Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:24)
But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the Word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” (1 Samuel 15:26)
In the New Testament, we are kings and priests of God, when we are in Christ. And a few of us at times are set apart to be leaders of God’s people. This is a high privilege.
Saul was chosen by God to be king over Israel. He was anointed by the prophet Samuel. And yet, there came a time in Saul’s life when he was far more concerned about being honored by people than he was with pleasing God.
In those days God spoke to kings primarily through prophets. Although he does speak through prophets today, it is to the Scriptures we need to look if we want to understand reliably what the Word of the Lord is to us today.
Are You Still Reading the Bible?
Once we know the Bible really well, or think we do, there is a danger that we might spend less time reading it. This will weaken our spiritual life. We still need to read the Bible if we want a close relationship with the Lord. God will often speak to our situation out of the pages of the Bible.
There are still a lot of things most of us don’t understand at the heart level. Many of us don’t have much understanding of the love of God. Or we might not perceive the holiness of God. But reading the Bible with a humble heart can help us to really understand the character of God. Reading the Bible will speak to us and also prepare our hearts to receive the instruction of the Spirit of God to us personally.
God Can Remove Us from Public Ministry
Many people are removed from public ministry by God. Sometimes God uses the sin of other Christians to make this happen, it seems. Other factors and trials can come into play.
Whether we are in public ministry or not, God wants us to love Him for who He is, not merely for how He can empower us to make a difference in this world. Saul was empowered as king, but he had started to despise God’s instructions. The first time in 1 Samuel 13 he did it by being impatient and not waiting for Samuel to make the sacrifice. The second time, in 1 Samuel 15, he did it by compromising on fully obeying the instructions of the Lord. He thought he could do something better for God than what God had said to do.
Samuel the prophet interpreted this as “rejecting the Word of the Lord”. For this reason, Saul was told the ministry of being king was being taken away from him. It took some years before Saul fully lost his position as king. He fully lost it on the day he died in battle, and sadly, I believe Saul went to hell.
So an anointed, God appointed leader can still go to hell.
Don’t reject the Word of the Lord.
Today, we have many false teachers in influential positions telling us that sin is not really that big a deal. But sin IS a big deal. No amount of successful ministry can outweigh sin in God’s eyes. Only the blood of Christ, if applied, can wash away our sins.
The blood is applied by faith, and by coming into the light. (1 John 1:7)
Even after Saul was confronted by Samuel, he still seemed primarily concerned with how the people would view him.
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” (1 Samuel 15:24,25)
It is interesting that just before the prophet Samuel confronted Saul, Samuel was told that Saul was making a monument for himself (vs12). The pride involved in building moments unto oneself is very serious and it can be a precursor to being removed from ministry by God.
Saul was clearly wanting to be honored in the sight of the people.
But Saul had rejected the Word of the Lord, and so God rejected him.
What is it that sets us apart from the people of the world who do not know Christ? It must be this: that we do not reject the word of the Lord. If we reject the word of the Lord, then how are we different from Christ rejectors? Jesus and His Word are really One in so many ways.
So I would encourage you: open your Bible. Read it. Let God speak to you. Do what it says. Learn to love. Do what the Lord shows you. And all the more do this if God should exalt you into a position of leadership within His visible body.