Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now, therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 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.'” So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. (1 Samuel 15:1-9)
Full Obedience To The Will Of God
Israel was the greatest nation on the earth for one reason: God fought their battles for them. The Lord defeated the Egyptian empire when He delivered the Hebrews from bondage. Before Israel became a nation they fought against the Amalekites and gained victory through the power of God. Arriving at Canaan twelve spies went throughout the land to see what the land was like. Ten of the leaders returned fearful of the giants in the land and the fortified cities causing the people unwilling to fight. Joshua and Caleb assured them they were well able to overcome through the power of God and there was nothing to fear. Begging the people not to rebel against the Lord, Joshua tried to convince the unbelieving hearts that if the Lord delighted in Israel, nothing could stand in their way. They refused and for the next forty years wandered through a wilderness of despair and death as God brought judgment against His people. When Moses brought the nation to Jordan he commanded them to be faithful and true to the word of the Lord. Joshua led the people across the Jordan River, conquered Jericho through the divine word of God and proceeded to possess the land in fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. Every city that was taken came by the power of God as the people obeyed the will of the Lord. Many years later, with a rich history of God’s power living in the hearts of the people, King Saul was told to utterly destroy Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up out of Egypt. Victory had come for the Hebrews as Moses held up his hands giving victory to Israel. Whenever Moses grew tired and lowered his hands Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur supported the hands of Moses, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. Joshua defeated Amalek and his people through the power of God.
Saul was the first king of Israel chosen because of his regal appearance and kingly presence. Sadly, his heart never committed itself to the will of the Lord and soon the king found himself in conflict with the Lord. First, king Saul had made a presumptuous sacrifice when Samuel was delayed bringing the disfavor of the Lord against him. Now the Lord tells the king to annihilate the Amalekites not sparing man, woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. The instructions were clear with no doubt to the purpose of the Lord. There would be no arguments to the meaning of the instructions brought by Samuel and King Saul was obligated to carry out the full measure of God’s word against the Amalekites. Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. He utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. Everything despised and worthless, he completely destroyed. Yet, the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” Why had God rejected Saul? Did the king not utterly destroy all the people with the edge of the sword and everything despised and worthless, he completely destroys? When Saul came up against the Amalekites he decided to reject the counsel of God and do what he thought was best. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive and spared the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs and all that was good and Saul was unwilling to utterly destroy them. The king would later tell Samuel that he had performed the commandment of the Lord. What tragically had happened was that Saul had refused to obey the will of the Lord and believed in his heart he was serving the Lord.
Obedience for Saul was deciding who should live and who should die regardless of the word of the Lord. Why kill king Agag? Had he pleaded successfully for his life and Saul, going against the will of the Lord, decided to give mercy to a man the Lord had determined destruction? Did Saul think God would be please will all the best of the animals spared through the counsel of the king instead of doing exactly what the Lord had commanded the king to do? It may not have made sense to the mind of Saul to kill the king or to destroy so many fine animals and there is no doubt in the heart of Saul he believed God would accept the will of a man over the divine but the conclusion is eternal in its application. There is never a time that God will allow a man to circumvent His will, His word, and His divine plan. When the Lord told Saul to kill everyone and everything He meant every word. Refusing to kill one man condemned the king. The best of intentions to spare the animals condemned the king. Full obedience is not half-hearted willingness to do whatever a person thinks God would accept. The world is filled with religious hearts that serve the Lord in their own fashions, designs, and purposes to placate their own wisdom to decide what God approves and what he disapproves. Content in the knowledge they know more than God, religious divisions fill the landscape of churches that reject the Biblical pattern of truth. Like Saul, they believe they are performing the commandments of the Lord. Salvation will only come when a person submits to the full will of the Lord with no compromise and no change. The power of God to save is offered to those who will obey His will and His will alone. Anything short of this is rejection. Grace will not save a disobedient heart.