Sunday, April 12, 2009

Greed, Hypocrisy, Lying, Manipulation, Disobedience

We all have a legacy.

How would you like this title to be your legacy?

Saul commits all of these in Samuel chapter 15.

Here is the story

1 -2 Samuel said to Saul, "God sent me to anoint you king over his people, Israel. Now, listen again to what God says. This is the God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking:
2 -3 "'I'm about to get even with Amalek for ambushing Israel when Israel came up out of Egypt. Here's what you are to do: Go to war against Amalek. Put everything connected with Amalek under a holy ban. And no exceptions! This is to be total destruction—men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys—the works.'"

So God wants this people wiped out. That would seem like an unsavory task to us now a days. In fact, the term "ethnic cleansing" sends shivers of revulsion down our spine.

However, that part caused Saul no pause at all.

7 -9 Then Saul went after Amalek, from the canyon all the way to Shur near the Egyptian border. He captured Agag, king of Amalek, alive. Everyone else was killed under the terms of the holy ban. Saul and the army made an exception for Agag, and for the choice sheep and cattle. They didn't include them under the terms of the holy ban. But all the rest, which nobody wanted anyway, they destroyed as decreed by the holy ban. "

What he had a hard time doing, was destroying all that great booty. After all, the reward for winning a war was that you got to take over everything they owned. It was all or nothing. You either lost your life (and everything you owned), or THEY lost their life, and you got the land, the houses, the fields, the clothes, the gold - you got it ALL.

So Saul had rallied the troops. They had wiped out all these people. They had wiped out a lot of good booty. But to completely destroy ALL of this great property? It seemed like a waste of a good war.

So he kept the king alive - and a lot of the best sheep and cattle.

Of course, his conscience bothered him, because Samuel had been pretty clear about what God had said. "Put everything connected with Amalek under a holy ban. And no exceptions! This is to be total destruction—men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys—the works.'"

So his greed was in play. But he wasn't finished demonstrating bad character.

In a different playing field altogether, God and Samuel were talking. 10 -11 "Then God spoke to Samuel: "I'm sorry I ever made Saul king. He's turned his back on me. He refuses to do what I tell him."

Samuel's reaction? 11 -12 "Samuel was angry when he heard this. He prayed his anger and disappointment all through the night. He got up early in the morning to confront Saul."

Here comes the hypocrisy... Samuel finds Saul trying to appease his guilty conscience by sacrificing some of the plunder (that he was not supposed to have) to God. Saul sees Samuel coming and says, "God's blessings on you! I accomplished God's plan to the letter!"

OK. Hypocricy AND lying.

Saul doesn't know that Samuel has heard from God and has spent the night praying and sorrowing over Saul's disobedience.

If you are going to lie - lie big! 15 "Only some Amalekite loot," said Saul. "The soldiers saved back a few of the choice cattle and sheep to offer up in sacrifice to God. But everything else we destroyed under the holy ban."

Oh! And some manipulation also. The SOLDIERS kept some, in order to sacrifice them. Saul had NO control over his soldiers. They just did whatever they pleased. (YEAH RIGHT!)

Samuel confronts him. So does he repent? No way! He justifies himself, lies again, and tries to manipulate his way out of the situation.

20 -21 "Saul defended himself. "What are you talking about? I did obey God. I did the job God set for me. I brought in King Agag and destroyed the Amalekites under the terms of the holy ban. So the soldiers saved back a few choice sheep and cattle from the holy ban for sacrifice to God at Gilgal—what's wrong with that?"

That is the end of Saul's reign. Oh he is still king for some 13 years. But God is finished with him, and his reign is over in God's eyes.

Saul's legacy is Greed, Hypocrisy, Lying, Manipulation, Disobedience.

What's mine going to be?


1 comment:

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