每日诗歌: Speak O Lord (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGg40zKRvAg)
1 Samuel 15 [Read]
1 Samuel 16 [Read]
Luke 14:25-35 [Read]
When we get old, our hearing is often the first to leave us. I used to work in noisy environments, so my hearing for the high and low frequencies has noticeably deteriorated. Sometimes it’s hard to hear a soft spoken person in a noisy background. And the worse thing is that when the hearing is gone, it’s gone. As far as I know, it does not recover.
There is another kind of hearing loss, and its consequence can be much more severe. That is the ability of hear God’s commands in our heart. The word “to hear” appeared 8 times in 1 Sam 15, and such repetition clearly brought out the main point of this passage. To hear in Hebrew was not just limited to the audible sense, but it also included the meaning of obeying what you heard. The idea is that if one did not do what he heard, then basically he did not hear it.
Saul was a mighty king for his generation, and God chose him to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. God made a specific command about Amalekites (15:3), but Saul chose not to hear part of it. His excuse sounded reasonable “they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord” (15:15), but in reality they were not willing to destroy them (15:9). He called the LORD “your God” when speaking with Samuel, and that showed part of the problem. God had left him, and he was fine with that.
Samuel was grieved by God’s decision to reject Saul as the king (15:11, 35), and that also reflected God’s own perspective. God does not take pleasure in punishment, and the word “regret” in Hebrew actually says more about emotion than about changing mind. Man’s sin grieved God.
As we read the downfall of Saul, let us also reflect this in our heart. “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (15:22). Do we HEAR that command from God? Or do we selectively hear it? Instead of asking in our mind “how can God regret”, it will serve us better if we ask in our heart “how can we grieve Him who has given us his only son”. By the way, one good thing about spiritual hearing loss is that it can recover as long as we try.
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