There are two hard truths we encounter in 1 Samuel 15. One deals with judgement, the other with Israel.
First, God as Creator has the right, even the responsibility, to judge evil. He decides who gets judged, who does not, and when to execute judgement. We, as humans, have no heavenly right judge others outside of the legal requirements of a court of law.
Jesus discussed this in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7:
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Matthew 7:1-2 NKJV
We are not to judge others, but at the same time, we demand justice for ourselves and for our loved ones. God is the rightful keeper of that judgement. When we judge others, we are putting ourselves in position to face the brunt of our own criticism.
No one likes to be judged. We are independent people and have freedom under God to be ourselves and to make our own choices and decisions. But there are heavenly boundaries and we often do cross them with the full knowledge of our own conscience. It is essential that we judge ourselves to recognize our own sin. When we review and confess our unworthiness before God, He will extend to us His mercy and give us the precious jewel of salvation offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died for us on the cross to bear the penalty for our sin and He rose again to raise us to eternal life.
A friend of mine put it this way: When a jeweler lays out a fine diamond, he places it on a black velvet background to show off its radiance. When God grants us the precious gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, that valuable gift shines as it is laid upon the dark background of our past.
The second hard truth we see in 1 Samuel 15 is that, if a nation attacks His people, Israel, God will judge them with a severe price. It may not happen until much later, but judgement will always come and come down hard.
God chose the people of Israel. They were His “first born”. We, as Christians, have been grafted onto that choice root throughout eternity by His grace and mercy. (See Romans 11).
King Saul did not follow through in executing God’s judgement against the Amalekites, who had mercilessly attacked Israel as they were leaving Egypt during the Exodus many years before. God ordered it, and it was up to Saul to execute it fully. He did not.
Samuel let Saul know that, once again, he had failed. When God gives us an order, we would best follow it. There are eternal implications at stake that we do not understand. By failing to judge the Amalekites, they would later come back in Esther’s time to almost eliminate Israel from the earth through Haman, a descendent of the Amalekite king, Agag. But God intervened to save Israel at that time, as well.
22 So Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23 NKJV
Samuel reinforced God’s earlier judgement against Saul, that the kingdom would be taken away from him and his family line and given to another. Samuel was about to be sent on a mission to make that happen.
Where am I tempted to inflict judgement on others? This may be in the form of words spoken to someone or behind their back, but can be in my thoughts, as well.
The concept that I will be judged using the same measure I use to judge others is a scary one. God is much more merciful to me than I deserve, and extending this same mercy to others is difficult. We seek to be changed to reflect the nature of the God Who lives within believers, the Holy Spirit.
Lord, help me to show mercy to others, and help my attitude to reflect to them the pure love You have for me.