Okay, get ready, we may be here awhile.
Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves [a] and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. 1 Sam 15:7-9
God told them to go and destroy the whole nation, everything, but they didn't they saved the best.
Okay, I think we better slow down a bit, we have a tendency to rush over this or not read it at all.
Why would God tell them to destroy a whole nation?
He did this this to protect His people from idol worship, read this passage:
In those towns that the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing. You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the Lord your God has commanded you. This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God.
The subtitle over this passage in my Bible reads "Regulations concerning War", and if they would have followed them Israel would not have experienced the oppression, bloodshed and destruction that they did.
He set this in place to protect His children who do His will and bring glory to His name!
As I read this I was reminded of how much God hates sin and to what lengths He will go to protect us from it. It never hurts to have a reminder of just how holy He is.
Wow, chew on that a minute…
Ok, let's move ahead, "they spared the best".
Saul and his men knew this law (Deut 20:16-18), but chose not to carry it out, they violated a direct command, which showed disrespect and disregard for God and His ways.
At best, Saul's actions were only a partial obedience
to God's word. But partial obedience - only doing as much of God's word as we feel like doing and ignoring the rest - is really disobedience.
And disobedience is idolatry.
To claim to follow God, and then live according to your own will is rebellious and stubborn. When we act this way, we worship
our wills and our ways, not God's. That is idolatry.
Jesus had something to say about this:
"Knowing the correct password—saying 'Master, Master,' for instance— isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.' Matthew 7:21-23 (MSG)
It was just this sort of claim that Saul made. He insisted he had obeyed the word of God.
Partial obedience is disobedience
and disobedience is idolatry.
Don't miss the boat!