The Disobedience of Saul – Gospel in Life

The Disobedience of Saul

Tim Keller |  January 4, 2004

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  • Sin
1 Samuel 15:10-23
RS 172-05

1 Samuel 15:10–23

Looking at Saul, the first king of Israel, we see a man who went from being a good leader to doing really bad things. This change shows how people can trick themselves into ignoring the truth, especially when it’s about themselves. It’s important to understand this because it can explain how ordinary people can end up doing evil things.

1. The ability to trick ourselves

When Saul disobeyed God’s order to fight the Amalekites and kept the best animals and their king for himself, he was acting just like the Amalekites who were known for their greed and desire for power. This led to Saul losing his kingship. Wars that are truly just are rare, and we need to question the motives behind them. This part of the story ends by showing how people can trick themselves into thinking that bad actions are okay, helping us understand how good people can end up doing evil things.

2. How self-deception works

The story of Saul and Samuel shows us how self-deception works. Saul said he obeyed God, but his actions showed he did not. This is like when people ignore a problem with their car, defend their child who is accused of stealing, or pretend not to know about a terrible thing happening in their town. We’re really good at hiding from truths we don’t want to face, and this can lead to us doing bad things. Tactics like blaming others, steering attention away from the problem, and hiding behind religion show us that we need to recognize and undo these habits to avoid walking down a dark path.

3. How to stop tricking ourselves

Saul’s story shows that being arrogant, thinking we’re better than others, can lead to self-deception. But knowing God’s grace and love through Jesus Christ helps us see our true worth, eliminating the need to prove ourselves and undoing bad habits. The good news of the gospel, along with a supportive community and accountability to others, provides the courage and truth we need to live in freedom.



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