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Chapter Fifteen (ESV)


22 And Samuel said,


“Has 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 listen than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,

and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

he has also rejected you from being king.”


24 Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.” 26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”



  1. Verses 22-23, this poem clearly indicates that faithfulness to the covenant of God is more than just adherence to the ritual life of the community. Later, somehow, Christian churches developed the tendency to view ritual and its tradition as something extraneous that could be discarded. However, here the passage (the poem) is actually emphasizing the importance of obedience for a person’s spiritual growth than following church rituals and traditions blindly or absent-mindedly.
  2. From the story of Saul, we’ve witnessed his rebellion against God. From Samuel, we’ve seen the disappointment and grief God had with Saul. Although Saul is deceitful and calculating, God has always been loving and merciful. This is a story of God’s sensitivity to human sin. As Saul became less human, God became more human, which is a foreshadowing of the incarnation.



Read the following verses slowly recalling Saul’s story and mine. Substitute my name with “we” to indicate my recognition of God and myself.

If (fill in my name) die with Him, (my name) will live with Him;

If (my name) stick it out with Him, (my name) will rule with Him;

If (my name) turn our backs on Him, He’ll turn His back on (my name);

If (my name) give up on Him, He does not give up—for there’s no way He can be false to Himself. (Ref. 2 Tim 2:11-13, MSG)