Day Eighty-Nine, I Sam. 14-15, I Chron. 5
Today’s reading includes a second time that Saul makes a mistake. Saul is given instructions to completely destroy the Amalekites, who have been bitter enemies since the time that the Lord brought the Israelites up out of Egypt. God tells Saul spare nothing…men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys…anything that moves—kill it.
Well, Saul and his men go in and MOSTLY do what the Lord says. The kill most everything. But they take the king, Agag, alive, and he kept the best of the sheep and cattle as plunder. When Samuel confronts Saul about this, Saul again makes an excuse, saying that the soldiers kept the best of the cattle to offer as a sacrifice to the Lord.
Samuel’s reply is worth recording here:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
Saul admits that he sinned, but he begs Samuel to “honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel.” Again, we see that Saul is more concerned with his image and himself than the fact that he has displeased the Lord.