Notes on I Samuel 15
by Ivan Ho 22 Jul 2016
So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord , He also has rejected you from being king.”
I Samuel 15:22-23 NKJV
Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord , He has also rejected you from being king.”
1 Samuel 15:22-23 NASB
Not only did Samuel rebuke Saul, he told Saul exactly why the Lord has judged him and rejected him from being king of Israel. There were two ungodly attitudes of Saul that led to his downfall: 1. REBELLION and 2. STUBBORNNESS (insubordination in NASB).
Not only does rebellion and stubbornness lead us away from God, it will take us directly into the realm of the demonic and idol worship. Sometimes we think certain attitudes people hold are harmless and not really hurting anyone and therefore okay, but God doesn’t see it that way. God identifies rebellion with witchcraft (divination) and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry.
Saul was instructed by the Lord through Samuel to destroy everything in the enemy’s camp and not take any spoils from them (1 Sam 15:1-3). But Saul was a man of compromise. While he destroyed the Amalekites, he spared king Agag and kept back some of the sheep and oxen and used them to sacrifice to the Lord. This, I believe, is one of the strange behaviours of many of us believers. We compromise the word of God, pick and choose what we want to obey and what not to obey, and show “compassion” and accommodating attitudes towards the things of the world, instead of utterly remove everything that belongs to the enemy’s camp. People teach that “God is love” and therefore He tolerates everything and everyone, and accommodates their coexistence and cohabitation in our life. Not only that, like Saul, people use the things of the world and bring them to the church to sacrifice to the Lord. After all, they reason: their intentions are good and religiously acceptable. God says: “Light and darkness cannot coexist” and “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers”(2 Cor 6:14), but some people say: “It’s okay…God understands…”. “After all, we are just using what the young people love in the world to attract them to church… we need to stay relevant…”
Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. It was rebellion against God that led Lucifer and his followers to fall and being casted out of heaven. Demons love rebellious people for they are one of the same kind. Rebellion and witchcraft are close companions.
Stubbornness is a prideful, dogged, unwilling to change kind of attitude, despite knowing that certain things are wrong in God’s eyes. According to God, stubbornness and idolatry are twins: a stubborn person is an idol worshipper, there is no difference between the two. You can perhaps help an ignorant person but with a stubborn person, he or she can’t be helped, unless they drop their strong, unyielding attitudes that are displeasing to God. A stubborn person isn’t ignorant, he just thinks he knows better than God. By doing that, he sets himself up as his own god.
If we have these two attitudes, we need to repent quickly, or we will be in danger of falling into the same fate as Saul.