Pride and Humility

the perils of pride

In the second book of Samuel is a study of human nature and the consequences of disobedience. The prophet Samuel is sent to Saul to anoint him as the first King of Israel.

15 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.

Saul’s only condition for being King was to obey the words of the Lord.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

God’s instructions to Saul are clear; kill all of the people and the animals.

And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.

And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Did Saul obey God’s instructions? No. Saul chose his way instead of God’s way.

10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,

11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.

A Prophet’s life requires a high level of commitment and is not dependent on comfortable relationships. Samuel cried because of his empathy with the heart of God.

12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.

13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.

Really? Did Saul obey God’s Word? This is a warning to us to not be deceived that we are being obedient when we are not. If we are off then we should welcome correction.

14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?

15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

Saul defended his disobedience by justifying that they the best animals were saved for religious purposes – sacrificing. He was saying I’ll kill them when we offer them to God.

16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.

17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?

18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.

19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?

Notice that God considers disobedience evil. We have leaders that dismiss disobedience as “misspoke”, “don’t recall”, and “plead the 5th”.

20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.

Saul reasserts his obedience by saying he killed all of Amalekites but saved only the King. Killing all but the King is still disobedience. He saved the King because since he was a King and his people were all killed then he would be saved. This is justification for self-preservation. Then he credits the people with saving the best animals for sacrifice.

22 And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.

Obedience is better than religious service. We can serve with all of our heart but if it’s not in accordance to obedience of God’s Word then it’s evil.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Rebellion and stubbornness are manifestations of pride. They are always a result of elevating our thoughts above God’s thoughts. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Witchcraft is the summoning or channeling of devil spirits. Stubbornness is compared to iniquity and idolatry. Iniquity is wickedness and idolatry is worshipping anything above God. We do not see the worship of stone idols as in the Old Testament but we do have idol worship in the forms of Money, music artists, film stars, and in pornography. I have been to concerts that were a corporate worship experience. Parents beware of allowing stubbornness and rebellion to become established in your children.

Therefore rebellion is like actively partnering with God’s enemy and stubbornness is like worshipping God’s enemy. There are consequences for stubbornness and rebellion.

24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

Finally, Saul is honest about the sin. He was afraid of the people and listened to their voice instead of obeying God’s commandment. His pride has dissolved and his humility is on display.

25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.

He apologizes and asks for forgiveness so that he can worship the Lord.

26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.

Samuel declares God’s judgement as a consequence of Saul’s disobedience which results in his loss of Kingship.

27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.

28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.

29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.

31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.

32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.

Agag thought that he was safe.

33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Samuel completed the commandment of the Lord by butchering King Agag. Samuel was a feisty prophet with a commitment to God.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.

35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

The people demanded to have a King like the other nations so God chose Saul. However, God’s true King was David.

Rebellion and stubbornness are manifestations of pride. All corrupt and dysfunctional relationships will be rooted in these attributes. The opposite of pride is humility. The foundation of humility is in Ephesians 6

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Obey means to hear and then do after the first hearing, for this is right.

2 Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Honor means to place a high value on something, therefore to esteem your parents. This is the fifth commandment. Even though we are not under the Law of Moses this commandment is continued in the New Testament.

 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou may live long on the earth.

That it may be well with us. This means physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We will have fewer illnesses, think clearer, and be in harmony with others. Honor and obey are the foundation of all healthy relationships. Every child needs to learn the habits of honor and obeying their parents so that their social and emotional states will be settled. Honor and obedience are manifestations of humility.

Pride or humility is the daily choice in our lives. Choose wisely if you want the rewards of humility or the consequences of pride.

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