Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Hack Job

I Samuel 15: 33 -  And Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women." And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

If you don't think the Bible is a fascinating book you may need to have your pulse checked! Does this passage not make you say Whoa! What led up to this?!" In one word it was disobedience. God gave Saul specific instructions and he disobeyed. God told Saul what He wanted him to do:

I Samuel 15: 3 - Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"

When I first read this I thought this is kind of harsh. Kill everyone, even the women and children, even the animals, what did they do?! What God is telling Saul to do is not politically correct, it is way too harsh, it is mean spirited isn't it? Surely God did not really mean to kill everyone, surely the word all doesn't really mean all surely God left Saul some wiggle room in this command? Saul thought so:

I Samuel 15: 7-9 -  7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.

Saul apparently killed every one of the Amalekites...except for Agag. He killed all of the women, all of the children and all but the best animals, and why not, the sheep did not do anything wrong, they were just hanging out in the fields looking for some grass to eat! He did really well, he did 99.9% of what God asked him to to and surely that was enough...right? 

I Samuel 15: 10, 11 -  10The word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments." And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the LORD all night. 

This is an interesting passage. God regrets His decision! Did He not know this was going to happen? Sure He did and that is a topic for another day. The point is Saul's disobedience cost him his kingship. He did almost everything God commanded, he had really good intentions, he was going to offer the animals as a sacrifice to the Lord! Surely God would be impressed, surely He would 
overlook this slight disobedience.

I Samuel 15: 22  - 22And 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 listen than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king." 

A Hack Job is defined as the completion of a task in the quickest possible time at the expense of quality or attention to detail. I think this sums up the type of job Saul performed. Samuel, on the other hand, understood the importance of obedience. He knew the commands of the Lord needed to be followed to the letter, he knew the importance of obedience. This is why he finished what Saul left unfinished by hacking Agag to death. I wonder what Saul thought as he watched this. Did he wince every time Samuel struck Agag, did he feel sorry for Agag having to suffer like this. Saul could have quickly killed Agag with a sword to heart on the battle field. I know this sounds a bit morbid but I think it is a vivid picture of what disobedience looks like to God. When God commands you to go and make disciples, when God commands you to share the Good News with those around you don't do a hack job finish what He has called us to do.

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