February 20th

Sinís Deception

1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD . 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' " 4 So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim-two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. 5 Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. 6 Then he said to the Kenites, "Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites. 7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs-everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. 10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 "I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. 12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal." 13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD's instructions." 14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?" 15 Saul answered, "The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest." 

16 "Stop!" Samuel said to Saul. "Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night." "Tell me," Saul replied. 17 Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' 19 Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD ?" 20 "But I did obey the LORD ," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal." 22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD." 26 But Samuel said to him, "I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!" 27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors-to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind." 30 Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God." 31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD. 1 Samuel 15:1-31 NIV  

The main point of this story is that sin deceives the sinner.  Saul sinned greatly against the Lord.  Samuel, Godís prophet and priest, attempted to reason with Saul and help him realize what he had done, but he was unable to break through Saulís hard heart.   

Saulís most noticeable flaw was pride.  He gained stature and success as King of Israel and strove to maintain his popularity with the people.  Saul thought his way was better than Godís way, as he disobeyed God by saving the best animals and the Amalekite King.  He even built a monument to himself for his success in the battle.  Even after Samuel confronted Saul and told him that God had rejected him as king, Saul was more concerned about saving face in front of the people.  

Saulís pride brought him into deception.  He believed that God would be happy with his actions, even though he had disobeyed his instructions.  It took Samuelís repeated attempts to bring Saul to recognition of the reality of his sin, although even then, it seemed like Saul still didnít regard his sin as very serious.  His repentance was at best, half-hearted.  He blamed the people for his actions and did nothing to remedy his disobedience.  It was Samuel who later killed the Amalekite King (33).  Saul was more concerned about saving face than making things right with the Lord.  Saulís example showed how sin can blind us to the truth and harden our hearts toward God (Hebrews 3:13).  

Any sin can lead us into deception.  Habitual sin makes all the more opportunities for deception to take root in us. For example, sex addicts can become so desensitized to porn that they begin to believe the many lies porn promotes (see lies).  They can then easily drift into other forms of sexual sin, including homosexuality, fornication and adultery.   

When God calls our attention to the sin in our life, we need to confess our sin and take decisive action to change our behavior.  For sex addicts, this could be to clean out our house of anything linking us to sex addiction habits. We canít afford to leave any footholds remaining for the devil to exploit.  For more info on walking in purity, see our study Freedom Journey. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

ďHeavenly Father, Thank you for giving me your word as the truth that sets me free from sinís deception. Please forgive me for allowing sin to have a protected place in my life. I take responsibility for my sin and ask for cleansing from it through the blood of Jesus.   Please remove any deception that has come over me as a result of my sin.  Help me to take the necessary actions to secure my repentance and walk in purity.  I desire to worship you in spirit and in truth.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesusí name I pray, Amen.Ē