1 Samuel 15

Introduction: Last week’s start – 1 Samuel 15

I. Covenant & Consecration

What we have in Saul’s decision to ‘work around’ what was commanded was at its very core a breach of covenant with God.

Suzerian-Vassal: This term harkens back to a time when a king would make a promise to his subjects, or a treaty between kings would be that depended on obedience to specific terms. You can think of this covenant as a conditional promise.

Royal Grant: Unlike the Suzerian-Vassal agreements, a Royal Grant requires no action on the part of the beneficiary. It is an unconditional promise given from one party to another.

  1. Noahic – Genesis 9
  2. Abrahamic – Genesis 12
  3. Mosaic – Exodus 19-24
  4. Davidic – 2 Samuel 7
  5. New Covenant – Jeremiah 31
  • Covenants are critical to Relationship
  • Covenants require Consecration / Devotion / Adherence / Obedience
  • Broken relationship(s) / Covenants do/can affect outcomes & consequences.

Transition: This week I will continue with this text. There are still 3 more areas I’d like to cover regarding this text and this principle we’ve heard so many times, ‘To obey is better than sacrifice’.

I will look at the significance of the sacred vs the secular; I want to discuss the role of rationalization and justification; and then tackle the verse itself by considering obedience or rebellion.

II. Sacred & Secular

Question: “Does the Bible make a distinction between the secular and the sacred?”


We tend to categorize things, and two categories often spoken of are “secular” and “sacred.”

By “sacred” we usually mean “Christian-themed” or “suitable for church use,” and by “secular” we usually mean “worldly” or “not having a Christian theme.”

We speak of “secular” music versus “sacred” music, for example. “Sacred” music has overt Christian themes, and “secular” music is everything else.

Does the Bible distinguish between secular and sacred realms? In a sense, yes. The Bible does speak of those who are “set apart” (“sanctified”) for special use. The very word for “church” in the New Testament, ekklesia, means “a called-out assembly.”

The people who comprise the church are “sacred”; that is, they are called out of the world and set apart for God. They are “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7, ESV). They are salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13–16).

Things Sacred to God in Scripture:

Question: What does it mean for Something to be Sacred


To us, many situations in Scripture involve a punishment that was too severe for the crime. But why do we feel this way?

We don’t understand what it means for something to be “sacred.” We live in a human-centered world among people who see themselves as the highest authority. We are quick to say things like “That isn’t fair!” because we believe we deserve certain rights as humans. Yet we give little thought to the rights God deserves as God. Even in the Church we can act as though God’s actions should revolve around us.

The stories in Scripture are meant to show us that there exists something of greater value than our existence and rights.

There are things that belong to God. Sacred things. His ark of the covenant, His command to Moses, His offerings in the temple, His Holy Spirit, His Holy Communion, His sacred Church. In all the above situations, people rushed into something sacred and paid the price. We shouldn’t be surprised; we should be humbled. We have all done things more irreverent than those mentioned above. Let’s thank God for His mercy and tread more carefully into sacred matters.

Max Lucado


  1. You / Us / Believers
  2. Human Life
    3. Marriage
    4. Sex
    5. The Sabbath
    6. The Tithe
    7. The Name of God


Transition: Back to the Text

  • Rationalization & Justification

Verse 10: ‘I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as King, for he has turned back from following me.

  • Covenant has been broken!
  • God has to act!


  • Saul is stripped of position / influence / future.
  • Saul forfeits Gods blessings!
  • Lives a life of jealousy / anger / resentment.
  • Chases a shadow of what he once was and wanted (David)
  • Ultimately takes his own life (commits suicide) to avoid capture by Philistines.
  • Three of his sons were killed in that very battle.


Question: So, what happened? How did it happen?

Let me address four aspects that take place in the text:

  1. Blame – (blame shifting)

15:15, ‘It’s true,….’ ‘that the army spared the best’

Genesis / Adam, ‘the wife that you gave me Lord told me to…’

  1. Rationalization

to ascribe (one’s acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually areunrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.

  • Rationalization is a mind thing.
  • It’s a ‘I think’ thing.
  • It’s a ‘pride’ thing ( I know better…)

15:12, ‘Someone told him (Samuel), ‘Saul went to the town of Carmel to set up a monument to himself;’.

‘Greeted Samuel cheerfully;’ ‘I have carried out the Lord’s command!’

  1. Justification

15:15, ‘But they (we) are going to sacrifice them to the Lord’

a reason, fact, circumstance, or explanation that justifies or defends:

  1. Judgment

Because you didn’t take the sacred serious…..(Sauls call / appointment / anointing…

And the mission…completely destroy (obey)…

Questions asked that we also need to look at:

‘Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord’?

‘Why did you rush for the plunder’?

‘Why do evil in sight of Lord’?

Conclusion: When we enter into a relationship with Christ, we in great measure enter into a covenant of sorts with Jesus. We are saved by grace 100% but we develop a relationship with/to Him by biblical standards and direction given to us by Jesus himself and by God’s Word.


Next week I will conclude by looking at a few other instances where obedience and unfortunately judgment come into play.



  1. Obedience & Rebellion

Why Did Saul spare King Agag?