Saul, the first king of Israel, seemed to always have trouble following the Lord’s direction. In one particular instance, God commanded Saul to destroy the Amalekites. We find this in 1 Samuel chapter 15.
1 Samuel 15:1–3 (NKJV) — 1 Samuel also said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD. 2 Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
Now Saul leads the people off to war and defeats the Amalekites. But, Saul didn’t do exactly what God had commanded. Saul kept king Agag alive and kept some of the livestock alive. This is very indicative of Saul. Even when following the Lord, he always seemed to try to do it his way and not the Lord’s way. God sends Samuel to tell Saul some bad news because of this.
1 Samuel 15:22–23 (NKJV) — 22 So 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 heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
The kingdom was being stripped from Saul because of his persistent disobedience. God says that obeying Him is much more important than sacrifice. Obeying Him is much more important than service. Obeying Him is much more important than giving. In fact, He has harsh words for disobedience. Rebellion is as witchcraft and stubbornness is like idolatry. This ranks simple disobedience up there with the worst of all sinful natures. When you disobey God, you are flat out rejecting the word of the Lord.
Psalm 51:16–17 (NKJV) — 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
God wants us each to have a broken and a contrite heart. This means He wants us to be humble and seek His will in all things. This is how we seek true wisdom. The evidence of true wisdom is obedience.
James 1:5 (NKJV) — 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 3:13–17 (NKJV) — 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Wisdom is given by God without limit and without reproach. God will never be angry with you for asking for wisdom and will give you all the wisdom you need. Saul never seemed to get this. Saul was always trying to act in his own wisdom and never sought the counsel of God. We can tell by the evidence. Saul fell into bitterness and self-seeking. James says this is demonic and earthly.
In fact, many people in the church think they have wisdom. They think God has given them special knowledge or discernment towards people. What I see is that this is usually driven by bitterness and pride. Not only does God expressly forbid this kind of behavior, He tells us through James that this didn’t come from God, it comes from demons. Oh how often do we claim the work of the enemy is the work of God and vice versa.
So what is the evidence of true wisdom? We find it in James 3:17 above.
- Pureness – Truly wise people seek holiness and avoid sin.
- Peacefulness – Truly wise people cause no division, they don’t walk around making accusations and aren’t the “sword” for God.
- Gentleness – Truly wise people do all things in a gentleness of love. They are not harsh.
- Willingness to Yield – Truly wise people are willing to yield to God and to the authority He has set up in the world.
- Mercifulness – Truly wise people are the most merciful. They do not seek retribution or to give out punishment for sin.
- Fruitfulness – Truly wise people bear good fruit. They do not seem to be wise by doing many works, they let God produce the result.
- Without Impartiality – Truly wise people are able to judge righteously and with humility no matter the circumstances.
- Without Hypocrisy – Truly wise people don’t look at the world as if they have no sin. They look at the world through the eyes of a redeemed sinner.
Pray for wisdom and let God transform you.
In His Service, Scott
This Week’s Reading Plan:
- Day 1- 1 Samuel 21-24
- Day 2 – 1 Samuel 25-26
- Day 3 – 1 Samuel 28-31
- Day 4 – 2 Samuel 1-3
- Day 5 – 2 Samuel 4-7
- Day 6 – 2 Samuel 8-12
- Day 7 – 2 Samuel 13-15