Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 15-16
“And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Having already been told that the kingdom will not continue through him, Saul further alienates himself from God in his sin with the Amalekites. What I find particularly tragic in the fact that Saul was specifically called by God as His personal instrument of punishment against the Amalekites (15:1-3). One would think that specific orders via Divine call would incite a man to obey to the Nth degree. Not so with Saul. Worse still, the first words from Saul’s mouth upon his return was the claim, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord” (15:13). In condemning Saul, Samuel utters some great words that still serve us today: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifice as in obeying His voice? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” In the same manner of his transgression in chapter 13, Saul’s good intentions are not a substitute for unauthorized activity. Most would do well to consider whether what they call worship is in harmony with God’s word than in making them feel good. We are not at liberty to do as we please and afterward attach God’s name to it.
New Testament reading: Mark 5-6
Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” So pleaded Peter after His miraculous encounter with Jesus in Luke 5:8. After healing the demon possessed man known as Legion, those who witnessed the swine rushing off the cliff into the sea and seeing the man “clothed and in his right mind” pleaded with Jesus to depart from their region. This probably wasn’t the response for which Jesus was looking. Commentators are divided between two primary interpretations of this reaction. Some believe the residents were put off by their financial losses and feared more of the same. Others equate their response to that of Peter as the situations were similar. Regardless, I wonder — If Jesus manifested himself to us in the same way as he did to them, would we embrace him or encourage him to leave? Some do not embrace Jesus today because they do not understand Him, others because of the required sacrifice. Perhaps more lost souls would understand if they could see the real Jesus living in His professed disciples.