Twenty-Second Day of Lent

Scripture: 1 Samuel 15:10-23

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
  as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
  and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (I Sam 15:22, NIV)

 It seems like an “I told you so” moment for the LORD when Saul’s disobedience removes His blessing as king. Israel was fairly warned about the outcome of the monarchy, and Saul is the first king to prove that outcome.

His first transgression as king comes in the heat of a Philistine battle (1 Samuel 13:1-15). When things look bleak and it appears Samuel won’t be showing up on time, Saul takes matters into his own hands and offers the burnt sacrifice. This faithless moment marked the beginning of the end for Saul.

Today’s passage reveals a piece of God’s character in His regret for making Saul king after his second transgression. Instead of “I told you so”, the LORD owns the outcome. What a declaration of God’s place as the true King! Israel rejected God’s kingship when they asked for the monarchy, but He remained faithful to Israel in the midst of Saul’s failure.

The New Testament account of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) came to mind during this reading. The couple attempt to deceive the apostles after selling their property and holding back a portion of the profits. Tragically, they each fall dead once their sin is revealed.

I’m challenged to consider the moments I’ve resembled the disobedience of King Saul. Saul’s transgressions were moments where the LORD was taken off the throne and replaced by “the self”. 1 Samuel reveals both a moment of desperation as well as a moment of triumph where Saul disobeyed. How often have I taken God off the throne and relied upon my own ideas of faithfulness? In my moments of desperation, am I patient enough to wait for God? When I triumph, do I honour God in my celebration?

I cry out like the tax collector of Luke 18, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

God is King!

Marc Lantz
Faith Covenant Church
Breton, AB