While we are right to judge that those who reject God’s word are not Christians, what about us? Are we guilty of dismissing the relevance of any portion of Scripture? Have we heard the Holy Spirit speaking to us in the Bible but have chosen not to obey? Are we persistently disobeying the commandments and precepts of God? Do we shy away from speaking for the Lord whenever He is ridiculed? James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” What is sin but the rejection of the Lord!
“And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly” (1 Samuel 11:6). Saul responded to the evil plans of the Ammonites with righteous anger. This, along with other events in his life, proves that at one time he was a child of God. Sadly Israel’s first king went on to reject God’s word and found that the Lord had rejected him for doing so.
Rejecting the Lord
God had given a command to utterly destroy another of Israel’s enemies, and the charge included the requirement to fully obey the word. “Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Samuel 15:1-3). Saul decided to water down the word of God by making it relevant to his personal situation. “And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 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 every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly” (1 Samuel 15:7-9). Maybe he thought that partial obedience to the word would please God. How many believers today think exactly the same thing, but they ignore the fact that the same judgement that came on Saul must follow.
“Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night” (1 Samuel 15:10-11). Saul was delighted with himself and thought that the prophet was coming to congratulate him for the victory, but instead of commendation he received condemnation. “And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed” (1 Samuel 15:13-15). Whatever blessing the king thought he was going to receive quickly faded from his mind when Samuel told him that his supposed good deeds were in fact evil. “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?” (1 Samuel 15:19). Saul, like so many Christians today, could not understand God’s reasoning, for he considered himself a true and obedient servant 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” (1 Samuel 15:20). He conveniently ignored the fact that he had disobeyed the other half of the command.
Rejected by the Lord
Saul was guilty of rejecting God’s word, so now the Lord would reject him. “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. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Though Saul realised the error of his ways when presented with his wickedness, he had to suffer the consequences of his rebellion against God. This, apart from anything else, shows that we cannot play fast and loose with Scripture. His little bit of fame and glory were over. God rejected him and the throne would be given to another. “And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou” (1 Samuel 15:28). This punishment would haunt him for the rest of his life.
Those who reject anything that God says must receive the same judgement upon them. The world thinks itself wise for its rejection of Christ, but one day they will see the horrors of their sinfulness. “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:42-44).
What about us? Do our actions prove that we are rejecting God’s word and His will for us? It is easy to believe that we can get away with obeying part of God’s word and still think that He will receive and bless us. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6). Are we forgetting what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23? “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Is this any different with what happened with King Saul? If we reject the word of God in any way, then we are unfaithful and the Kingdom does not belong to us. It is not clever to reject the truth! It is said that the hardest prayer to pray is “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10, 26:42).
The truth is that God’s word is rejected by the world, the church is rejecting it, and individual believers refuse to obey all that it requires. Only the fool would continue to believe that he or she is still accepted by God while persistently rebelling against Him. We need to repent of this evil notion and return to full obedience before the Kingdom is removed from us. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5).