‘For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.’ Hosea 6:6
Samuel said to Saul: ‘Why did you not obey the Lord?’ (:19), and Saul answered: ‘But I did obey the Lord!’ (:20). We see, yet again, that nothing has changed with time. God tells us we are disobedient, but we think we are not that bad, especially when we compare ourselves to others… But God expects us to submit to His word in complete obedience, and that is where human pride resists most fiercely.
God had said that Israel was to bring a divine judgment on Amalek (:3): nobody, not even an animal, was to stay alive. A terrible judgment. We do not want to accept that God - Who, after all, is a God of love – might pass such a judgment. But Amalek had been warned. For over 900 years these nations had had the opportunity to repent. They had seen God’s greatness in what God did with Abraham and with Israel, but they had not repented.
Likewise in our days we might see and hear what God does in and through people who trust Him completely; what He does here and in the mission fields. We love to hear about it, but we are not prepared to pay the price: the same submission and devotion to the Lord. As long as we harden our hearts and criticize God’s word, even reject it as Saul did, God cannot do anything but reject us too.
Therefore, let us stop fooling ourselves by pretending that God should be satisfied if we go to church regularly and sometimes donate money for mission work and foreign aid. God asks more of us, namely, to submit to Him in loving devotion in all our ways.