Samuel told Saul to attack the Amalekites and utterly destroy them and their possessions. Saul went with 200,000 troops and did battle, but spared King Agag and took booty of the best animals and items of the Amalekites. The Lord spoke to Samuel and expressed his regret at making Saul king. Samuel grieved over the word and cried out to the Lord all night. The next morning, it was told that Saul set up a monument to himself in Carmel. When Saul met Samuel, he claimed to have performed the commandment of the Lord. Samuel asked, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Saul said that they saved them to offer them to the Lord. Samuel told him that God has spoken to him during the night, and that he was displeased with the disobedience of Saul. When they took the plunder, they did not utterly destroy the Amalekites. Then, he spoke the famous words,
15:22 So Samuel said:
“Has 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 heed than the fat of rams.
23 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.”
Saul asked Samuel to forgive him, but Samuel said he would not and turned to leave. As he did , Saul seized the edge of his robe, and tore it. Samuel told him that the Lord had torn the kingdom of Israel from him and given it to a neighbor of his, who was better than him. He then agreed to go back with Saul, but requested that Agag be brought to him. When he did, Samuel hacked him to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal, to fulfill the command of God. Samuel then parted company with Saul and never saw him again, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
It is important to sweat the small stuff. We often hit the high spots, and try to do an acceptable job at whatever we do. However, good enough is not good enough. Saul killed all but…. Almost all is not all. When God gives specific instructions, we should not question or deviate, but rather fulfill His instructions to the letter, to the very best of our ability. Saul stopped short and made a command decision that, unfortunately, typified his tenure as king, and cost him the throne. Don’t take God’s instructions and change them to make them fit your agenda. God knows best!