Order of Worship July 11 2021

Expository Thoughts on 1 Samuel 15:1-9

They had it coming! This was probably one of the most common thoughts of many people after the deaths of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. They were responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

While most scholars are reluctant to estimate a total number of “unnatural deaths” in China under Mao…One government document…says that 80 million died unnatural deaths…In comparison, Hitler is blamed for 12 million concentration camp deaths and at least 30 million other deaths associated with World War II, while Stalin is believed responsible for between 30 million and 40 million ‘unnatural deaths,’ including millions from a famine he created.[1]

No wonder many people were not saddened by their deaths and many ensuing generations will continue to have the same sentiment.

The name Amalek or Amalekites was no different for the Israel of Moses’ and Joshua’s day. The Amalekites had attacked and terrorized Israel toward the end of their exodus from Egypt (Exod. 17:8-16 NAU). They assaulted them from the rear when they were “faint and weary” with many “stragglers.”  Furthermore, the Amalekites “did not fear God” (Deut. 25:17-18). So these people were awful antagonists who attacked and killed Israel’s weakest people from behind. They heard of Israel’s God and dared put their hand against His kingdom.[2] No wonder the Israelites recognized them as enemies, but that was not the Amalekites greatest concern. Their utmost enemy was the one true living God, protector and keeper of His people. “14 Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven…and he said, ‘The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation’ (Exod. 17:14-16 NAU).

The Amalekites came against Israel several times: once during the wilderness journey, once with the Moabites, and once with the Midianites (Numbers 14:39-45, Judges 3:13, 6:3). The Amalekites were not innocent by-standers caught between warring factions. They took part in the attack and slaughtered the Israelite people on several occasions. They marauded the people and destroyed their crops, livestock, and livelihood as well (Judges 6:4-5). So when God sent a command through Samuel for Saul to “utterly destroy” the Amalekites, understand one thing: They had it coming!

Don’t just think of the weaker women and children that were attacked, maimed, or killed.  Nor should you simply think of all the economic devastation. Remember, they waged war against God Himself, the Creator of things living and non-living. The Maker of heaven and earth. The Supreme Judge of all mankind. The One who is slow to anger and most gracious in covenant loving-kindness. The One who promised to keep His covenant people from eternal harm. He is Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord our Banner.

Here in lies the great sin of Saul. He was vested with the authority and power of God Almighty to protect Israel forevermore from the Amalekites. He was given the distinct opportunity to fulfill a covenant promise, but he disobeyed. He feared the voice of the people more than God. Thankfully, God will take up the banner of His people. Although the Amalekites came against Israel in David’s day, they were finally extinguished by the descendants of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:43). Ultimately, through the line of David, came the one King who would not listen to any one else but God the Father. The Lord Jesus vanquished our greatest enemy through His life, death, and resurrection. Just as the Amalekites lost their sting, so have sin and death. Soli Deo Gloria!