1 Samuel 15:1
Then Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people Israel. Now therefore, listen to the words of the LORD.
Sermons
Recalled to the Path of DutyB. Dale 1 Samuel 15:1; 16:1-4
A Probationary CommissionB. Dale 1 Samuel 15:1-9


1 Samuel 15:1-9. (GIBEAH.)

1. The fidelity of Saul to the principle of his appointment, viz. obedience to the will of Jehovah, was once and again put to the test. He had been tried by inaction, delay, and distress, which became the occasion of his being tempted to distrust, and the use of his power for his own safety, in opposition to the word of God (1 Samuel 13:11). He had been tried by enterprise, encouragement, and the expectation of brilliant success, which became the occasion of his being tempted to presumption in entering rashly upon his own ways, and adopting "foolish and hurtful devices" for conquest and glory, independently of the counsel of God (1 Samuel 14:19, 24). He must now be tried by victory, power, and prosperity. Having chastised his enemies on every side (1 Samuel 14:47), his assured success becomes the final test of his character and fitness to rule over Israel.

2. The temptations of Saul may he compared with those of others, and especially with the three temptations of Christ (Matthew 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-12), which are "an epitome of all the temptations, moral and spiritual, which the devil has contrived for man from the day of his first sin unto this very hour." The antecedents in both cases, the circumstances under which the temptations occurred, the principles to which they appealed, the inducements which they presented, the means afforded for their resistance, and their result, are all suggestive. Where the first king of Israel failed the last King of Israel prevailed, and whilst Saul was rejected, Jesus was perfected, and "crowned with glory and honour" (Luke 22:28, 29; Hebrews 2:10, 18).

3. The commission of Saul to execute judgment upon the Amalekites was brought to him by Samuel, whose authority as the prophet of the Lord he never called in question, however much he may have acted contrary to his directions. After Saul exhibited a determination to have his own way, Samuel seems to have exerted little influence over him. At the battle of Michmash the high priest Ahiah was his only spiritual counsellor. It became more and more evident that he wished to establish a "kingdom of this world," like the surrounding heathen kingdoms, in opposition to the design of God concerning Israel, which the prophet represented and sought to carry into effect; and it was inevitable that, with such contrary aims, a conflict should arise between them. "The great prophet's voice brings him a new commission from his God, and preludes it by a note of very special warning: 'The Lord sent me,' etc. This tone of adjuration surely tells all. It speaks the prophet's judgment of his character, of prayers and intercessions, of days of watching and nights of grief for one he loved so well, as he saw growing on that darkening countenance the deepening lines of willfulness. The prophet sees that it will be a crisis in that life history with which by God's own hand his own had been so strangely entwined? The commission was -

I. DIVINELY APPOINTED (ver. 1).

1. When a communication enjoining the performance of any action comes unquestionably from God. it should be unhesitatingly obeyed. His authority is supreme, his power is infinite, and his commands are right and good. It does not follow that everything he directs men to do in one age is obligatory on all others in every age. But some things he has undoubtedly enjoined upon us all.

2. When such a communication is made with peculiar directness and solemnity, it should be obeyed with peculiar attention and circumspection, for important issues are involved in its faithful or faithless observance. "if thou hast failed in other things, take heed that thou fail not in this."

3. When special privilege and honour have been bestowed upon men by God they are placed under special obligations of obedience to him. "Though thou wast little in thine own sight," etc. (ver. 17).

II. JUSTLY DESERVED by those against whom it was directed (ver. 2) - "the sinners the Amalekites" (ver. 18).

1. Some sins are marked by an unusual degree of criminality and guilt. Like the people of Israel, the Amalekites were descendants of Abraham (Amalek being the grandson of Esau - Genesis 36:12, 16); but they attacked them at Rephidim on their way through the desert, and strove to annihilate them (Exodus 17:8-16); they lay in wait for them secretly and subtly, and smote the hindermost, the feeble, the faint and weary, and "feared not God" (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). Their conduct was ungenerous, unprovoked, cruel, and utterly godless.

