When We Seek Honor

1 Samuel 15

The Amalekites were cruel to the Israelites when the Israelites passed by their territory on their way out from Egypt. This was at the time of Moses. But remember that to God, a hundred days is as one day, and in His eternity, the transgression of the Amalekites happened only yesterday.

Samuel recites to Agag the sin of his fathers, “You have snatched children from their mother’s arms and killed them” (v 33). Why Saul spared King Agag when God commanded him to annihilate every man, woman, child, and animal among the Amalekites is a mystery. The Bible says that the Lord told Samuel, “Saul has stopped obeying me, and I’m sorry that I made him king.”

Saul was beginning to have a taste of glory and he was reveling in it. “[He] went to Carmel where he had a monument built so everyone would remember his victory,” (v 12).
After Saul’s 210,000 troops conquered the Amalekites, the valuable sheep and cattle they looted and left alive to sacrifice to God did not please God at all. After all, these were blood-acquisitions. How could anything won by sheer murder of the innocents be pure in God’s sight? God wanted everything destroyed; everything was worthless and tainted in His eyes. All have sinned. Everybody was guilty by virtue of their ancestor’s acts of cruelty. Indeed the sins of the Amalekite fathers had been passed on to the next generation.

Saul turns out to be a deeply flawed man, who craved for recognition. It turns out that he wanted to please his men (v 24). But first, he rationalized his actions and belittled his act of disobedience. His pride won’t let him accept that indeed, he committed a serious act of rebellion against God.

What were his intentions? Did he really want to sacrifice the best animals? Or was that a second thought because he was pressed against the wall by Samuel’s accusations? “Tell me,” said Samuel, “Does the Lord really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey Him. Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshipping idols or asking them for advice. You refused to do what God told you, so God has decided that you can’t be king.”

Once Samuel had declared him persona-non-grata, Saul’s main request was for Samuel to honor him before the leaders of the army and the people of Israel. Saul, who, before he became King, felt little, still felt insecure even while he was King, and this insecurity never left him until the day he died. He remained so in spite of God’s anointing: “You may not think you’re very important but the LORD chose you to be king, and you are in charge of the tribes of Israel.” God placed a heavy trust upon this man who never thought himself important. But Saul wasn’t able to see his value in God’s eyes. Instead, he sought value and approval from the eyes of the people. In doing so, he lost his anointing.

God sees our worth even if we think we are worthless. He puts us in positions of His trust, even if we think we aren’t capable of delivering His assignments. He gives us honor even if we don’t seek it. We sin when we crave to be recognized through acts of patronage to gain people’s acceptance and approval. Often times, we can be truly unpopular, but if we are sure about God’s appraisal, our actions toward goodness and benevolence should be motivated only by love of God and obedience to his will.

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