March 23

1 Samuel 15-17, Psalm 82

Billy Graham tells the story of a Minister who went to his medicine shelf and brought back a bottle of strychnine marked “Poison.” He said, “…Suppose I take this ‘Poison’ label off the bottle and put on a label like ‘Peppermint Candy.’ Can’t you see the problem? The milder you make the label, the more dangerous the poison’s presence.” It is high time we put a “Poison” label back on the poison of sin. We must not be afraid to be as plain as the Bible is about the tragic consequences of sin- or about the antidote for that poison: the blood of Christ. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sin is often minimized in our minds. There are times that people question the fairness of God’s commands, thereby justifying their own sin, and allowing people to feel that they are “pretty good”. Though obedience has become an unpopular word, it is as important today as it was then.

In chapter 15 of 1 Samuel we get a vivid picture of the immediate consequences of disobedience.
God could not have been clearer to Saul about what to do with the Amalekites, as we read in 1 Samuel 15:3, “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'” But as the story unfolds not only does Saul disobey, but he feels no remorse. We read in 15:12, that he glorified himself and not God, “…Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself;”. He then goes on to boldface lie to Samuel in 15:13, “…I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” Though Saul tries to rationalize his disobedience, Samuel clearly states in 15:23, God’s position on rejecting the word of the Lord and it’s consequences, “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.”

So often the immediate and long term consequences of sin are not apparent in our lives. Like a frog in boiling water, the end result is not immediately obvious. But in this story, Saul’s sin of disobedience has immediate consequences, his kingship was rejected (v.23), and the Spirit of the Lord departed from him, as we read in 16:14, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.” Interestingly as we continue in the One Year Bible Challenge we will get to the book of Esther and see the long term consequences of Saul’s disobedience. Approximately 600 years later in the times of Esther a direct descendant of King Agag (an Amalekite), Haman, sets out and comes close to wiping out the entire Jewish race. If Saul was obedient there should have been no Amalekites remaining.

As we live out the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, let us not ignore Jesus’ instructions that in making disciples we are to go about “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”. Obedience to God’s Word can never be minimized.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato