1 Sameul: Saul’s epic mistake

1 Samuel 15:1–35

It would take a filmmaker like Quentin Tarantino to due cinematic justice to a scene such as the one that ends chapter 15. You don’t mess with the prophet Samuel.

This is an epic chapter in the story of 1 & 2 Samuel. Massive turning point happens here.

I think a crucial question in this story is: Are we willing to say “Yes” to God, no matter what?

Because here’s one of the questions going on in the story: Is King Saul someone willing to take orders? Is he willing to do what God says? Will he obey?

He’s had some military success against the Philistines, a nation that has oppressed Israel. Now God tells him to go on the offensive against the Amalekites and wipe them out. Every last person and animal. But he doesn’t.

Perhaps a lesson in the story then becomes, as human beings in God’s world, stewarding God’s creation and leading his people, we are not fit to give orders if we’re unwilling to follow orders. Will we obey?

Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be rejected by God?

Rabbit trail: Is this divinely ordained genocide?

It’s important to note that nowhere else after this in the Bible is a command like this given (we could find some similar things in Joshua, but that’s earlier in the timeline).

As ancient people understood covenants, such as that God made to Israel, the enemies of one party become the enemy of the other. Antagonists of Israel are then antagonists of Israel’s God, since Israel now represents God on the earth.

After the Exodus, as Israel wander in the wilderness, the nation of Amalek terrorized the vulnerable Israelites numerous times. And now in 1 Samuel, several generations later, they experience the consequences of their actions.

Nowhere in the New Testament do Jesus or the apostles encourage violence against enemies.


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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