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“Unfortunately, Saul's foolishness did not end with the incident recorded in chapter 13. A short time later, he was commanded to lead the Israelites in battle to utterly destroy the Amalekites, and all of their livestock. The Amalekites were defeated, but Saul spared their king Agag, and the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings and lambs. Despite these obvious failures Saul proudly announced to Samuel, ‘I have performed the commandment of the Lord.’ Oblivious to Samuel’s efforts to convince Saul that the bleeding cattle and the captive king Agag were evidence of his disobedience to the Lord, Saul insisted that he had done right.

The obstinate self- justification of Saul rested on two presumptions. First, he had acted as king, and had exercised wise judgment (he thought) in the carrying out of his mission. Second, he had spared the livestock for religious purposes.

Far from praising him for this, Samuel rebuked Saul for his sins of pride and rebellion saying, ‘to obey is better than sacrifice.’ The message is clear: God does not take pleasure in offerings which He has not commanded. What pleases the Lord is humble conformity to His commands.

King Saul maintained that it was the sacrifice itself which was really important, and he assumed that his sincerity of heart in wanting to present the best of the flocks to God excused his disregard for the commandment of the Lord. Conformity with God's commands, in other words, could be set aside as long as the worshipper believed that he had a good reason for doing things his own way. Thus in Saul’s mind, it was the will of the worshipper-not the will of God-that determined what would be acceptable worship. For this the Kingdom was stripped from him and given to David, a man after God's own heart, who would be the Lord's chosen instrument for the further development of the Church’s ordinances of worship and the introduction of several new elements by God's command.” (Comin, 85)

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