Scripture Union Discovery Devotional 16 January 2018
Topic: Consequences Of Sin
God, speak with me as I track King Saul’s actions and their consequences.
Read 1 SAMUEL 15:1–31 (New International Version (NIV)
1.Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord.
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.
3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
4 So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah.
5 Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine.
6 Then he said to the Kenites, “Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.
7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt.
8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.
9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel:
11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.
12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”
13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”
15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”
16 “Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel.
18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’
19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”
20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.
21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”
22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 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.”
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.
25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”
26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”
27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore.
28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you.
29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”
30 Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.”
31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
Reflect – HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO OBEY GOD? WHAT ABOUT PUTTING SOMETHING RIGHT AFTER IT HAS GONE WRONG?
The Amalekites had viciously attacked the Israelites, God’s people, as they journeyed in the wilderness (Deut. 25:17–19). This offended God himself. Samuel makes it clear to Saul that because of this the Amalekites must face total destruction. (Utterly destroying a city was an acceptable wartime practice. Not so now: because faith in Christ—who totally destroyed death—is the only way that satisfies a Holy God.)
But Saul only destroyed the people and animals he considered “despised and weak.” Did he not realize he had failed to obey God’s command? He could hardly hide the sound of bleating sheep (14,20,21). Did he and the army really intend to offer animal sacrifices?
What was in his heart, that he constructed a monument to honor himself (12)? God’s punishment was beyond negotiation (28,29).
Saul expressed desperate sorrow for his wrongdoing and he remained king, albeit one ultimately rejected by God. Yet God had not left him. For one last time, Samuel accompanied him in worship. True repentance can allow sin to be forgiven, but the consequences of sin remain, as David discovered in 2 Samuel 11,12.
Are you living with some consequences of sin? Ask God to teach you and transform you as you walk through the consequences.
Lord, I’ve made mistakes. I know that You forgive me. Teach me to learn from those mistakes so that I can be more like You.