Notes on I Samuel 15 – part 2
by Ivan Ho 23 July 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.” Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord .” But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord , and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”
I Samuel 15:22-26 NKJV
This was the last day in which Samuel had anything to do with Saul. Samuel made the decision to part ways with Saul and never see him again till his death, despite Saul asking for forgiveness and pleading for Samuel to stay. On the surface, we would think that Samuel‘s decision was really harsh and certainly not a “loving, Christian way”. After all, weren‘t we taught to always put people first and to love them unconditionally like how God would love them?
I believe Samuel‘s decision to part ways with Saul for good was the right decision to do, and there are some important lessons about decision making that we can learn here.
First of all, I don‘t think we should part ways with people lightly, especially people who are close to us, but there are times when such tough decisions become inevitable. If we recall, it was Samuel who identified Saul and raised him to become king of Israel under God‘s direction. Saul must have been like a son to Samuel. So for him to decide never to see Saul again must be a drastic decision that must be made. So what are the guiding principles behind Samuel‘s decision making process?
1. A God decision
The first thing we should ask ourselves is: “Is it a God decision?”. In other words, what would God do if it was Him making the decision? Samuel knew that God had rejected Saul as king of Israel, that God had decided to leave Saul out of the team. If God Himself has made a decision to leave someone out, what business do we have in staying with that person? Do we think that we know better than God?
2. A word decision
Samuel decided to part ways with Saul because he had heard from God. Samuel‘s decision making process was backed by the word of God. Had Samuel decided to stay with Saul, he would have disobeyed God. When God says: “Light does not fellowship with darkness” and we continue to fellowship with people who have clearly rejected God, like Saul, we are going against the word of God.
3. A kingdom decision
God had told Samuel that He had torn Saul‘s kingdom and given it to David. Samuel made the decision based on what was best for the kingdom of Israel, rather than what was best for Samuel or Saul. When we make important decisions, we must always consider how they would fit in with the kingdom of God rather than the personal interests of individuals.
4. A prophetic decision
As mentioned before, Samuel had the prophetic foresight of a future kingdom to be ruled by a future king in David. Saul decided to commit his future to raise up David who represented the new kingdom. Unfortunately, many people are still staying in the past, reminiscing the good old days, despite the fact that God has already moved on and doing a new thing.
5. A faith decision
Faith is based on the word of God, as discussed before. Faith makes decision based on what God says in any situation. By contrast, Saul‘s decision to keep some of the spoils was based on fear, namely fear of what people would think, and fear is the opposite of faith.
6. A God pleasing decision
When Samuel made his decisions, he considered how they would sit with God first and foremost, decisions that will please God rather than to please man. By contrast, Saul made his decisions to please the people but displeasing to God. When we made a God decision, be rest assured that some people would get upset. They will criticize you, ridicule you, mock you and even unfriend you. We are here not to please everybody but to please God.
7. A destiny decision
When Samuel parted ways with Saul, he made the decision with the destiny of the nation of Israel in mind, and Samuel‘s destiny was tied with God‘s destiny, not the destiny of Saul. Lot of times, we make decisions based on our own preferences, or due to the circumstances, or influence of people around us, but with no relevance to our destiny. The major decisions, in fact every decision we make should be governed by how that decision will contribute to fulfilling our destiny in God. The decisions we make should take us a step closer to our God given destiny instead of further away from it.