Saul Sins By Trying to Help God

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In today’s Bible reading*, Saul commits a serious sin as he attempts to help God. A few days ago we looked at the people’s demand for a king. Yesterday, we saw that God chose Saul.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with what Saul did. He simply made a sacrifice. But Samuel had told Saul to wait for him to arrive and make the sacrifice. When Samuel didn’t arrive by the appointed time, (1 Samuel 13:8) Saul explains, he “forced himself” to make the sacrifice. (1 Samuel 13:12)

In his explanation, Saul throws Samuel under the bus and claims that he made the sacrifice against his will in order to perform God’s will. He claims that it was Samuel’s fault that he had to make the sacrifice.

Bad choice!

Because of Saul’s bad choice, Samuel tells him that God has limited his reign as king.

Later in today’s Bible reading we see another instance of disobedience. Samuel tells Saul to completely annihilate the Amalikites. Samuel’s instructions were specific and simple: Saul’s army was to kill every man, woman, child, and animal. (1 Samuel 15:3) However, Saul throws his troops under the bus, saying that they saved the best of the animals for sacrifices. And yet when Samuel asks about the noisy animals, Saul claims he fulfilled Samuel’s instructions, and only saved the best animals for the sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:15, 21)

Another bad choice!

Samuel tells Saul that obedience is much more important to God than making sacrifices. (1 Samuel 15:22)


We run into major problems when we try to help God. Saul thought he was doing a good thing by making a sacrifice. And Saul thought he was doing a good thing when he saved the best animals for a sacrifice.

But we don’t need to help God. God doesn’t want or need our help. He wants our hearts. He wants our obedience from hearts that are sold out to Him.

Keith Green wrote a song back in 1979 called, “To Obey is Better than Sacrifice”. The first time I heard the song, I was deeply convicted of its truth. I had recently begun to take seriously my walk with God and was beginning to make conscious choices to grow in my faith. I include the song below for your consideration.

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* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
1 Samuel 13
1 Samuel 14
1 Samuel 15
1 Samuel 16

This devotional was originally published on April 5, 2021.

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