2. Special sins are perpetuated in families and nations and increase in intensity. The Amalekites were hereditary, open, and deadly foes of Israel (Numbers 14:45; Judges 3:13; Judges 6:3). They lived by plunder, and were guilty of unsparing bloodshed (ver. 33). Some fresh act of cruelty may have shown that they were "ripe for the judgment of extermination."

3. Sinners long spared and persisting in flagrant transgression bring upon themselves sudden, signal, and overwhelming destruction. If judgment is pervaded and limited by mercy, mercy has also limits beyond which it does not pass, and they who despise it must perish. Men may forget what God has spoken (Exodus 17:14); but he remembers it, and fulfils his word at the proper time. "Injuries done to the people of God will sooner or later be reckoned for." Impenitent sinners "treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath" (Romans 2:5). It accumulates like a gathering thundercloud or an Alpine avalanche (Luke 11:50, 51), and it frequently comes upon them by ways and means such as they themselves have chosen. The Amalekites put others to the sword and spared not; they must themselves be put to the sword and not be spared. The moral improvement of inveterate sinners by their continuance on earth is sometimes hopeless, and their removal by Divine judgment is necessary for the moral improvement and general welfare of other people with whom they are connected, and teaches valuable lessons to succeeding ages.

III. FULLY EXPRESSED (vers. 3, 18). The will of God is made known in different forms and with various degrees of clearness, and some men, whilst.acknowledging their obligation to obey it, have sought to justify themselves in the neglect of particular duties on the ground of their not having been fully directed. But this could not be the case with Saul, whose commission was -

1. Imperative; so that there could be no excuse for evasion. "Go and smite Amalek."

2. Plain; so that its meaning could not be mistaken, except by the most inattentive and negligent of men. "Utterly destroy (devote to destruction). Fight against them until they be consumed."

3. Minute; so that no room was left for the exercise of discretion as to the manner or extent of its fulfilment. It required simple, literal obedience, such as is now required in many things. "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."

IV. ZEALOUSLY COMMENCED (vers. 4, 5, 7). The "journey on which he was sent" (ver. 18) was entered upon by Saul with something of the same energy and zeal which he had formerly displayed against the Ammonites, but the deterioration which had since taken place in his character by the possession of power soon appeared.

1. The work to which men are called in the way of duty sometimes bears a close affinity to their natural temperament and disposition.

2. Men may appear to others, and even to themselves, to be very zealous for the Lord whilst they are only doing what is naturally agreeable to themselves. "Come with me," said Jehu, "and see my zeal for the Lord" (2 Kings 10:16, 31). "But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel." Saul of Tarsus, like Saul of Gibeah, appeared to be fighting for God when he was really fighting against him.

3. The real nature of their zeal is manifested when the requirements of God come into collision with their convenience, pleasure, ambition, or self-interest. Then the hidden spring is laid bare.

V. UNFAITHFULLY EXECUTED (vers. 8, 9). "Spared Agag, and the best of the sheep," etc., "and would not destroy them." "He hath turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments" (ver. 11).

1. There may be the performance of many things along with the neglect or refusal to perform others of equal or of greater importance. Saul was "a type of those who are willing to do something as against the world and on behalf of Christ, but by no means willing to do all that they ought to do." Herod "did many things, and heard John gladly" (Mark 6:20), but he would not give up his ruling passion.

2. Disobedience in one thing often manifests the spirit of disobedience in all things. It shows that the heart and will are not surrendered to the Lord, and without such a surrender all else is worthless. In Saul's sparing Agag and the best of the sheep, etc, we have "a melancholy example of sparing sins and evils that should be slain, and sheltering and harbouring them under false pretences by unworthy pleas and excuses."

3. The love of self is the supreme motive of those who refuse to obey God. Saul was actuated by covetousness (ver. 19), worldly mindedness (Matthew 4:9; 1 John 2:15, 16), and vainglorious pride, which are only different forms of the love of self. "Behold, he set him up a monument, and is gone about (as in a triumphal procession), and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal" (ver. 12), intending probably to make a display of the royal captive for his own glory; perhaps to make him a tributary prince and a source of profit. "Pride arising from the consciousness of his own strength led him astray to break the command of God. His sin was open rebellion against the sovereignty of the God of Israel; for he no longer desired to be the medium of the sovereignty of Jehovah, or the executor of the commands of the God king, but simply wanted to reign according to his own arbitrary will" (Keil). - D.







