Reading through the Bible together
Already in his short time as king, Saul had acted presumptuously and sinned by offering a sacrifice to the Lord which only priests should do (I Sam. 13), and also in his commands (I Sam. 14) to his army. Yet God is long suffering, and in I Sam. 15, we see the Lord giving Saul another chance to prove if he will obey the voice of the Lord or the impulsiveness of his heart. The Amalekites (descendants of Esau – Gen 36:12) happened to be the first that went to make war against the Israelites (descendants of Jacob) on their journey toward Canaan (Ex. 17:8). This is very significant! God was calling His people to physical Canaan just as today He is calling us to spiritual Canaan. And yet the first thing that always comes to stand in the way of our journey to the Promised Land is our sins. This is what the Amalekites represent, and this is what we must overcome!
Because of the Amalekites idolatry and their war against Israel, the Lord had long ago spoken to Moses about their death sentence: “I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Ex. 17:14). Now 400 years later they are still persecuting God’s people, and Saul is given the ultimate task and test: “It is time to destroy the Amalekites, entirely!” It might seem harsh that this included even a woman with a baby in her arms. But God knew that if this wicked nation were allowed to remain (even the smallest child) that they would eventually become so strong that they would wipe out His people and their worship of Him. Sadly, Saul failed the test and followed the inclinations of his heart instead of the commands of God. While claiming to be in obedience to God’s orders, he saves not only the “best of the animals” (under pretense of using them for sacrifices), but he spares the life of the King of the Amalekites as his “trophy captive.” But God did not honor Saul’s “pretended service” then, and He doesn’t honor ours today. And yet how many times do we, through a pretense of serving God, justify some selfish sin or seek for some earthly glory just like Saul?
As it has often been said, what we do not overcome, will overcome us. Sadly, what Saul did not overcome, overcame him. A few chapters later (II Sam. 1:8-10), a young lad comes before King David to report Saul’s death. Who was this young man? An Amalekite! Does David rejoice? No! He weeps, just as God weeps when the “Amalekites of sin” overcome us today. As we close this chapter, let us search our hearts in prayer. What “Amalekite of sin” are we refusing to destroy today?
Melodious Echo Mason
ARME Bible Camp Ministries