As I’ve been finishing up the book of 1 Samuel for my Bible study, I found myself feeling more sorry for King Saul at times than for David. By the time you arrive mid-book (chapter 15), God had very clearly given Saul a set of instructions to be obeyed (he was to destroy all the Amelikites, their animals, and their possessions). As the storyline progresses, you see Saul’s “partial obedience” to God’s very clear commands, blame shifting, and manipulation. Saul is in the middle of rejoicing over Israel’s victory from the Amelikites when the prophet Samuel shows up and the following scene occurs:
When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!” “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.
Most of us are familiar with these famous verses that come next.
“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”
You see, the book of 1 Samuel tells the story of two different characters, Saul and David, and their responses to God’s commands and life circumstances. The point of the book isn’t that David was somehow a more moral person who made better choices than Saul, but rather, when confronted by their sin David consistently chose the road of repentance while Saul did not. David understood his strength was to be found only in the Lord while Saul looked for wisdom in other people and sought to take matters into his own hands.
It had me thinking. Is my life characterized by a series of “partial obediences” to the Word or a full commitment to doing things God’s way?
3 (Ways to Pursue Obedience)
1. Immerse yourself in God’s Word
Do whatever it takes this week to get more of God’s Word in your life. Start that Bible reading plan, make yourself order a Bible study today, reach out to a friend, or send me a message that says “I still don’t know where to begin” and I’d love to help you start!
If God is for Us (Romans 8)
Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simmons (Colossians)
2. Identify the neutral things in your life that distract you.
I’ve learned over the last few years it’s often not the “good” or “bad” things that hindered me from pursuing obedience, it’s the morally neutral things that were distracting my heart. It was the scrolling on instagram, that afternoon tv binge when my kids napped, the hidden stash of cookies in the freezer that I found myself running to rather than God, His promises, or other believers. What are yours?
3. “All the way, right away, with a happy heart.”
I heard this motto from Laura Wiffler (Risen Motherhood) and wrote it down to use with my own kids. But honestly I need it just as much as they do! As God leans in with what seem to be difficult requests of obedience, let us eagerly do them “all the way, right away, with a happy heart!”
2 Things I’m Loving
- I feel like everyone I know is studying James right now or has it on their list this year! I recently stumbled upon the Paul Tripp podcast and realized he’s teaching a whole series on the book of James called “Street Level Christianity.”
- Fish Bytes 4 Kids Podcast. My kids love these short episodes on the Bee-Attitudes and I found out there’s a book! We’ve loved listening to these during lunchtime.