1 Samuel 15

* Saul sent to destroy Amalek. (1-9) Saul excuses and commends

himself. (10-23) Saul's imperfect humiliation. (24-31) Agag put

to death, Samuel and Saul part. (32-35)

1-9 The sentence of condemnation against the Amalekites had

gone forth long before, #Ex 17:14; De 25:19|, but they had been

spared till they filled up the measure of their sins. We are

sure that the righteous Lord does no injustice to any. The

remembering the kindness of the ancestors of the Kenites, in

favour to them, at the time God was punishing the injuries done

by the ancestors of the Amalekites, tended to clear the

righteousness of God in this dispensation. It is dangerous to be

found in the company of God's enemies, and it is our duty and

interest to come out from among them, lest we share in their

sins and plagues, #Re 18:4|. As the commandment had been

express, and a test of Saul's obedience, his conduct evidently

was the effect of a proud, rebellious spirit. He destroyed only

the refuse, that was good for little. That which was now

destroyed was sacrificed to the justice of God.
10-23 Repentance in God is not a change of mind, as it is in

us, but a change of method. The change was in Saul; "He is

turned back from following me." Hereby he made God his enemy.

Samuel spent a whole night in pleading for Saul. The rejection

of sinners is the grief of believers: God delights not in their

death, nor should we. Saul boasts to Samuel of his obedience.

Thus sinners think, by justifying themselves, to escape being

judged of the Lord. The noise the cattle made, like the rust of

the silver, #Jas 5:3|, witnessed against him. Many boast of

obedience to the command of God; but what means then their

indulgence of the flesh, their love of the world, their angry

and unkind spirit, and their neglect of holy duties, which

witness against them? See of what evil covetousness is the root;

and see what is the sinfulness of sin, and notice that in it

which above any thing else makes it evil in the sight of the

Lord; it is disobedience: "Thou didst not obey the voice of the

Lord." Carnal, deceitful hearts, like Saul, think to excuse

themselves from God's commandments by what pleases themselves.

It is hard to convince the children of disobedience. But humble,

sincere, and conscientious obedience to the will of God, is more

pleasing and acceptable to him than all burnt-offering and

sacrifices. God is more glorified and self more denied, by

obedience than by sacrifice. It is much easier to bring a

bullock or lamb to be burned upon the altar, than to bring every

high thought into obedience to God, and to make our will subject

to his will. Those are unfit and unworthy to rule over men, who

are not willing that God should rule over them.
24-31 There were several signs of hypocrisy in Saul's

repentance. 1. He besought Samuel only, and seemed most anxious

to stand right in his opinion, and to gain his favour. 2. He

excuses his fault, even when confessing it; that is never the

way of a true penitent. 3. All his care was to save his credit,

and preserve his interest in the people. Men are fickle and

alter their minds, feeble and cannot effect their purposes;

something happens they could not foresee, by which their

measures are broken; but with God it is not so. The Strength of

Israel will not lie.
32-35 Many think the bitterness of death is past when it is not

gone by; they put that evil day far from them, which is very

near. Samuel calls Agag to account for his own sins. He followed

the example of his ancestors' cruelty, justly therefore is all

the righteous blood shed by Amalek required. Saul seems

unconcerned at the token of God's displeasure which he lay

under, yet Samuel mourns day and night for him. Jerusalem was

carnally secure while Christ wept over it. Do we desire to do

the whole will of God? Turn to him, not in form and appearance,

but with sincerity.

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