‘partial obedience is disobedience’


“The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience.” – Oswald Chambers

In the fifteenth chapter of 1 Samuel, God sent Samuel to King Saul and gave him instructions as to what he was to do concerning the children of Amalek.

“Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” 1 Samuel 15:3

Now I can probably assure you that not one of the readers can understand what God had commissioned Samuel to instruct Saul to do here, myself included. This is a hard saying who can understand it?

I have no trouble reasoning in my own mind, that it would have made  sense to kill the valiant men, the men of war, but the women? the infant and suckling? Not even the ox, the sheep the camel or the ass got a bye. Everything with a beat in its heart and breath in its lung was to die.

We must admit that there are times when the word of God is not palatable to the flesh…. it cuts across the grain of human intellect. One can only surmise that…

“His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways”.


I have found in my witness that when an individual stumbles at the word of God, the only out, is to reason in their mind that God must not be real and if He is, His word is not to be taken literally. It seems to be the way we justify not “hearkening to the voice of the Lord.”

Case in point is Satan. When an individual discounts the validity of God’s word they look for any way out and often use this excuse….

“If God is good why would He create evil…. Satan?”

One might do well to consider… “The Lord hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Proverbs 16:4

If you are considering the word of the Lord today my friend, you might well take heed to the exhortation of Oswald Chambers….

“Beware of reasoning about God’s Word – obey It.”

So what did Saul do with the word of God?

He gathered a formidable army and smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur. He destroyed all the people with the edge of sword but took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and the people took of the best of the sheep and of the oxen, and of the fatlings and the lambs.

Now I think we can all agree that no one in his/her right mind would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord, without the fear of severe repercussion; just ask Jonah! So what could have possibly happened?

Pride must have reared its ugly head in the heart of King Saul for Samuel said to him… “when thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou made the head of the tribes of Israel”.

God knew what a fleshly king would do for the people when they would say “set a king over us like as all the nations that are about us”. That is why God instructed the king to do the following…..

“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites.

And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes,

That his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:18-20

It appears King Saul had gotten to big for his britches, so to speak. Pride keeps us from being obedient to the word of God, and we must remember, it goeth before the fall. King Saul fell and fell hard.

It applies to leaders at any level, whether they be in the secular or the spiritual realm. A leader must guard against the same spirit of pride. It will destroy and individual, a people and a nation.

Now the people who took of the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings and the lambs had some culpability here. Consider what Samuel told the people after the Lord had set Saul over Israel…

“Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you. If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.” 1 Samuel 12:13-15

It was in the power of the people to regulate the king, but they did not do so. In fact they relished in his disobedience and took the best of the beast supposing to offer them as a sacrifice to the Lord at Gilgal. While the king was raping and pillaging the word of God the church went right on basking in their religion.

“Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of the ram. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

Oh what a word for America and the church in America.



  1. Hi Brother Malachi, this is indeed a word for America and the church here. We saw something similar in 2 Samuel when King David incurred God’s wrath by counting the fighting men of Israel . Because of David’s bad decision, God sent a plague as a punishment that killed 70,000 people!

    If the church remains silent as our leaders make decisions which pevert the laws of God, can we not expect judgment? We will all suffer as we remain complacent while evil takes a stand. Our only hope is to pray and repent. How true is Oswald Chambers warning: Beward of reasoning about God’s word—obey it.

    God is searching for those who are truly seeking him as Christ gets ready to return. I can’t think of anything that is more important than to be ready to meet the Lion of Judah!

  2. Hello Marianne, the fact that you can see the parallel of a nations leader with that of the judgement of God upon that same nation is a testimony that you have immersed yourself deep in God’s rich word, and more importantly He has given you this understanding.

    I am so afraid that America will not come to this realization until the judgment is well into its way… let me adjust the church will not realize it. The church has become so calloused to the truth of God’s word and its spiritual truths that it shall find the enemy beating down its door before they can say, “Hey! something is not adding up. This is not what we have been taught.” The will then realize that they have heaped to themselves, teachers having itching ears.

    It reminds me of the wise words of Corrie Ten Boom…

    “There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint.”

    A church living in ignorance because they have had nothing less than their flesh satisfied with a false gospel.

    Marianne, I do thank the Lord that He has given you such a spirit of understanding and that concerning the hour we are living in. Thanks for reading and sharing your heart.

    Brother malachi

  3. I see that this is an older post….but it still rings true!! I find that todays church takes the written word very casually…or at least the parts that don’t seem to match their political views, for instance.

    I was involved in a Christian online forum..a fairly large one. Almost every time I would write posts about obeying Christ’s new commandment…the commandment that fulfills all others and even satisfies all that the prophets taught and proclaimed…I would get mocked. I make mention that it IS a command…not a request, but then I’d be called hurtful names.

    So, I find that much of the church today is mostly taught how to apply scripture to their own needs…and are ignorant that when we have been saved by grace, that it does not stop there where it only benefits me. No. I have been saved by grace, so now I use that freedom to serve. Now that I do not have to try working for my salvation (the law) I now have been set free to obey the New Commandment of loving God AND my neighbor AS I would want to be loved. This is the gospel.

    Thank you!!
    Please come over and visit my site… 🙂

    • Thanks Jenny for stoping by a word from malachi and taken the time not only to read a post but having the conviction to comment on it. This post was written some years back but as you testified through experience, we really do see and HEAR things as we are. It is just like King Saul, I really think that he thought he had been obedient to what God told him to do.

      To your point “much of the church today is mostly taught to apply scripture to their own needs” is true. We only want the portions of God’s word that fits into our own selfish desires. Blessing is good and suffering is bad. Prosperity is a the heart of what the church is really looking for. Hence the old adage “we see things not as they are but as we are. We can see this same heart in King Saul… we brought the animals (were disobedient) because we wanted to offer these a sacrifice and were totally oblivious to truth while the sounds (lowing of the sheep) of sin were ever before them.

      I was raised in a very religious system as a child, so when I was born again some 28 years later, it was difficult for me to lay hold to the rich grace of God. Religion does everything it can to surpress the grace of God and the merciful work of His Spirit in the believers life. In fact it is that same religious spirit that nailed our Lord to that tree. That same spirit is alive and well in the church in America today.

      God’s rich blessing in your life as you continue to walk with Him!

      brother malachi

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