1 Samuel 15:11-23
It repents me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments…
The command given to Saul was unmistakable and imperative. And this was to be in fulfilment of the legacy of judgment and vengeance left to the people by Moses long before. In Moses' words you have hints of the real character and life of the Amalekites that are to be associated with Samuel's words, in which he calls them "the sinners, the Amalekites." Here you have their character of bloodthirsty, treacherous marauders. The days of old needed the destruction of such as the Amalekites; and if Israel had to do the work it was needful that they should be utterly destroyed. It was better for the world to be without such sinners, and it was required, for Israel's sake, that Saul and his people should have no gain from the conquest. God often does thus with the ill-gotten wealth of wicked nations. Where are all the riches of the mighty monarchies of old? Where is the bloodstained wealth of the ruined Roman Empire? Who can tell? God swept, it, away, for a curse — the curse of conquest and oppression — was upon at Consider, Saul's violation of the law of obedience. Saul gave himself to spoilation; the attempted shelter under fear of the people belied itself; his repeated words "that they had brought the spoil to sacrifice to the Lord thy God" were an attempt to justify sin by profession of good intention, and to degrade religious service of God into formal acts of ceremonial observance. The answer to all his excuses and explanations was simple and as imperative as the commands he had neglected, "Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king." There are many lessons taught us in these things, among which, let us note the following, for they touch solemn matters in the life of each of us.
I. IT IS EVIDENT THAT A PROFESSEDLY GOOD OR CREDITABLE INTENTION WILL NOT JUSTIFY A BAD ACT. It is true that, the real character of any act is in the intention of the doer; but you cannot judge acts as though they were isolated, and to be taken each on its own merits. The intention that is behind one act may itself be a depraved spiritual act or represent a spiritual state that; God hates.
II. NOR CAN GOD BE HONOURED IN ONE WAY AT THE COST OF DISHONOURING HIM IN ANOTHER. Obedience to one command that is built out of the ruins and breach of another, must be dis. pleasing to God. If we do, we shall add to non-performance of some duties the vitiating of those we do observe.
III. SO, ALSO, ARE WE TO LEARN THAT OFFERINGS TO GOD ARE ABOMINATION IF THEY DO NOT EXPRESS OBEDIENT LOVE. For they may represent "pride, vain-glory, or hypocrisy" they may be a service of self that is all the more real for being hidden under the veil of Divine honour, or they may be a following of custom, or a sensuous dependence upon superstitious services for acceptance with the Lord. God's supreme demand is loving obedience: the submission of the heart, the sacrifice of the will. the offering up of self, the fasting from the self-willed indulgence of our own thoughts and intents.
(R. G. B. Ryley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.