Morning Light – May 15th, 2015
Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Fifteen]: Exposing Amalek. In this chapter Saul is directed by God through the prophet Samuel to destroy the nation of the Amalekites. This is a difficult passage of scripture for modern readers. Saul was told to kill every man, woman and child and spare no one. Because he fails to obey the kingdom is taken from him. On the surface it seems barbaric but when you look deeper into what has happened in history because of Saul’s disobedience things take on a different perspective.
[1Sa 15:1-35 KJV] 1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. 6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah [until] thou comest to Shur, that [is] over against Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 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. 10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 11 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.
In the opening of this chapter God reminds Saul that his rule arises from the fact that God sent Samuel to anoint and appoint him king over Israel. In pointing this out God calls up Saul to go to war against the nation of the Amalekites. Amalek was the very first nation to go to war against Moses in the wilderness (Ex. 17:26). This was the battle when Aaron and Hur held up Moses arms and Joshua discomfited the Amalekites prevailing over them. In the aftermath God says this to Moses:
[Exo 17:14 KJV] 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this [for] a memorial in a book, and rehearse [it] in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
Now Israel had won this battle so what was God so vehement against the Amalekites? If you look in Gen. 36:12 you will find that the patriarch Amalek was Esau’s son. That made the Amalek as a people descendants of Abraham just like the Israelites. When Amalek attacked Israel they were attacking their brothers. There was a generational and visceral hatred of the Jews that can be traced in history from Esau right down to the modern day in those nations that are seen as the traditional descendants of the Amalekites. In Gen. 27:41 Esau hates Jacob and declares that he will murder Jacob after his father Israel dies. In a very real way this strife between brothers was the seed bed of anti-Semitism right down to today as we will show later in this lesson.
If you remember the dysfunctional family situation between Jacob, Rachel, Leah, Esau and Jacob it gives us pause to reflect on how events that took place in one obscure and ancient family have reverberated throughout time to shape history as we know it including today headlines. Esau was Amalek’s grandfather and according to tradition taught his grandson to hate Jacob’s descendants and to plan to destroy them. Saul was supposed to destroy them utterly but we will see he didn’t obey and eventually is killed by an Amalekite. The last Amalekite whose name is recorded in the bible was Haman in the book of Esther who centuries later conspired to destroy the Jewish people in Persia. In light of the potential generational impact of our choices we cannot (as Esau did) allow a root of bitterness to linger in our lives (Heb. 12:15).
12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. 13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed [be] thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. 14 And Samuel said, What [meaneth] then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 15 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. 16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. 17 And Samuel said, When thou [wast] little in thine own sight, [wast] thou not [made] the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? 18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. 19 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? 20 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. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. 22 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. 23 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.
Again Saul shows how tone deaf he is to the world of the Lord. When Samuel prophesies to him he doesn’t listen but he THINKS he does. In verse 20 he says “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord” when in fact he did not. He presumed that he could take the word of the prophet and moderate his response to it and still get the promised result. 1 Thess. 5:7 tells us even today that we are not to despise prophesying. This comes in many forms. Most Christians simply reject the prophetic out of hand. Others agree with the prophetic in principle but would never seek a prophetic word. Others would receive a prophetic word but their response is to put it on the shelf without any consideration that they are actually accountable for what God said. Still others accept the prophetic word but they don’t mix it with faith or go about to fulfill the provisions and conditions of the word. They hold God accountable for HIS part in a prophetic word but never hold THEMSELVES accountable for THEIR PART which is the case here with Saul and as a result the kingdom is taken from him. His disdain for the word of the Lord is considered by God the equivalent of witchcraft and idolatry.
24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. 26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. 27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. 28 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. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he [is] not a man, that he should repent. 30 Then he said, I have sinned: [yet] honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God. 31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD. 32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. 33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. 34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
When Saul sees that the people make note of Samuel’s anger he asks Samuel to help him save face. He is completely tone deaf to the word of the Lord but highly sensitive to what people think. This is true today among leaders who reject the prophetic. They are concerned about being held responsible by the people for unexpected consequences of the prophetic. They are more highly influenced by the people than they are God Himself. This is a Saul spirit in leadership. As a result Saul will no longer be king in Israel.
Samuel rises up and finishes the job that Saul refused to finish. He executes Agag. However the damage is now done. There are Amalekites who escape the battle. In just a few years Saul is mortally wounded in battle and is happened upon by an Amalekite. He actually begs the Amalekite to take his life. What a horrible outcome for Saul. It doesn’t stop there. Haman in the book of Esther conspires to wipe out the people of God in Persia. He is a direct descendant of King Agag of the Amalekites. That is not the end of the matter. Centuries later Kaiser Wilhelm, the Emperor of Pre-war Germany professed to Jewish leaders on a visit to Jerusalem in 1898 that he had been taught that the German people were descendants of the Amalekites. That viewpoint is ominous considering that 40 years later Wilhem’s successor Adolf Hitler implements the Final Solution to the Jewish Question and attempts to finish the job that Haman started 3000 years before. This is why God called upon Saul to exterminate the nation of Amalek, because in His foreknowledge he saw the Holocaust and would have spared Israel and the world the horrors of WWII. Because of the disobedience first of Esau and then King Saul the hatred of Amalek reached down through history to deface and mar our own history and take the lives of millions.
In the book of Proverbs Solomon lists seven things that God hates:
Proverbs 6: (16) These six [things] Jehovah hates; yea, seven [are] hateful to his soul; (17) a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that plots evil plans, feet hurrying to run to mischief, (19) a false witness who breathes lies, and he who causes strife among brothers.
In family situations it is so easy to get into strife. The Amalek problem began with a hatred among brothers and mushroomed into a spiritual hurricane of strife and violence that ultimately consumed the world in total warfare. We cannot afford to be in strife and contention. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9 blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. Let us in our family relations and those close to us purpose to be those that make peace and not war.
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