Samuel came to Saul one day and gave him the perfect assignment. He said, God wants to penalize the Amalakites for what they did to Israel when Israel first left Egypt, and this is the penalty: Destroy everything!
This was Saul’s opportunity for greatness. All he had to do was to obey the assignment. God was with him, the plan had already been strategized, and Saul had simply to obey the instructions. But something happend. His ego got in the way.
Saul went into the Amalakite camp (the notorious enemy of the Jews from generation to generation) and destroyed everything. Well…not exactly everything. He kept alive a few of the best things, and he kept alive the King of the Amalakites. Of course, his reason was because he had every intention of sacrificing those things unto the Lord. (huh?)
What happens when we do what is “good” in our own eyes but not what we were told to do? Even if it was great, it was not “good” enough. We fail the assignment when we cease to follow God’s instructions. Do you know that sometimes God will set you up? Yes he will! He will set you up and tell you to fail, tell you to be weak, tell you to drop the ball, and if you do not do what he tells you to do, though you’ve impressed everyone else, you’ve failed your assignment!
Most of us love a good movie. We love a surprise ending. We love when the actor duped us all and right from the beginning he wasn’t whom we thought he was. He held back until the last moment, until everyone thought they had it figured it out and then the masterpiece is revealed. That is what made movies like “Usual Suspects” so profound. The movie was so suspenceful that even the actors themselves weren’t sure what was going on. That is a good script.
But Saul didn’t want to be part of God’s script. He was devising a movie of his own called “The Saul Show”. In fact, when Saul got back from the battle, the first thing he did was to set up a monument of himself. Why? Because there was absolutely no glory in the assignment he was sent on. It was quiet, unpretentious, and quite boring. It was too easy. All he had to do was to kill an enemy with no fanfare. Go quietly, kill everything, and come home.
You see Saul didn’t know how to be a “shock-shooter”. He didn’t know the art of assasination. When you are an assassin, you don’t celebrate your victory. You are recognized by how well you were able to get in and out without anyone ever knowing you were there. It’s a quiet thankless job, not suited for everybody. But it pays well when you work for the Most High God.
Samuel catches Saul at the highlight of his “self” exaltation and Saul says, “Hey guess what, I did one up on you, I kept back what was even better than you said. I saved the best for last!” But Samuel responds, “Hey guess what, God did one up on you and kept back what was even better than you thought…someone else to do your job!”
If I wasn’t a believer I’d whisper “idiot!” in the movie theatre! Saul went so far as to bring the King of the Amalakites back into Israel’s camp! Not only didn’t he follow directions, he brought the cursed thing back into the camp!
The assignment was already perfect. It didn’t need any additional adjustments. Destroying everything was the BEST. If Saul was full of the holy spirit instead of full of himself, he would have recognize that. But he did not.
The heart-ache is that Saul had to pass the test in order to remain. This was his last chance and Samuel had hoped that he would pass. Samuel had hoped that Saul would rise to the occassion and stand in the instruction. He did not. Unbeknownst to Saul, his replacement was waiting backstage. Saul was fired.
I pray that God might intervene on our behalf. That he might rise us up to be Samuels and Davids this month; That we might be the ones who are called to fill in the gap; That we might be the assassins who know how to complete an assignment without fanfare; That we might be the prophets who know how to turn away from whom God has rejected, even though inside we had hoped it would end differently. Even if it tears our garment, Lord, let us complete your assignment.