Doing Good is Not Obedience


Scripture:

1 Samuel 15:13-15
When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him, “May you be blessed by the Lord; I have carried out the command of the Lord.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of cattle that I hear?” Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the cattle, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.”

Observation:

Saul had been told to destroy everything that belonged to the Amalekites, but he thought he knew better than God. Looking at the beautiful sheep and cattle, they couldn’t bear to do what God had instructed. Instead, under the guise of making a sacrifice to God, they brought the best sheep and cattle with them. 

Look carefully at what Saul says, “to sacrifice to the Lord your God.” He makes this about Samuel’s God, and not his. We have seen how he has been moving from God’s presence and distancing himself from accountability before God. Now, this action sounds like these were instructions from Samuel’s God, and not Saul’s. His decision to keep the cattle and sheep also reveals that he believes that he is not accountable before God, only Samuel is. Saul has convinced himself that he is above obedience and accountability to God. As a result, he will lose his kingdom. 

Application:

Because of the work of Christ, we are invited into participation with the Triune God. This doesn’t leave room to distance ourselves from an intimate relationship with God. What Saul did was try to perform the perfunctory duties of looking spiritual, without engaging with God. 

It’s so easy to fall into this trap of going through the motions; attending church, doing good things, and even looking spiritual. This, however, is not what God wants. God wants us to be in intimate relationship, a place in which we live, lovingly united through Christ. God’s heart becomes our heart and in this place, we respond, not out of begrudging obedience, but out of complete understanding. 

Prayer:

Lord, please help my heart to be united with yours. Amen. 



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