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  • Kelli Rae Wilson


Rebellion: the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.

Rebellion is something I’m pretty familiar with. I wouldn’t say it was an old habit, but it certainly was a friend. What I learn from reading about King Saul’s rebellion is always energetic to me, especially as my life has turned 180 from that old friend. My life now, not perfect, but completely new... there’s an old saying I love to use.... we dabble so much with something... sometimes we don’t realize the pit we are in. It’s like the frog and cold/hot/boiling water analogy. We have all heard that one as a child. If not, look it up.

Standing in my imperfection still, I can remember that life as a frog. The important part of that analogy to me, isn’t the temperature of the water, it’s the bondage of the pot. There’s no escape when blinded. At the mercy of none, you  can’t even see outside the pot or the pit because it consumed you. The moment you are released, like a blind man who can now see, you think—- I never want to go back there. Saul became blinded by his own power. He thought he was wise in his own eyes.

Rebellion is not always premeditated or malicious. It is simply not obeying. It is doing it your way——>>> EVEN IF you think what you are doing is right. EVEN IF, it brings good to your life or other’s life. What’s disobedient is simply doing it your way. Not The Lord’s way. 

Many times, since in my late 30’s, I have conversations with my husband and I say things like, “I just don’t understand how people don’t just do what’s right”. “If you know it’s a grey area, stop...“. Then with my ungraceful, self-righteous moments, I sink and remember my Saul moments in life. If not for those humbling moments, perhaps I wouldn’t have clear or concise choices to make today. Perhaps, I wouldn’t have a gift of discernment. That discernment is now what I call the spirit in me, which recognizes that which seems really unappealing to the Lord. If not for a humbling, would I be so obedient now? Like a child who gets dealt with and then returns with obedience- sometimes the rebellious Christian heeds best after a humbling and discipline moment too. I’m not saying, rebel. With all rebellion, comes discipline. A father who truly loves- disciplines his children, and it’s painful, sometimes embarrassing. 

King Saul was rejected as being the King. God said, He “regretted” making Saul king, or in the Hebrew word נָחַם (nacham) “repenteth” meaning to be sorry or console oneself. God makes no mistakes and this moment of regret, sorrow, and rejection was all a part of God’s sovereign plan and discipline. The scripture here, in 1 Samuel 15, is one that we could pick apart sentence-by-sentence because God packed so much learning in the passage. I know.. I know, all scripture is packed full. However, my intrigue and love for obedience (now) is awakened by this portion of scripture, and I can learn so much from Saul’s choices. Choices that at the time, seemed really harmless. I feel for Saul because I see myself in him there.

Below is a paraphrase of what happened (•please note: this in my humanistic explanation, please go to the actual passage to read the true version of this as I may fail to add the most important parts biblically).

Samuel, a prophet, told King Saul that he heard from the Lord and needed to go to war with the Amalakites.  The Amalakites were ongoing enemies with the Israelites and they were to be put to death because they waylaid Israel after coming-up out of Egypt. The Amalakites were evil. The instruction from the Lord was to wipe them out, spare nothing or no one. They were to destroy everything. EVERYTHING.

King Saul set the ambush with 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 from Judah. But, Saul took Agag, king of the Amalekites, and kept him alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. Not only did Saul and his army spare Agag but they took the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—they took everything that was good. These “goods” they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

Saul didn’t do what the Lord said. When Samuel approached Saul, Saul said, “I did what the Lord said.” Samuel was disheartened because he had favor for Saul, but not more than his love and favor for God (Yahweh). Samuel told Saul he disobeyed. Saul replied, “I did what the Lord said. I completely destroyed the Amalakites and brought back along Agag. The soldiers brought back the best of the livestock (sheep/cattle) and this will be devoted to God through sacrifice.”

Samuel said, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying the Lord?”

”To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

“For rebellion is like the sin of deviation (witchcraft) and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”

“Because you (Saul) have rejected the word of the Lord, He rejects you as king.”

WOW!!!! I feel most of us have been there and it is so hard and yet comforting to know God thinks of rebellion as evil.. true sorcery type of evil.

Saul admits he has sinned. Saul said, “I was afraid of what my men would do, so I gave into them (his soldiers).”

Can we all relate to Saul? He is afraid of man over being afraid of GOD!!!

Saul begs for forgiveness. He realizes he was once small and needed God and now he is wise in his own eyes. If you read the passage you will see Saul even holds a “monument” in his own honor after he defeats the Amalakites. He is proud of himself. He brings himself glory instead of the Lord.

In the end, Samuel is broken hearted because he goes onto being separated from Saul. He died without seeing Saul. Saul is stripped of being King, and King Agag is killed.

Why would Saul keep their king? He thinks of his own plans and wisdom instead of doing what the Lord says. My mom always told us growing up- “don’t go ahead of the Lord”... ”Let the Lord work it out.”..... Don’t run before the Lord or you can mess things up, like Jacob and Rebecca did with their lie. Perhaps, Saul kept the king alive because he wanted to earn foreign relationships or earn favor, secrets and power with having him under his reign and in prison alive. Perhaps, it was a way to punishing him and maybe Saul enjoyed his own human power or revenge. Perhaps, it was a trophy to bring the king alive. Perhaps, Saul saw himself in king Agag and didn’t want to kill the king as he was a king himself. This passage doesn’t say why Saul did what he did. But, we know Saul disobeyed and it was considered rebellion. Saul thought he was being smart and held his own direction. He was afraid of his soldiers and couldn’t tell them no. How often have we put the fear of man over the fear of God in our own life? How often have we done it “our” way instead of God’s way? Consequences come with rebellion, here: Relationships were destroyed (Saul and Samuel) and a king was rejected.

Please read it for yourself. 1 Samuel 15


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