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Day 109 – A Heart of Obedience


Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about Saul’s continued weakness about his preoccupation with how others view him. While we should care to a certain point about what others may think of us, we cannot allow it to be our primary motive. The Lord tells Saul to have Israel destroy all the flocks and herds of the Amalekites but the people refuse. They decide to destroy only what they do not want and keep all the good things and give God some things. The Lord requires obedience to his voice more than burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Obedience to the will of God in the heart of holiness. The spirit of God leaves Saul and this leads to disaster. When Samuel goes to Jessie, he sees that Jesse’s oldest son is tall and handsome and looks like Saul. God sees his heart and rejects him.

This is a good reminder that God doesn’t care about outward appearance but rather what’s in our hearts.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

1 Samuel 15

1 Samuel said to Saul, ‘I am the man whom Yahweh sent to anoint you as king of his people Israel, so now listen to the words of Yahweh.

2 This is what Yahweh Sabaoth says, “I intend to punish what Amalek did to Israel — laying a trap for him on the way as he was coming up from Egypt.

3 Now, go and crush Amalek; put him under the curse of destruction with all that he possesses. Do not spare him, but kill man and woman, babe and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” ‘

4 Saul summoned the people and reviewed them at Telaim: two hundred thousand foot soldiers (and ten thousand men of Judah).

5 Saul advanced on the town of Amalek and lay in ambush in the river bed.

6 Saul said to the Kenites, ‘Go away, leave your homes among the Amalekites, in case I destroy you with them — you acted with faithful love towards all the Israelites when they were coming up from Egypt.’ So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

7 Saul then crushed the Amalekites, beginning at Havilah in the direction of Shur, which is to the east of Egypt.

8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive and, executing the curse of destruction, put all the people to the sword.

9 But Saul and the army spared Agag with the best of the sheep and cattle, the fatlings and lambs and all that was good. They did not want to consign these to the curse of destruction; they consigned only what was poor and worthless.

10 The word of Yahweh came to Samuel,

11 ‘I regret having made Saul king, since he has broken his allegiance to me and not carried out my orders.’ Samuel was appalled and cried to Yahweh all night long.

12 In the morning, Samuel set off to find Saul. Samuel was told, ‘Saul has been to Carmel, to raise himself a monument there, but now has turned about, moved on and gone down to Gilgal.’

13 When Samuel reached Saul, Saul said, ‘May you be blessed by Yahweh! I have carried out Yahweh’s orders.’

14 Samuel replied, ‘Then what is this bleating of sheep in my ears and the lowing of cattle that I hear?’

15 Saul said, ‘They have been brought from Amalek, the people having spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice them to Yahweh, your God; the rest we have consigned to the curse of destruction.’

16 Samuel then said to Saul, ‘Stop! Let me tell you what Yahweh said to me last night.’ He said, ‘Go on.’

17 Samuel said, ‘Small as you may be in your own eyes, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? Yahweh has anointed you as king of Israel.

18 When Yahweh sent you on a mission he said to you, “Go and put those sinners, the Amalekites, under the curse of destruction and make war on them until they are exterminated.”

19 Why then did you not obey Yahweh’s voice? Why did you fall on the booty and do what is wrong in Yahweh’s eyes?’

20 Saul replied to Samuel, ‘But I did obey Yahweh’s voice. I went on the mission which Yahweh gave me; I brought back Agag king of the Amalekites; I put Amalek under the curse of destruction;

21 and from the booty the people have taken the best sheep and cattle of what was under the curse of destruction only to sacrifice them to Yahweh your God in Gilgal.’

22 To which, Samuel said: Is Yahweh pleased by burnt offerings and sacrifices or by obedience to Yahweh’s voice? Truly, obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness than the fat of rams.

23 Rebellion is a sin of sorcery, presumption a crime of idolatry! ‘Since you have rejected Yahweh’s word, he has rejected you as king.’

24 Saul then said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned, having broken Yahweh’s order and your instructions because I was afraid of the people and yielded to their demands.

25 Now, please forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I can worship Yahweh.’

26 Samuel said to Saul, ‘I will not come back with you, since you have rejected Yahweh’s word and Yahweh has rejected you as king of Israel.’

