Fear of God vs. Fear of Man
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 69:5-12 | 1 Samuel 15:1-16:23 | John 8:1-20 | Proverbs 15:8-10
Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 15:1-16:23
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obedience to the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams….Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.” (1 Samuel 15:22, 24 TNIV)
God had given clear instruction to Saul through Samuel: they were to completely destroy the Amalekites (because of their wickedness) making war on them until they were wiped out (15:18). Saul nearly followed the instructions, but he made two exceptions. He did not kill Agag the King and he kept the best of the plunder.
These two areas of disobedience became the source of the Lord’s anger and the consequent dismissal of Saul as King of Israel.
Saul had come up with an alternate plan to appease his troops. He would bring back the plunder and make a sacrifice to God. Samuel reminded Saul that God delights in our obedience more than sacrifices.
When questioned about it, Saul admitted that he had disobeyed out of fear of his men (24). This is a common problem and it keeps many leaders from greatness. When we fear man more than we fear God—when we give in to the whims of the people instead of holding true to what we know God has called us to do—we give in to a spirit of fear and intimidation and God’s will is abandoned for something more to the people’s liking.
Fear of God leads to obedience to his will. Fear of man leads to compromise and loss of leadership. A true leader will follow God’s will even when it is unpopular. He will speak God’s word to a situation even when it’s not what “itching ears” want to hear.
By fearing men more than fearing God, Saul abdicated his role of leadership and disobeyed God. Therefore God rejected him as King of Israel with the intention of replacing him with David—a man after God’s own heart.