The Pain of Partial Obedience

Partial obedience is full disobedience.  That means you must get violent with the sin in your life.  All that rage you feel must be turned toward the sin that is killing you.  I remember reading a book by John MacAurther with a chapter entitled “Hacking Agag to Pieces”.  The chapter talked about 1 Samuel 15, where God instructs king Saul.  God was going to judge Amalek for fighting Israel as they left Egypt, and Saul would be the instrument of God’s judgment.  God tells Saul that the entire people are devoted to destruction.  Thus, he must spare neither people nor cattle.  


But, Saul did not follow God’s word.  Instead of destroying everything, he destroyed the weak and worthless things.  But, he kept the best of the livestock, and he took their king Agag, alive.


Then, the word of the Lord came to Samuel.  He told Samuel of Saul’s partial obedience.  An enraged Samuel went to meet the king.  Saul quickly met the prophet and assured him of his obedience.  Samuel says, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?”  Feeling exposed, Samuel quickly blamed the people.  They brought them to sacrifice.  Samuel was not fooled.  He stopped Saul before he offered any more lame excuses and pronounced God’s judgment.  Then, he demanded that Agag be brought to him.  When Agag came he was quite happy, because he was sure that the threat of death had passed.  He had escaped judgment.  Samuel, however, quickly shattered that false sense of security.  The Bible simply says, “And Sameul hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.”


MacAurther used this to illustrate the zeal and energy we need to fight against our own sin.  Saul was cozy with sin.  He relied on human wisdom and it would eventually cost him his life and his kingdom.  Samuel attacked sin with zeal.  


Sometimes we must hack Agag to pieces in order to avoid following Satan on the path of folly.


– Dr. Shane Arnold, Head of School