THE GOOD THAT MAKES US GO AGAINST GOD
1 Samuel 15:1-26
In the beginning of this story of King Saul, there is the clear word from the Lord, but King Saul trusted in his own thoughts and refused to accept the word of God as spoken by the prophet. Instead, he embraced what was in his thoughts.
When something seems to be bad in our eyes we can easily reject it. However, when it appears good it’s not easy for us to forsake it. The Lord said to King Saul to “Utterly destroy all.”
1 Samuel 15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Everything that belonged to Amalek was meant for utter destruction. In the Bible, Amalek is the shadow of a sinful man, representing you and I. God cannot accept anything that belongs to Amalek, that’s why he commanded to ‘utterly destroy’ everything; On the contrary, what seems right and good to me, that, I really want to keep, yet God wants me to destroy everything.
(Everyone) check your life; do you destroy and throw away everything that comes from yourself? It’s not easy to destroy all.
As I grew up in church people told me I should pour all my heart in doing ministry. However in 1999 as I was receiving theological training, my class was a little different. Usually, trainees are dispatched within the first six months, but one and a half years passed without being dispatched from mission school.
One day pastor Ock Soo Park was rebuking us and asking why we cannot change our hearts. Suddenly he looked at me and asked, “Do you like Africa?” I had never thought of going to Africa, but Pastor Park explained how he had discussed with other pastors to send me to Kenya.
So I was to leave the following day, but there was a change of plan. Two days later I left for Africa. Suddenly, I had this mind, “I should work diligently, pour all my heart and work hard in Kenya.”
Upon arrival, I worked diligently day and night. Two years past and things changed. I was now growing tired and I felt exhausted. Later, I really wanted to express my heart to Pastor Park, that was tired and grieved. Working in Kenya had become a great burden to me. The events that followed made my heart even more exhausted. I was involved in a car accident and at the same time, my first born son was placed in an incubator because he was born two months earlier than expected. I was exhausted.
Later when Pastor Park visited Kenya, I was the first to testify about the difficult conditions of my heart. As I was testifying, pastor cut short my testimony and rebuked me. “You are despising the word of God,” said Pastor Park.
I expected to be comforted by him, but he was rebuking me instead. I could not understand why he was rebuking me yet I left my country and came to Kenya pouring all my heart in the work of the Gospel.
One day pastor called me and asked me, “What is arrogance?” He then went ahead and explained. “Arrogance is not accepting the word of God as it is,” said pastor. I spent the next two years receiving constant rebukes from Pastor Park. It is then that I came to realize that all this time I lived with my own heart, working diligently by my own efforts, thinking that this is living for the gospel. However, all this was against the word of God.
Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
When God saw in Gen 6:5, everything about me was only evil continually, but I thought that if I pour all my heart and work diligently this is good for the gospel.
As you live your spiritual life, if you feel tired, it means you are the one doing it and not Jesus. If you are the one working, at the end you will only quit. In 1 Samuel 15:3, God says ‘utterly destroy all’ that they have. All your diligence and good heart God is telling you to destroy. Having a good heart that you want to live for the gospel is making you not accept the word of God. There is only one thing God wants.
I Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
God says obedience is better than sacrifice. God does not expect anything from man; what he wants from us is to obey the voice of the Lord.
WHAT IS ARROGANCE?
Arrogance is, not obeying the voice of God. People are often diligent in following what they know and see is good, but not recognizing that this is actually going against the word of God.
1 Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
Saul and the people spared the good and destroyed what seemed bad in their eyes. Similarly, we throw away what seems bad in our eyes but keep what’s good in our own eyes. I lived like this thinking that pouring all my heart for the gospel is good, that’s why I couldn’t destroy this heart. But God says all that is of Amalekite (me) should be destroyed whether it looks good or bad. It is that which seem good in Saul’s’ eyes that made him go against God.
1 Samuel 15:19 – 20 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
Irrespective of what the word said, Saul still insisted that he did well before God. However, the servant of God Samuel saw it differently. Saul said “I have done what the Lord sent me to do and kept a few good things to sacrifice unto the Lord,” but this was not what God had commanded. Saul could not realize that he was standing on the opposite side of God.
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT?
We don’t need to live a diligent life working with a good heart, what we should do is to receive the word of God exactly as it is. We should destroy all the bad and good thoughts or hearts that arise in us. In the heart of King Saul, this thought to spare the fattened animals was good because they were meant for sacrifice to God, but this was trusting in himself. He went against the word of God. Everyone what is making us go against the word of God is not the evil thoughts but the good thoughts that we cannot destroy.
Joshua 6:18-19 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
God is saying, all that is of Jericho should not be in the house of the Lord. Jericho also represents the figure of mankind. However, Achan thought that taking just a few good things is alright. We are people who are already accursed; therefore if we take anything that is of ourselves, we shall be destroyed.
Joshua 7: 21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
Achan took what seems good in his eyes. Our own diligence and efforts seem good in our eyes and we eventually accept it in our hearts, but all this belong to Jericho and Amalekites.
God is saying to us that our efforts, diligence, and the good heart cannot be used. They need to be destroyed. Everything that belongs to Jericho and Amalekite should be destroyed. Everything that is from us should be destroyed.
We should live our spiritual life only receiving from God.