When Giving Fails

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When Giving Fails

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Key Passage: 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” (verse 22).

Key Thought: The need to obey God is not diminished by our gifts and praise. Supreme love for God is best demonstrated through completely following His will.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 15 (read verses 1-23)

Idea: Generosity and giving are established Christian principles. Paul says, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Giving our time, money and affections to bless others is what we are called to do. But not at all costs! Giving is not an end in itself. There are times when our gifts are unacceptable. The following story illustrates this point.

Story: Saul’s disobedience

Samuel informed Saul that God wanted him, as Israel’s first King, to punish Amalek for their mistreatment of Israel as they passed by their borders on their journey from Egypt. God said, “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them” (verse 3).

Saul destroyed everything and everyone, but kept back the best of the sheep, oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good. In other words, Saul did not completely fulfill God’s command. Saul also refused to kill Agag, Amalek’s king.

When Samuel asked Saul why he hadn’t obeyed, Saul said, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” Then, referring to his soldiers, Saul said, “They have brought them [livestock] from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed” (verse 9).

Saul was selectively obedient. He was comfortable with obeying God, as long as he could do it his way!
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