WHY Obey the "Little Things"?
Do you remember how God ripped the kingdom away from Saul for not completely annihilating the Amalekites and their king and animals like he was instructed? Saul had a different plan for whatever reasons (personal gain, fear of men, just a better idea) and God was furious with him. The kingdom was torn from him because of it. Did you ever have that passing thought that God was maybe being hard on Saul? Obviously NOT the case, but WHY did God respond as He did?
Here’s another story you might remember... four hundred years prior to Saul... After the Israelites had been brought out of Egypt, they were attacked. Joshua and his men were fighting while Moses was holding up his arms toward heaven (held up by two friends for the duration of the battle). The Israelites eventually prevailed BUT... on that day God made a vow to destroy those who had attacked them—the Amalekites.
The Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Forty years later the following was recorded in Deuteronomy in the middle of talking about justice and fairness... “Remember what the Amalekites did to you... When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and CUT OFF ALL WHO WERE LAGGING BEHIND; THEY HAD NO FEAR OF GOD... when the Lord gives you rest... in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. DO NOT FORGET!” FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS GOD HAD BEEN WAITING TO FULFILL THAT VOW SO THAT JUSTICE COULD BE RENDERED. BUT SAUL TOOK IT UPON HIMSELF TO DO THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY.
Shame on Saul, and shame on us if we do such a thing. We should keep in mind that things that may seem like “minor” disobediences may mean more than we can imagine and be very important to God. We may not be seeing the four hundred year plan that God is seeing. We can interfere with something God had planned four centuries ago by a “small” disobedience today. May we cultivate a life of careful listening and exact obedience.—sr