Lesson 41

Saul Disobeys God

"Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?"
1 Samuel 15:19 (Revised Standard Version)

God gave King Saul special instructions through his prophet Samuel. Saul, however, was always self-willed and did things his own way. The Amalekites were a very wicked people. When they were at war with Israel, God told Saul to slay every one of them and not to take a spoil (goods taken from an enemy in wartime).

Not only did Saul take King Agag captive, but he took the best of the animals, telling Samuel he planned to use them as sacrifices to the LORD. The lesson to be learned from this event is in Samuel’s reply to Saul which is recorded in 1 Samuel 15:22 (Living Bible): "Obedience is far better than sacrifice."

If the slain people had gone into eternal torment (hell fire), it would have been a terrible thing for God to command that they should all be killed. But the Bible does not teach that there is such a horrible place for the "dead." Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection there is a provision made to bring back life to all the families of the earth—the resurrection of mankind! God had given the sentence of death to Adam which then came upon everyone, so it does not matter if they die by famine or war or illness, etc. God will, in the kingdom, restore them all and give them an opportunity to live forever under much better conditions.

The resurrection of all people is a most wonderful truth taught in the Bible (John 5:28, 29 Revised Standard Version). All who do not receive a knowledge of God in this life will have a chance to learn to know him and his marvelous plan in the next age when Messiah is ruling.

In the past, many people were in ignorance because they were not allowed to study God’s word or did not know how to read. During the Dark Ages there were very few Bibles. Those which were in existence were very expensive as they had been hand-copied and took months and years to complete. Since the advent of the printing press we now have many Bibles from which to read and study and learn of God’s plans and purposes for all mankind. As the years passed, many more translations and versions of the Bible were printed. Most people can now afford to have several Bibles in their home libraries, as well as concordances, Bible dictionaries, and other study helps.

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