Today I got spanked! No, not physically but the words I read slapped me upside the head. I saw myself in the failure of another.
I was reading about three different soldiers: Abner, Jonathan, and King Saul. Abner is the soldier I wanted to compare myself with, 1 Samuel 14:50, 51.
He was Saul’s cousin. Their shared great-great-great grandfather was the one remembered for his stalwart character, 1 Samuel 9:1.
Abner commanded the entire army but we don’t read of his actions or his comments. He took his orders from Saul and carried them out.
(Unfortunately, I saw myself in another soldier – Jonathan.)
Jonathan served under Abner and his father, King Saul. Yet, he did whatever he wanted.
- He went wherever he wanted, 1 Samuel 14:1.
- He didn’t report to his commanders, 1 Samuel 14:1.
- He didn’t answer to anyone, 1 Samuel 14:3.
- He took others along, 1 Samuel 14:6.
- He expected God to work for him, 1 Samuel 14:6.
- His attitude was, “Nobody said I couldn’t,” 1 Samuel 14:6.
- He told his men what his father should have done, 1 Samuel 14:30.
- He saw his error as small, insignificant, 1 Samuel 14:43.
King Saul was the third soldier in these chapters.
- He took it easy, 1 Samuel 14:1.
- He destroyed what no one wanted, instead of everything, 1 Samuel 15:9.
- He set up a victory monument in his own honor, not God’s, 1 Samuel 15:12.
- He lied about doing everything God commanded, 1 Samuel 15:13.
- He stopped being humble before God, 1 Samuel 15:17.
- He did not obey God, 1 Samuel 15:19.
- He trampled God’s word and instructions, 1 Samuel 15:24.
- He cared more about pleasing people than God, 1 Samuel 15:24.
- He let the people tell him what to do, 1 Samuel 15:24.
- He rejected God’s command, 1 Samuel 15:26.
- He tore Samuel’s holy robe to get him to do what he wanted, 1 Samuel 15:27.
- He repented to get Samuel to support him in front of everyone, 1 Samuel 15:30.
1 Samuel 15:22, 23, shows us what God does not want from His soldiers:
- Empty rituals just for show.
- Sacrifices instead of obedience.
- Lavish religious productions.
- Ignoring commands.
What does God want?
- Plain listening.
- Doing what He tells you to do.
1 Samuel 15:29, “Israel’s God-of-Glory doesn’t deceive and He doesn’t dither. He says what He means and means what He says.” The Message
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