Throughout Scripture, God gives us a clear picture of how important it is to obey His Word. We see one such example in the life of King Saul. God gave Saul clear, specific commands through the prophet Samuel: “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).

Did Saul obey this command from the Lord? Scripture tells us, “Saul smote the Amalekites . . . and he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive. . . . Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them” (verses 7-9).

God had spoken to Saul in crystal-clear terms. Yet after Saul went into battle, he obeyed the Lord only in part. Rather than destroying everyone and everything, he spared King Agag and he even kept some of the spoils of battle.

Samuel was stricken with grief at this. He told Saul, “The Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?” (verses 18-19).

At this point, Scripture gives us a grievous, chilling word: “Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments” (verses 10-11).

Does this describe your life? Has God told you in no uncertain terms to deal with a certain habit in your life, yet you keep clinging to it, refusing to cut it off? His Spirit may be speaking to you right now in a kind, wooing voice, saying, “Your sin stands between us, interrupting our communion. I can no longer bless you while you persist in it. Trust My Spirit to help you, My child.”

Samuel told Saul, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (verse 23). God rejected Saul for his disobedience.

God is telling us through this passage that He means what He says. He is saying, “I’m showing you how I feel about your obedience to me. I want all of your heart, not just a halfhearted obedience!”