1 Samuel 15:22
“And 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 listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.’”
This is the prophet Samuel’s robust condemnation of King Saul in the light of the King’s rejection of the word of God and his choice to follow popular contemporary opinion.
The verse came to mind during my morning Bible reading as I began a series of passages from Genesis on the life of Abram (Abraham). It struck me that there is a massive contrast between Abraham and Saul in their response to the word of God. The consequences of getting it wrong are huge.
Abram had already left the comfort and security of Ur of the Chaldees and with his family had journeyed about half the length of the Fertile Crescent to the town of Haran. There he received instructions from the Lord together with glorious promises of blessing. Though his wife was barren he was to be a father of a great nation, though he never possessed any territory his successors would inherent a land and be a blessing to the world, and he himself would be great.
Abram believed the promises and acted accordingly. He went as the Lord had told him. In the land of Canaan he both heard the Lord and called on the name of the Lord, and there he built altars to the Lord.
The contrast is dramatic; one man acceded to the will and opinions of the populace and it proved to be disastrous; the other heard the voice of God and obeyed his Word, which led to universal blessings.
What are the priorities that mould your life and your faith? (RS)