1 Samuel 15:1-16:23
Tons to talk about in these two chapters. Any hope of Saul’s dynasty is dealt a death blow by his defiant spirit, so God chooses his replacement as king in a young lad, not even noticeable to his own father.
Samuel’s command from God is clear; completely wipe out the Amalekites.
1 Samuel 15:3 (NKJV) “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”
The reason for their annihilation was due to the absolute evil of this nation. King Amalek did this to others and now there’s a clarion call and command for justice to be served.
Saul wisely spares the Kenites, but very unwisely spares portions of Amalek, including the king, plunder, and the best of their livestock, the Bible even says, that Saul and the people spared, “all that was good,” (1 Samuel 15:9) King Saul did not obey God’s command.
So the LORD spoke to Samuel, saying, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king…”
This hit Samuel hard, he cried out to the LORD all night long (1 Samuel 15:11).
The next morning Samuel sets out to meet Saul, and on the way is informed that Saul had set up a monument for himself. This is important because it reveals the fact that Saul was exalting himself, taking the glory that belonged only to God (1 Samuel 15:12).
Expositor’s Commentary explains, “Samuel was told that Saul had gone to Carmel and set up a monument (probably an inscribed victory stele) “in his own honor” (apparently not giving credit to the Lord).”
When we begin to exalt ourselves, we may even think we’re above the law. Saul did not obey his King, his Lord, his God. Saul was good at making excuses, putting a little “spin” on things to justify his behavior. Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “He that is good at making excuses, is seldom good for anything else.”
Saul tried to say he had done God’s will, but his sin had found him out, Samuel could hear it in the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen. Saul blamed everything on the people, but even if it was their idea, Saul was the leader, and leaders lead, by following the Lord. It’s sad to see that Saul admittedly feared the people (1 Samuel 15:25)
Even worse, Saul tried to spiritualize it by saying they wanted to sacrifice it to God – but keep in mind those sacrifices were also to be eaten by the people. Samuel then gives us those classic words we need to keep so close to our heart:
1 Samuel 15:22–23 (NKJV) “So Samuel said: ‘Has 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 heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
God is more interested in obedience, than any religious ritual or sacrifice we may have to offer. We may think little of disobedience but it’s as the sin of witchcraft (that’s dark and demonic). We may think little of stubbornness, but it’s as the sin of idolatry (that’s big-time). Billy Sunday said, “One reason sin flourishes is that it is treated like a cream puff instead of a rattlesnake.” Oswald Chambers called disobedience, “Diecast rebellion.”
Because Saul did not do what God commanded him to do, revealing a deep darkness within his heart, God would one day tear the kingdom away and give it to a neighbor better than him.
Over the years I’ve heard Bible teachers say that Amalek is a typology of the flesh – and we need to deny the flesh, crucify the ungoldly desires, or, as the Whosoever’s put it, “Murder the flesh.” We have a visual in seeing Samuel hack King Agag to pieces “before the LORD” (1 Samuel 15:33).
Intense! May I have no sympathy for anything within me, that is contrary to God!
In 1 Samuel 16 David is anointed to be king. Samuel almost makes the same mistake in anointing the guy who “looked” like a king, but this time God corrects him:
1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV) “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
It would take many years, much suffering, and prolonged periods of preparation for David to be king; that may be part of the reason Saul failed as he did, he wasn’t ready, and in the final analysis his heart was not right.
May we not despise God’s delays and the hard times He allows in lives, it’s all part of Him molding us, and making us to be vessels, instruments, tools, and weapons for whatever He has next in our service to Him.
In the Old Testament the Spirit came upon individuals, but the Spirit didn’t live within a person under the Old Covenant. It’s interesting that once the Spirit came upon David, the Spirit departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:13-14). God even allowed a distressing spirit to torment him, something only soothing music could subside.
Somehow David was known as a skillful musician, a man of courage, wise in speech, and even good-looking; all the qualities lined up for David to be selected and through music, maybe even worship music, soothe King Saul. Worship music is powerful in our efforts to defeat the enemy!
I thought it was interesting how in the last verse of John 7, we read that “…everyone went to his own house.” In the first verse of John 8 there’s a clear contrast, “but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” I can’t be dogmatic, but I wonder if He went there to pray, as He was accustomed to (Luke 22:39)? I wonder if He spent the night there, for He had no home of his own, nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58).
