Updated: May 15, 2020
"Lord, I meditate on Your great love for me. I pray that by Your Holy Spirit you will turn the desert and dryness of my life into 'pools of water' and 'flowing springs.'" ~ Psalms 107:35
I've been reading 1 Samuel.
This is one of those books in the Bible that pretty much has it all... danger, adventure, and much more.
We come to the moment when Saul, who at this point in the story we already see as flawed and know to be deeply human, is ordered to destroy the nation of Amalek.
This is a nation that stood against God’s people when they were freed from Egypt and He has decided the moment has come for them to be no more.
Incidentally, this isn't the first time this order has been given.
We know that our God is a God of justice. He is the same yesterday, today, and evermore, so in the most brutal moments of the Old Testament, I must simply know that and power through.
This is one of those moments.
There is to be NO mercy for the Amalekites. Every single man, woman, and child…. every creature of the field…. absolutely everything that breathes in Amalek is to breathe no more.
That is the mission for King Saul and his army, and Samuel makes that clear to him in no uncertain terms.
That Saul is pleased as punch with his performance when he’s “completed his task,” having brought the king back as his war trophy and the best animals "to be sacrificed for the Lord at Gilgal" left my heart shattered.
Setting aside the question of whether that was really his intention or not….
I kind of take leave to doubt, given that scripture says, “Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs - everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.”
Thankfully it’s not my job to judge his heart.
If Saul does tell Samuel the truth (or what he thinks is the truth) about his motivation when he says they were meant as a gift for the Lord…
Well, then my heart absolutely breaks for him.
I often come to the story of Saul having prejudged him.
We grow up hearing about the story in the cave and King Saul's relentless hunt to find and kill young David before he’s made king. Who wouldn’t?
But, if we take this moment (granted out of context a bit) and set aside his many other mistakes, follies, and foibles…
This is the moment he loses God’s favor.
God asked him to do something. He gave him clear instruction through Samuel. And, Saul had to do it his way.
All I could think was, Oh, God, forgive me for all the times I’ve done the same!!
Whether he didn’t have the ears to hear or it was a moment of rebellion, either way he dropped the ball.
Then, all I could think was, THANK YOU, JESUS, that You are the filter through which I am seen and judged.
If Saul really did intend for the best animals to be sacrificed for the Lord, I can just hear his inner child of God saying, But, Abba, I did it for You!!
Even now, I’m writing this as the sun rises on a Saturday.
You may or may not know, I’m old school with my day of rest, so I’m not supposed to be working.
But this came to me now, so I decided/chose to write it now.
Part of me says, God, I’m honoring the gift you’ve given me, both by not allowing the talent to be useless and hidden under a rock, but also, by honoring the moment of inspiration. I don’t want to lose it, I want to say what You’ve given me to say…
And, the other part of me wonders if He’s shaking His head asking if I couldn’t trust Him to hold the moment for me until sundown.
How like Saul we can all be.
Sometimes we just have to do it our way…
Other times we simply don’t have the ears to hear…
There are certainly times we’re just downright obstinate and disobedient… downright human.
And, sometimes we’re just not sure of the right thing to do.
Thank You, God, for the gift of Your Son. Thank You, that by His blood we are washed clean, through His sacrifice we are made new in Your eyes. Thank You for giving us the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Thank You for helping us have the will to want to ever walk in Your Will, in Your Way, in obedience. Thank You for the unimaginable unspeakable gifts that brings. Amen.
"What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering..." ~ 1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)
"My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, they'll never be lost, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." ~ John 10:27-28 (ISV)
"Accept correction, and you will find life; reject correction, and you will miss the road." ~ Proverbs 10:17 (CEV)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