27 As Samuel turned away to leave, Saul caught at the hem of his cloak and it tore,

28 and Samuel said to him, ‘Today Yahweh has torn the kingdom of Israel from you and given it to a neighbour of yours who is better than you.’

29 (The Glory of Israel, however, does not lie or go back on his word, not being human and liable to go back on his word.)

30 ‘I have sinned,’ Saul said, ‘but please still show me respect in front of my people’s elders and in front of Israel, and come back with me, so that I can worship Yahweh your God.’

31 Samuel followed Saul back and Saul worshipped Yahweh.

32 Samuel then said, ‘Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites!’ Agag came towards him unsteadily saying, ‘Truly death is bitter!’

33 Samuel said: As your sword has left women childless, so will your mother be left childless among women! Samuel then butchered Agag before Yahweh at Gilgal.

34 Samuel left for Ramah, and Saul went up home to Gibeah of Saul.

35 Samuel did not see Saul again till his dying day. Samuel indeed mourned over Saul, but Yahweh regretted having made Saul king of Israel.

1 Samuel 16

1 Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘How much longer do you mean to go on mourning over Saul, now that I myself have rejected him as ruler of Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have found myself a king from among his sons.’

2 Samuel replied, ‘How can I go? When Saul hears of it he will kill me.’ Yahweh then said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, “I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh.”

3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I shall reveal to you what you must do; and you will anoint for me the one I indicate to you.’

4 Samuel did what Yahweh ordered and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town came trembling to meet him and asked, ‘Seer, is your coming favourable for us,’

5 ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ He purified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they arrived, he looked at Eliab and thought, ‘This must be Yahweh’s anointed now before him,’

7 but Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.’

8 Jesse then called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel, who said, ‘Yahweh has not chosen this one either.’

9 Jesse then presented Shammah, but Samuel said, ‘Yahweh has not chosen this one either.’

10 Jesse thus presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Yahweh has not chosen these.’

11 He then asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ Jesse replied, ‘There is still one left, the youngest; he is looking after the sheep.’ Samuel then said to Jesse, ‘Send for him, for we shall not sit down to eat until he arrives.’

12 Jesse had him sent for; he had ruddy cheeks, with fine eyes and an attractive appearance. Yahweh said, ‘Get up and anoint him: he is the one!’

13 At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him, surrounded by his brothers; and the spirit of Yahweh seized on David from that day onwards. Samuel, for his part, set off and went to Ramah.

14 Now the spirit of Yahweh had withdrawn from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh afflicted him with terrors.

15 Saul’s servants said to him, ‘An evil spirit from God is undoubtedly the cause of your terrors.

16 Let our lord give the order, and your servants who wait on you will look for a skilled harpist; when the evil spirit from God comes over you, he will play and it will do you good.’

17 Saul said to his attendants, ‘Find me, please, a man who plays well, and bring him to me.’

18 One of the servants then spoke up and said, ‘I have seen one of the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite: he is a skilled player, a brave man and a fighter, well spoken, good-looking and Yahweh is with him.’

19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse with the order, ‘Send me your son David (who is with the sheep).’

20 Jesse took five loaves, a skin of wine and a kid, and sent them to Saul by his son David.

21 David went to Saul and entered his service; Saul became very fond of him and David became his armour-bearer.

22 Saul then sent a message to Jesse, ‘Let David stay in my service, since he has won my favour.’

23 And whenever the spirit from God came over Saul, David would take a harp and play; Saul would then be soothed; it would do him good, and the evil spirit would leave him.

Psalm 61

1 [For the choirmaster For strings Of David] God, hear my cry, listen to my prayer.

2 From the end of the earth I call to you with fainting heart. Lead me to the high rock that stands far out of my reach.

3 For you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

4 Let me stay in your tent for ever, taking refuge in the shelter of your wings!

5 For you, God, accept my vows, you grant me the heritage of those who fear your name.

6 Let the king live on and on, let his years continue age after age.

7 May his throne be always in God’s presence, your faithful love and constancy watch over him.

8 Then I shall always sing to your name, day after day fulfilling my vows.


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