“[Saul has] set up a monument for himself” (1 Samuel 15:12)
There is no ambiguity in the Lord’s command to Saul to kill everything of the Amalekites that has breath. Had Saul disobeyed on compassionate grounds it would still have been disobedience but he may have gained some sympathy from us. However, his reason was not compassion which can be seen in that he did kill everything except that “Saul and the people (they were with Saul in this) spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them” (v 9). They did manage to kill the women and children as commanded by the Lord so compassion was not in their reasoning.
Saul claimed that the reason for keeping king Agag alive and the animals was for a sacrifice to the Lord but the Lord saw through this deception. He knew that Saul wanted the glory for himself; hence the monument Saul had set up. Rather than admit he had succumbed to pride Saul tried to justify disobedience by putting a spiritual spin to it. He has had many disciples throughout history even to this day.
Jesus said that the great commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). It appears He said this on at least three separate occasions and it is recorded by three of the Gospel writers. There is nothing ambiguous about this command so why do we settle for mediocrity?
Jesus also commanded that we “make disciples of all nations … teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19) and to be witnesses to Him all over the world (Acts 1:8). Again, this command is not ambiguous yet we comply reluctantly and half-heartedly which is in reality disobedience.
God in his grace has placed us where we are able to obtain material and spiritual wealth in varying degrees but like Saul we give into the temptation of using both for our own pleasure, to gain praise from others and glory to ourselves. Instead God intends that we use it in obedience to Him for His glory. Also like Saul we put one of the numerous spiritual spins to our disobedience to the Lord’s commands to make it appear spiritual. Others go along with it because they are doing the same.
Let us stop making monuments to ourselves of what the Lord has graciously given us for His own use and glory. There is nothing we are or have that He did not give. Repent, have a change of heart and serve the Lord in obedience with all our heart.