no love for him in his heart like Abraham or Moses or David.
Although the Spirit of God came upon Saul at times, and he did what was commanded, he didnít really know or love God. Itís similar to what David wrote about Moses and the Israelites Ė Moses knew Godís ways, but the people only knew his deeds (Psalms 103:7).
Saul was focusing on himself, on securing his kingship, and on how he looked in peopleís eyes.
When you focus on yourself and your own insecurities, you cannot come to know God fully Ėthe heart of God. You become shallow. You focus on your works. You look at what you do and measure it against what others do. You might even focus on the Word but not on the God behind the Word, not on the Living Word. Your focus is on yourself and doing what seems right, and peopleís views and their response to you become even more important than God (1Samuel 15:30).
When you become so taken up with your self and your insecurities, you can only have a limited relationship with God. In a sense you have become your own god as your self-image and your interests dictate your actions, rather than the desire to please God. There is no demonstration of Paulís love and passion for Christ Ė a passion which made Paul consider his whole life and all his accomplishments as filth - worthless compared to the priceless privilege of knowing Christ (Philippians 3: 8).
However, the good thing is that we donít have to stop at that point if that is where we are in our relationship with God. God has not withdrawn his Holy Spirit. Once we possess a sincere desire to move on to a new level - once we become dissatisfied with where we are with God, then we will begin to see how he has been beckoning us all the time and we begin to grow from faith to faith and glory to glory (II Corinthians 3:18).
Fay, this is a very good article, and you have made some excellent points about how one can attempt to put himself or herself before and above God, which is a very unwise and dangerous move. You have also done well by reminding us of the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth, who will work with us. Thank you for sharing. Thomas