Listen to Saul’s reasoning in verses 20-21.
He kept the ‘best of what was devoted to God in order to sacrifice to God.’
What is your best? What is the best you have to offer to God? Maybe your athletic and you can play your heart out for Him, or you can sing, dance, write, study? What is the absolute best thing about you that you can offer God?
You see we try to develop those as our offerings, thinking this is what God wants me to do because this is the best I have.
But that’s not it, our best is not good enough. And when you really get that, when you really understand there is nothing you can do on your own terms to please God; that’s terrifying. Because what do you have left?
v.16 – To obey is better than sacrifice. We see that practically in this story as Saul continually drifts further and further away from God. God wants obedience, not the ritual sacrifice, not the best we have to offer. He wants our obedience and obedience requires devotion and devotion requires everything.
He doesn’t want the best of us, He wants the whole of us: the bad and the good, the perfectly imperfect masterpiece He calls His own.
Saul’s downfall continues in the following chapters and as Saul is rejected, David is anointed as the next king of Israel. But there was one more consequence I mentioned at the beginning. Something I believe to be worse than death.
15:26 – the LORD has rejected you as king – and – 15:35 – The LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel
In American Christianity we have developed a very soft idea of God and because of that, a very soft view of sin. It doesn’t really matter what you do because God will just snap his fingers and everything will be alright – and while that is partly true, His forgiveness knows no bounds, He will not put up with disobedience forever – either you choose him or you don’t.
Here we read the result of Saul’s disobedience. God was grieved that he chose him.
Now can you imagine being chosen for a part in a play or joining a team. You work hard and practice and then when the play opens or the season starts it seems to go really well. Your excited and encouraged. You see your coach or director coming towards you, thinking ‘I did a great job’ you’re expecting to hear good things. But when they reach you, they look sad and disappointed. Then they say, “I wish I never chose you for that part, it would have been better if you never played.”
But this wasn’t just some leader, some person Saul looked up to; this was God. God looked at him and the job he was doing and said, you should have never been king. Can you imagine what that feels like, to be rejected by the person who loves you the most, who designed your life. And for them to see what you’ve done and who you’ve become and be utterly disappointed and even disgusted.
That is what pride does to your relationship with God.
Pride is the sin of exalting yourself above God and therefore being rejected by God.