“Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.’ “
I Samuel 15:24
What do you fear?
My Bible study partners and I have been reading in I Samuel 15 about a king who feared displeasing his people more than his God. When given detailed instructions to wipe out a nation, King Saul went halfway. He destroyed “everything that was despised and weak” but preserved the best for himself and his kingdom. He did not fully obey God.
Led by author and teacher Jennie Allen, we’ve taken an honest look at the ways our obedience might look like King Saul’s — kind of “half-baked”.
So, what DO we fear? Most of us can give the “right” answers — we fear God’s disapproval, His disappointment. And, if we’re honest, we fear His wrath because we know God hates sin.
But don’t we also fear our co-worker’s disapproval, our best friend’s disappointment, a loved one’s wrath? And aren’t we sometimes offering God “half-baked” obedience if it means we can keep everyone happy.
King David was “a man after God’s own heart”. He was also a liar, a murderer and an adulterer. David sinned, big time. But he acknowledged his sin and repented, and he obeyed. He feared God more than man and he loved God with all his heart.
Obedience is not confining, it brings freedom. David knew that. Saul did not.
Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Obedience is possible when we humble ourselves to receive wisdom and instruction and respond with healthy fear toward the One who delivers knowledge.
Giver of all that is good, I pray that I’ll learn to love the freedom of obedience and that my fear of man will be replaced by faith and trust in the goodness of your commands. Selah