Men’s vs God’s approval

1 Samuel 15: 1-34. God lays instruction in the heart of Samuel to be conveyed to Saul for execution. This consisted of total destruction of the Amalekites and all they owned. EVERYHING was the target. Reason being: we don’t know but the righteous God and Judge knew why it needed to be so. Saul is obedient; but, in partiality. He is obedient to make a move/go. He destroys majority but not all. He fails to destroy the king and secondly he allows people to carry back with themselves the spoils in terms of the best livestock in the name of having something to sacrifice to God- this was contrary to God’s instructions. The hard decision is not between a bad and a good thing but between two things which both seem to be right. The actions of Saul are revealed to Samuel who confronts him. The answers that Saul give illustrate the position or the ground and source of his authority.

1Sa 15:13-21 Samuel came to Saul; and Saul said to him, Blessed are you by Yahweh: I have performed the commandment of Yahweh. Samuel said, what means then this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? Saul said, they have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice to Yahweh your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said to Saul, Stay, and I will tell you what Yahweh has said to me this night. He said to him, Say on. Samuel said, “Though you were little in your own sight, weren’t you made the head of the tribes of Israel? Yahweh anointed you king over Israel; and Yahweh sent you on a journey, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed. ‘Why then didn’t you obey the voice of Yahweh, but flew on the spoil, and did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh?” Saul said to Samuel, Yes, I have obeyed the voice of Yahweh, and have gone the way which Yahweh sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the devoted things, to sacrifice to Yahweh your God in Gilgal. Samuel said, Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

His answers and responses to the justification of his erroneous acts was based on the people. He preferred honour/ respect/ fame/ a name/ reputation before men than to honour God. Later on he is informed of how God has rejected him and a demo from his own act of tearing Samuel’s robe serves as an illustration to which he responds again in vs 30: Then he said, I have sinned: yet honor me now, Please, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship Yahweh your God.  Saul had chosen to build a name for himself by hooks and crooks. Whether by allowing wickedness or righteousness, it didn’t matter provided his name ‘grow bigger’.

In mark 12, Jesus teaches about the source of authority by challenging others so that they can awaken to the realization that the real authority: constant and no-changing is God’s. The whole issue of people being our authority is so much evidential in our daily lives. There are so many things we engage in or fail to do simply because there is a reputation we are jealously safeguarding. Other things we do underneath and in privacy and guard them from coming to the public scrutiny because if they did then our ego/ name/ reputation would downgrade. But, the big question which all of us ought to ask would be: whether in privacy or public, known or unknown, to others or to myself, IS WHATEVER AM ENGAGED IN OR PERMITTING TO TAKE OCCURRENCE GLORIFYING GOD APART FROM PEOPLE’S OPINIONS? Anything we do in life seeking the approval of men is for our own glory and this makes us gods making us proud, arrogant, rude, etc but anything done for the glory of Yahweh brings us to humility, closer relationship with Him and how much of Him we need. The approval of God is the paramount thing in life upon the course of our lifestyle and it comes by obedience to His word.