‘And Samuel told him, although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead. Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?’ I Sam. 15v17-19.

Certainly, it grieved the heart of God the way and manner Saul the first king of Israel treated His command. When we are sent on mission by God, our goal should be to carry it out without mutilations. It may not be proper to shift blames. We saw Saul telling Samuel that it was the people that made Him not to utterly carry out the divine assignment of God. However, that he was singled out for punishment is a pointer that no one tramples on the command of God.

Earlier in creation, we read that God was sorry in creating man as captured by Genesis 6v6-7: ‘And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them’. Man that was created in the image and similitude of God caused grief to the heart of the creator. At that time, principally because of man’s wickedness on the face of the earth, God was determined to wipe him away from the face of the earth. That God even made him to die was enough punishment for his wickedness. Genesis 3v19 says: ‘…for out of dust you were taken: and unto dust shalt thou return.’

As if humanity was not yet done with God, the children of Israel in their wilderness experience stubbornly disdained God. It was heart breaking for God who was determined to liberate the Hebrew slaves because of the oath He swore to their forefathers that He would settle them in a land flowing with milk and honey. Notwithstanding that people were living in the land at the time, He was prepared to dislodge them in order to fulfil His age long promise. It was to this disgruntled and ungrateful people that God now said: ‘Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I swore in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest,’ Psalm 95v10-11.

God is always happy when we obey Him. The case of Abraham is highly illustrative. At the age of seventy-five, God called him to leave his country to a land that He will show Him. Abraham did not hesitate and he obeyed God without much ado. Based on his express obedience to the dictates of God, God now said: ‘And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice,’ Gen. 22v18.

Unfortunately today, some believers find it difficult sometimes to obey to the latter the dictates of God. Some prefer to obey when it is most convenient to them. But this should not be so. When God asked Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, he rather preferred to spare Agag the king and the fatlings of ram which he claimed was to be used as sacrifice unto God. The Bible told us: ‘to obey is better than to sacrifice’. And more so, God has said to humanity: Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor …. If I am hungry, I will not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof,’ Matt. 6v26.

Therefore, in whatever endeavour we find ourselves, we should try to find out the dictates of God for our lives and carry it out without mutilations. As we journey in our Christian pilgrimage, let us remember that obedience is the best prescription to spiritual health.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State.



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