In Part II of Faith, Favor, Falling, we talked more about Moses. We learned that though God forgave him for his disobedience, he still had to deal with the consequences of his actions.
We can’t confuse God moving with God being pleased. God is faithful, even when we are not and He keeps His Word for His Name sake. Just because God performed and took care of the Israelites, didn’t mean that Moses wouldn’t have a punishment. Because Moses dishonored God, he was no longer honored with the opportunity to lead God’s people into the Promise Land.
Our disobedience not only distances us from God, but it also distances us from all that He promises for His promises can only be found in Him.
We love the quote, “what is for me will be for me,” and that is true, what God has for us is for us. However, our disobedience can keep us from ever possessing the promise. Our obedience to God is the roadmap to obtaining all that God has for us. We forfeit what He has in store for us when we don’t follow His instructions to obtain it.
Then fast forward to Saul. Saul and his troops were only “obedient” to God as far as they were willing. However, by examining their story in Part II, we learned that partial obedience is still disobedience. Saul “obeyed” God with the worthless things, the things which He didn’t care about. However, that which he saw value in, he decided to manage his own way. And this was God’s response...
““I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.” So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.”
1 Samuel 15:11 HCSB
Regret here means to feel sad or disappointed. God was pained by the disobedience of Saul.
Our disobedience grieves the heart of the Father. Favor with Him does not exempt us from having to follow His instructions.
I truly believe we sometimes feel that because we are “cool with God“, or have FAVOR with Him, that we are His FAVORITE and the rules do not apply to us, but this is so far from the truth.
First, we may have God’s favor but God does not play favorites. Second, God chastises those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), which tells me that He disciplines us when we disobey because He wants what’s best for us.
God’s instructions are to be fully carried out, not simply carried out to the extent that we are comfortable with.
“When Samuel came to him, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.””
1 Samuel 15:13 HCSB
PAUSE. It’s amazing how sometimes we can be blind to our own disobedience, isn’t it? Saul did not even realize that he had not done what God commanded. Dangerous.
...But Samuel confronts his illusion.
“Samuel replied, “Then what is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear? ” Saul answered, “The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed.” “Stop! ” exclaimed Samuel. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” “Tell me,” he replied.”
1 Samuel 15:14-16 HCSB
Samuel goes on to share God’s reminder of how He anointed Saul as king and made him a leader for the people of Israel. God gave him one mission, with simple instructions and he could not follow those. And because of His disobedience, consequences followed.
We cannot expect to be a leader and have people follow us, when we are not following Christ. When we lead but aren’t led by God, we simply lead others to destruction.
“So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight? ” “But I did obey the Lord! ”
Saul answered. “I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites.
The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder — the best of what was set apart for destruction — to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.””
1 Samuel 15:19-21 HCSB
MY GOD! Forgive us!!
Did you catch that?
Saul and his troops set apart “the best” of what God had already deemed destroyable to be sacrificed to God!
The best of the trash is still trash. If my mother tells me to throw out the trash but I take out the items that aren’t as spoiled or as smelly and bring them into her house as a gift to her, she’d be utterly insulted!
God wanted it ALL destroyed. To keep it as a sacrifice was a severe offense and complete disobedience.
How many of us are sacrificing trash to God and call ourselves doing Him a favor or giving Him a kind gesture?
God doesn’t want our “favors.” He wants us to follow directions...fully...the first time.
“Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:22-23 HCSB
Disobedience is a serious offense.
Defiance is compared to idolatry because when we disobey, we are exalting our thoughts, will, wants and ways above God. And as we stated in Part II when discussing Moses, God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Again, God’s ways are superior. When we divert from His path or tweak His instructions, no matter how good we think our reasoning is, we are no longer walking in excellence.
Saul’s defiance cost him his God-given position. His anointing as king was not a Tenureship. Anointing didn’t exempt him from being removed from his position of authority.
We need be careful as to not allow disobedience and rebellion to lead God to firing us.
Obedience not only allows us to obtain what God has for us but it ensures that we keep it.
“Please let me cross over and see the beautiful land on the other side of the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon. “But the Lord was angry with me on account of you and would not listen to me. The Lord said to me, ‘That’s enough! Do not speak to Me again about this matter.”
Deuteronomy 3:25-26 HCSB
“Saul answered Samuel, “I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord’s command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord.” Samuel replied to Saul, “I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” When Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.”
1 Samuel 15:24-28 HCSB
All I can say is OUCH!!!!
I can just hear God in His parent voice saying, “I said ‘no!’ Don’t ask again.”
Moses lost the Promise Land. Saul lost his position as King.
Two men. Two stories. The same message.
Disobedience will cost you. Whatever we feel we “gain” or “accomplish” by doing things our own way, cannot even begin to compare to what we lose in the process.
Join us for Faith, Favor Falling Part IV for the finale.