I am with thee.
Jonathan was a brave and generous leader of men. In the picture we are to study we see Jonathan, tired of inaction, and longing to be against the enemy, suddenly determine to do a little skirmishing on his own account; and yet there was a profoundly religious spirit controlling the impulse which led him to make the attempt. Jonathan devoutly believed that God was able to work by the few as well as by the many. He made known his purpose to his armour bearer and no doubt awaited with interest the attitude which that young man would take in the matter. Then the armour bearer replied with a warm-hearted enthusiasm and fidelity that must have made Jonathan's generous blood tingle, "Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart." Who could not win victories backed by such armour bearers as that? Go back through history and you will see that the men who have done the greatest work in the world are the men who have been backed by faithful helpers with staunch and loyal hearts. Moses was chosen to lead Israel out of Egypt, but God gave him Miriam and Aaron for armour bearers. Joshua became the great soldier and leader of his nation, but what a splendid armour bearer he had in Caleb. Daniel stands out gloriously against the dark background of wicked Babylon, but the three brave Hebrew boys that went into the fiery furnace rather than betray their faith in God were worthy armour bearers to such a leader. Paul shines forth from Ephesus, and Rome, and Athens, and Corinth as the great leader and evangelist, but who can ever tell how much Silas, and Barnabas, and Timothy meant to the great apostle as armour bearers to encourage and sustain him? Of course God works through leaders. I do not wish for one moment, to shirk my own responsibility or my own duty with reference to a revival. But feeling in this way, I also feel just as certainly that I cannot win in this church and in this city many souls to Christ, unless the men and women of this church shall be loyal and faithful armour bearers. There are many ways in which the individual members of a church may be helpful armour bearers to. the pastor in a time like this.

1. The first is in their attitude to God and to their fellow Christians in relation to the meetings. Sincere and earnest prayer which takes possession of the heart and life must help to sustain the pastor in leading a campaign for the saving of souls. Do you think that Peter could have won that victory on the day of Pentecost if the hundred and twenty had been going about criticising him; or bad been making outside engagemants to take away their interest from the meeting. So both your attitude to God and your attitude toward your fellow church members are of the most serious importance. Revivals never come easily. A revival of religion is campaign waged against the world, and the flesh, and the devil. Every liquor saloon in this country is dead set against a revival of religion. Not only are these against it, but the greed for money, and the love of ease and self-indulgence, in church members as well as in outsiders, ere all against a revival of religion. Hence a real, genuine revival of religion always comes hard.

2. If you are to be a real armour bearer you, too, must handle the sword of the Spirit; you must not wait for the pastor to hunt out individuals one by one and win them to Christ. You must be faithful in your own place and with self-denial and earnestness seek to win souls yourself. There are many souls who are waiting for but a touch of influence from the outside to turn the balances on the side of righteousness. And what joy it would bring to you if you were to thus feel yourself a real armour bearer in Christ's work. It seems terrible, when the human heart is capable of such marvellous things in the way of loyalty, and zeal, and enthusiasm, that we who profess the name of Jesus Christ, and have been redeemed by His precious blood, should be so lacking here. What glorious deeds have been done through the chivalric earnestness of human souls!

(L. A. Banks, D. D.)

Links
1 Samuel 15:1 NIV
1 Samuel 15:1 NLT
1 Samuel 15:1 ESV
1 Samuel 15:1 NASB
1 Samuel 15:1 KJV

1 Samuel 15:1 Bible Apps
1 Samuel 15:1 Parallel
1 Samuel 15:1 Biblia Paralela
1 Samuel 15:1 Chinese Bible
1 Samuel 15:1 French Bible
1 Samuel 15:1 German Bible

1 Samuel 15:1 Commentaries

Bible Hub
1 Samuel 14:52
Top of Page
Top of Page