“Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him” (verse 22), so said Samuel to King Saul.
God had given Saul explicit instructions on how to handle a group of people called the Amalekites. Saul obeyed… some of the instructions, but not all of them. He rationalized his behavior as worship. But God would have none of it. The Lord rejected Saul as king; He wanted no monkey business when it comes to obedience.
I’d like to think I’m not like Saul. But I sat a bit with this verse, and realized I sometimes do the same thing:
· Whenever I say I’ll do something and then get busy and not do it, I sometimes rationalize my lack of follow through by explaining what good things I was doing with my time instead.
· I sometimes justify a purchase of something I don’t really need but want with the excuse to God that I put a lot of money in the offering plate for Him.
· Occasionally slandering another person, even though it is forbidden by God, with the knucklehead notion that I’m protecting and helping others from that person’s evil ways.
· I sometimes keep quiet in the face of a bad situation when I should be speaking up, and dismiss the lack of engagement and involvement with the fact that I need to save my energy for people who want it….
I got too convicted to keep thinking about it anymore, but I could have kept going. *Sigh*
Before we get too uppity about saying we are not like Saul and would never be like him, perhaps we ought to sit with this story and this verse of Holy Scripture for awhile and allow a mindfulness of any unacknowledged disobedience.
Rationalization is the way of sinners. Repentance is the path of saints. Which road will you choose today?
Holy God, you expect obedience to clear instructions. I’m sorry for all those times I’ve found creative ways to circumvent your teaching. Help me not to avoid your good commands, but to own them with vigor and vitality through Jesus Christ my Lord in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.