SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2012
OBEDIENCE: THE BEST PRESCRIPTION FOR SPIRITUAL HEALTH I
Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation: men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys. Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs – everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality –I Sam. 15:3, 9.
OBEDIENCE to God should not be selective but total. Saul had been directed by God to utterly destroy the Amalekites. Nothing was to be spared–animal or human. Unfortunately, man will always apply feeble logic to everything, including divine assignment.
‘Why did God command such utter destruction? The Amalekites were a band of guerrilla terrorists. They lived by attacking other nations and carrying off their wealth and families. They were the first to attack the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land, and they continued to raid Israelite camps at every opportunity. God knew that the Israelites could never live peacefully in the Promised Land as long as the Amalekites existed. He also knew that their corrupt, idolatrous religious practices threatened Israel’s relationship with Him. The only way to protect the Israelites was utterly destroy the people of this warlike nation and all their possessions, including their idols’.
Without doubt, God knows what is best for His children. He says: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end’ –Jeremiah 29v11. God’s thought for His children is higher and better every time.
Saul and his men did not destroy all the plunder as God commanded. The law, which requires setting aside a thing for total destruction, was well known to Israel. Anything under God’s ban was to be completely destroyed (Deuteronomy 20v16-18). This was to prevent idolatry because many of the valuables were idols. Death was the punishment for breaking this law. (Joshua 7).
When we gloss over sin in order to protect possessions or achieve material gain, we aren’t being shrewd; we are simply disobeying God’s law. Selective obedience is just another form of disobedience.
When God said He was sorry He made Saul king, was He saying He made a mistake? God’s comment was an expression of sorrow, not an admission of error (Genesis 6v5-7). An omniscient God cannot make a mistake (15v29); therefore, God did not change His mind. He did, however, change His attitude toward Saul when the latter also changed. Saul’s heart no longer belonged to God but to his own interests. The story of how he ended his kingship is known.
Wherever we find ourselves, as people of God, let us be content to do God’s bidding. It might look foolish, but with God, definitely, the end would be glorious. If Saul had done what was expected, the Amalekites would have served as a sacrifice pleasing unto God. It is not for man to say whether it is right or wrong. God will always be in the right.
As the second Adam, Jesus knew the importance of obeying God better. He was rewarded: ‘Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ –Phil. 2v9-11.
Do you want to be healthy spiritually? Learn to obey God in all things.