Many a Christian has not progressed far in their spiritual life beyond the first base of believing and trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ. The reason is simple. The first thing they must learn to go deeper with God and to enjoy the slow, but steady transforming work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, is that obedience to God is not optional, but essential. Many a ‘would-be’ believer, has fallen by the wayside, because they have not understood this simple truth. You see, Jesus is called, ‘the Lord’ for good reason. He is the Lord over heaven and earth, which is confirmed by his resurrection, and he is the Lord over the lives of men and women. He holds the keys to death and Hades (Rev 1:18).
King Saul, who precedes King David, learnt the truth painfully that obedience to God takes priority over all other things. He failed God’s command to destroy the Amalekites completely (1 Sam 15:7-14). He withheld some of the cattle and sheep and did not kill Agag the Amalekite king. Perhaps he thought that kings deserved special treatment (1 Sam 15:15-20). Saul justified his actions by appealing to his intention to offer them to the Lord (vs 21). Samuel the prophet differs and accuses him of acting in self-interest. Saul has not understood the seriousness of disobedience. He has, as so many have thought, that by offering the right sacrifices and do the ‘right thing religious things’ (actions) for God, he will justify himself. It won’t. His actions are equated with rebellion and idolatry and have brought upon him God’s rejection. For the Christian today, we are to question ourselves: is our heart right and obedient toward God?