There’s a popular meme today that you’ve probably heard. “You had just one job…”
Saul was given just one job. Completely wipe out the Amalekites. Kill all the men, women, children, infants, oxen, sheep, camels, and donkeys, and destroy everything they have.
But for various reasons, none of them good, Saul failed to do what God told him to do. In case you were wondering, this is never the best course of action. When the God of the universe gives you specific instructions, He really expects them to be carried out.
I found Saul almost comical in chapter 15, verse 13. God sent Samuel to confront him about his disobedience.
It is so easy to picture Saul as a 4 year old when he’s gotten into the cookie jar after being told not to. When I was a little kid, the cookie jar we had was ceramic, and it was impossible to take the lid off without tapping it on the jar, which would make a distinctive clinking sound which could be heard throughout the whole house. If Mom said no cookies until after dinner, and I tried to sneak one before dinner, there was no way I was going to get away with it. So can’t you just see a 4 year old Saul in this situation? “No cookies until after dinner, Saulie.” “OK Mommy”. Little Saulie waits until Mommy leaves the kitchen, then takes the lid off the cookie jar, which clinks. Saulie eats the cookie as fast as he can, but Mommy heard the clink so she comes into the kitchen and sees a few crumbs on little Saulie’s mouth. Of course, Saulie is surprised when Mommy comes into the kitchen, and the first words out of his mouth, even before Mommy says anything, are “Hi Mommy. I didn’t have a cookie”. And Mommy says, “But I heard the cookie jar, and you have cookie crumbs on your mouth.” And then, if Saulie is clever he says, “You said no cookies, Mommy. I only had one cookie.”
That’s what happens here. Samuel goes to Gilgal, where Saul has begun setting up a monument to himself (How’s that for ego?). When Saul sees Samuel he says, “May the Lord bless you! I have done what the Lord said.”
Isn’t that a crack up? So Samuel says, “If that’s true, then why do I hear the sound of sheep and the sound of cattle?”
You heard the rest. As silly as this sounds to us, how silly must it be to God when we try to rationalize our own sins? Human beings are masters of excuse-making. But the bottom line is that we cannot hide our sins from God, and when we do it is as transparent to God as when a four-year-old tries to get away with raiding the cookie jar.
Saul lied to Samuel, and he lied to God. And he paid the price. God removed His spirit from him, and he descended into more sin and mental illness.
The best course of action to take when we sin is to confess it to God and turn from the sin. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.” God wants to restore us. He takes no joy in punishment, but like a good Father, He will take the action needed to bring us to the place where we can be restored. Be proactive in seeking HIs forgiveness. He will delight in that, and bring blessing into your life.