Chapter 15 explains how the kingdom is torn away from Saul. Saul acted like many throughout history. He sought his own safety and pride while offering a token of sacrifice in order to cover over his disobedience. Samuel corrects him with words that should strike to our very hearts.

Has the LORD as great delight in burn 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.
1 Samuel 15:22

I am a father of four children. I know the truth of these words personally. I love the hug of my child. I love to play with them, and enjoy their joy. But all of this falls flat if the rest of our relationship is built on defiance. Their joy in our relationship hinges first on their obedience.

Saul is clearly not going to be allowed to remain king because he has proven to fear man more than God and has shown a desire to make a name for himself rather than to be a man after the Lord’s own heart.

Offering to the Lord

There is also an excellent lesson here about what it means to give to the Lord, what it means to make sacrifice to Him. A number of years ago I was in a business meeting at a church discussing plans for a future building, when a wealthy man in the congregation stood up and said, “I have given generously to this church for decades. I will not let my money be used to build a building like this.” Earlier that week I had been teaching on 1 Samuel 15 at a local Christian Jr. High. It struck me that this man had not made an offering to the Lord at all. He still held his gift in his hand.

You see, when we make an offering to the Lord it is as though that offering is consumed. As soon as we place an offering in a plate those resources cease to be under our control and become something devoted to the Lord. Saul thought he could devote to the Lord and still hold onto the devoted things for his purposes. In the church, that means the congregation and its leaders work together with the funds and resources devoted to the Lord to obey Him by using them for the purpose of His mission.