King Saul had a time in his life when it seemed that every battle he fought went his way. (1 Sam 14:47, 48). He mistakenly supposed that the reason he was victorious was because of his superior ability. In reality God was using Saul as His instrument to accomplish His purposes. Saul assumed at some point that he could decide to do whatever he wanted to do and God would just be thrilled to receive whatever Saul gave him. That was a dangerous assumption.
God sent Saul to defeat the Amalekites and settle the score from an earlier time when they attacked Israel while Israel was fleeing Egypt. The expressed command from God was not to leave anything alive. Saul won the battle but decided that it was his call on what to do with the spoils of war. He spared the King and the best of the livestock for his purposes. He treated God’s will as an option.
The prophet Samuel was sent to King Saul with these words, “It is better to obey than to sacrifice.” (1 Sam 15:22) If we translated that into our common vernacular we would say it something like this: it is not okay with God to make up our own way of serving Him, even if it requires sacrifice, if in the process we disobey what He’s asked us to do.God was so serious about this disobedience that He told Saul He would tear the kingdom away from him and raise up a new leader. God chose David, a man after his own heart (what God didn’t get from Saul was his heart).
One of the ways this can play out in our lives is when God asks us to do something and we say we will but then delay obedience. Remember, delayed obedience is disobedience in God’s eyes. We can fool ourselves if we say to our self, I’m going to do that, but then never get around to it. We don’t fool God.
It is easy to slide into the role of making decisions and asking God to bless them. It can be a subtle twist to move from being God’s instrument to attempting to use Him to get what we want. One of the truest tests is whether we obey–and even how quickly we obey. We may find ourselves obeying quickly when it is to our benefit and delaying obedience even while promising it in areas where we really don’t want to comply. I know because I’ve done it. I’ve fooled myself with delayed obedience but not God. With some recent conviction, I’m awake and aware now. I’m praying to be a man after God’s own heart and with that to obey quickly.