“When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the LORD bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the LORD’s command!”
“Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.
“It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the LORD your God. We have destroyed everything else.”
Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Listen to what the LORD told me last night!”
“What did he tell you?” Saul asked.” I Samuel 15: 13-16 NLT
When Saul greeted Samuel he was quick to say he had carried out God’s instructions. Samuel replied, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Saul was so proud of his accomplishments that he set up a monument for himself. He could openly - and in his own mind, honestly - say “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”
At the same time, the evidence of his disobedience could be heard, even as he spoke! The livestock that God clearly commanded to be killed could be heard, seen, and even smelt as Saul said, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”
Pride and disobedience make us blind - or deaf - to our sin. What was completely obvious to Samuel was invisible to Saul. We all have blind spots of sin in our lives, and we should constantly ask God to show them to us. We need to sincerely pray the prayer of Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
One time I heard one man say to another, “If you only knew how obvious it was to everyone else that you are in the flesh and how much they know about your sins, you would be terribly embarrassed.” That could be said of almost any Christian at some time or another. We need to seek and ask God to reveal our blind spots to us!
Saul’s excuses are revealing. First, he blames the people, not himself. Second, he includes himself in the obedience. Third, he justifies what he has kept because of its fine quality (the best of the sheep and the oxen). Fourth, he claims he did it for a spiritual reason (to sacrifice to the Lord your God).
Of course, while all this made perfect sense to Saul (in his proud self-deception), it meant nothing to God and Samuel. In fact, it was worse than nothing - it showed that Saul was desperately trying to excuse his sin by justifying, blaming others and deception.
But even in his excuses, Saul reveals the real problem: he has a poor relationship with God. Notice how he speaks of God to Samuel: “…to sacrifice to the Lord your God.” The Lord was not Saul’s God. Saul was Saul’s God. In his pride, Saul has removed God from the throne of his heart.
Instead of admitting that he was disobedient, Saul tried to say it wasn't him, but it was the people. Who was in charge? Saul. Who did God give the instructions to? Saul. Who do you think told the people what to kill and what to keep? Saul.
But Saul was trying to be sneaky. Not only did he not admit that he was disobedient, but then he tried to make it seem as though he did it for the Lord. He said, "The people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord." Saul is, basically, saying, "But, God, we did it for you." Saul is fooling himself into believing that he was disobedient to please God. How ludicrous is that!!
Samuel is showing Saul that what he did was evil in the sight of the Lord. Samuel is giving Saul another chance to admit his sin and ask the Lord for forgiveness.
Again, Saul is still insisting that he did not do anything wrong. Even in the face of God's exact instructions, Saul is saying, "Yeah, I brought back alive the main person you hated the most, King Agag, but it was for a good reason. And, really, my soldiers are the ones who messed up by keeping all of the Amalekites' stuff. But, hey, they did it for a good reason, too."
Saul is disobedient, unrepentant, and just making it worse and worse for himself.
Key point here: Is there a "King Agag" or some Amalekite stuff in your life?
What are those sinful habits and things that God wants you to utterly destroy, but you keep holding on to them?
Do you keep making excuses and reasons for not letting them go?
Are we willingly blind to the fact that these things are killing our relationship with God because we do not want to let them go? Maybe….. we want the best of both worlds and are willing to play Russian roulette with our salvation.