As Jesus sits to teach in the Temple, the Scribes and Pharisees do something so awful, it’s heartbreaking, almost unimaginable to even consider how far they would go to get rid of Christ. They set a woman up to commit adultery, and brought the woman to Jesus, they were trying to trap Him in His words. “Moses in the Law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” If Jesus simply said, “Let her go,” they would accuse Him of being anti-biblical, but if Jesus commanded them to stone her, the Roman authorities could arrest Him, for the Jews had been stripped of their right to capital punishment. Hence, the brilliance of Jesus, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
And one by one they left, until she was left all alone with Jesus. He was the only one without sin; He was the only one with the right to condemn her, but He didn’t (see John 3:17). And Jesus said to her (and to us), “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
It’s not that Jesus is soft on sin, but He’s the perfect Judge who knows the heart, He knows the context, He knows when we need a little bit of the letter of the law and He knows when we just need grace. He forgives us, restores us, and commands us to sin no more.
Amazing Grace (Romans 5:20; 6:1) (1 John 2:1).
This led into Jesus’ declaration that He was the “Light of the World.” Without Him, His truth and the salvation He brings, we’re all in absolute darkness. If only they had listened to the “I Am,” statements of Jesus, knowing who He is is the key to life for us as human beings and especially as Christians.
The Jews however, resisted the Lord, refusing to receive His own testimony. Jesus shared with them that the Father was also speaking and testifying of His Son, but they knew neither the Father or the Son.
This psalm is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Psalm.
David is somehow able to eavesdrop on the conversation between the Father and the Son, he’s given this revelation:
Psalm 110:1 (NKJV) “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’”
Jesus would sit at the Father’s right hand until the time of judgment, when the enemies of God are dealt with, put under Jesus’ feet, and King Jesus rules.
In that day of judgment kings, governmental leaders, and heads of many nations will be executed. During the Tribulation Period death will be everywhere, and dead bodies will fill the Valley of Megiddo in the Battle of Armageddon.
One day Jesus will rule as King from Jerusalem. This Psalm emphasizes that.
This Psalm also emphasizes the fact that Jesus is the Perfect Priest. Something else David hears (it’s revealed to him)
Psalm 110:4 (NKJV) “The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
Who could possibly be a priest forever, and what’s this “order of Melichizedek?” The only priesthood the Jews knew was the descendants of Aaron (High Priests) and the descendants of Levi who served as priests in general, but what’s the order of Melchizedek?
I believe Melchizedek was a Christophany in the Old Testament (Genesis 14:18) who appeared to Abraham, to whom Abraham gave tithes, and consumed the elements of communion. The New Testament explains that this is the order of Jesus’ Priesthood, Melchizedek, King of Salem, King of Jerusalem, King of Peace (see Hebrews 5, 6, 7).
As High Priest, Jesus is able to reconcile us to God by the blood of His own sacrifice, forever.
As King He will rule, and we will rule with Him, serve Him and live with Him, forever (Exodus 21:6)
Just as a quick side-note, Jesus quoted this verse to make the people consider the fact that David called the Messiah “Lord.” If the Messiah was David’s descendant, and David call Him Lord, he must be much more than a mere man! He was, and we come to discover that He is God in the flesh (Matthew 22:43-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44).
V. 8-9 – Here we read that the sacrifice of the wicked, and the way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. In Proverbs 15:26 we’ll see that even their thoughts are an abomination to God.
Out of all these, the sacrifices are probably the most profound because this is “religious” stuff. (see Luke 18:9-14).
1 Samuel 15:22 (NKJV) “So Samuel said: ‘Has 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 heed than the fat of rams.”
It’s all about the heart isn’t it? Not just our occasional giving, but our overall living.
I knew a man who thought he was good with God because he gave $50 a week…but all along, he was having an affair. God help us to follow the Lord, to passionately pursue righteousness.
V. 10 – A heavy, heavy warning! Harsh discipline is administered in order to get that disciple back to where they belong. In the NT the Way was another way of referring to Christianity in general.
The NIV translates, “leaves the path.” The NLT translates, “abandons the path.” The Amplified translates, “forsakes God’s way.” Those are all tragedies to ponder.
Whomever the Lord loves, He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives. (Hebrews 12:6)
Why so harsh? Because if they hate correction they’ll die! (physically and spiritually) (1 Corinthians 10:5; James 5:19-20).
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.