Disobedience is costly.


“I regret that I have made Saul King…” 1 Samuel 15:11

The battle at Gilgal in 1 Samuel 13, marked the start of Saul’s troubles.

Samuel, a prophet of God at the time, had confirmed Saul as Israel’s King. Among other signs and wonders that Saul was to experience, Samuel had asked Saul to wait seven days at Gilgal, ”Go down ahead of me to Gilgal, I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” – 1 Samuel 10:8

That seemed like a clear instruction. However in 1 Samuel 14, when Saul had waited seven days by his counting and Samuel delayed to show up, Saul decided to take matters into his own hands. No sooner had Saul finished with one of the offerings - the burnt offering, than Samuel showed up ( 1 Samuel 13:10). “What have you done?” Samuel asked. Saul’s response, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favour. ’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

“What have you done?” – is a question we also find in the first ever story about disobedience in the book of Genesis when the Lord met Adam and Eve in the garden after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. “Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” – Genesis 3:13.

Fear and doubt mixed with disobedience – Saul was trying to seek the Lord’s favour to accomplish a mission his own way. How often do we take matters into our own hands when God has asked us to wait upon him for an appointed time? When we start to feel like we are running out of time, the walls are caving in on us, God is not moving as quickly as we would like, we are surrounded by trouble, it looks like we are about to be destroyed, then we think – ‘quick I must do something!’ But the word of God says in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

This is the opposite of what Saul did. Saul feared people more than he feared God. He aimed to please people. In 1 Samuel 15, when God commanded Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites in battle, Saul thought it wise to listen to his men and take some of the Amalekite’s sheep and cattle back with them, when asked by Samuel why he disobeyed the Lord, part of Saul’s response was, “I was afraid of the men and so I gave into them.” - 1 Samuel 15:24.

Saul did what was right in his own eyes. “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said (1 Samuel 15:20). Consumed with the spirit of pride and arrogance, Saul could not comprehend what it is that he had done wrong. He was oblivious to it all, even after Samuel had clearly explained to him the error of his ways in disobeying God.

So, Samuel delivered those momentous words to Saul: “You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!” – 1 Samuel 15:26.

From these chapters in 1 Samuel, we can summarise what cost Saul his Kingship over Israel as follows:


“Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived…” – 1 Samuel 13:10

Fear and Doubt:

“When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal,..” 1 Samuel 13:11-12


And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

People pleasing:

“I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them..” – 1 Samuel 15:24

Pride and arrogance:

“Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor …” 1 Samuel 15:12

Lack of the fear of God:

“So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” 1 Samuel 13:12

Why did God reject Saul as King? In the Lord’s words, “...Because he has turned away from me and not carried out my instructions.” – 1 Samuel 15:11

The result: Saul is replaced and his kingdom given to another better than him (1 Samuel 15:28) “..the Lord has sought a man after His own heart and appointed him ruler over his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” – 1 Samuel 13:14.

Points to Ponder

Are you praying to God for something all the while walking outside His will?

Are you willing to check the attitudes of your heart concerning pride and arrogance?

Are you waiting on the Lord or do you feel compelled to take matters into your own hands?

Are you aiming to please people or God?