1 Samuel 15 God Regrets Making Saul King

1 Samuel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


This is a pivotal chapter in the story of Saul.
The Lord gave him another opportunity to prove himself, but he failed again, lied about it, and was judged.
Saul had a habit of substituting saying for doing and of making excuses instead of confessing his sins.
No matter what happened, it was always somebody else’s fault.
He was more concerned about looking good before the people than being good before God

Read 1 Samuel 15:1-5

I. One Last Chance vs. 1-9

vs. 1 Sent to Anoint
This is the spiritual leader of Israel giving a word of the Lord to the Military leader
Samuel is not putting himself above God, but performing the duties of the prophet
Saul has a history of not doing what God tells him
Saul was given one last chance to do right by god
God is a patient God, slow to anger
We see that with Saul and the Amalekites
vs. 2-3 Destroy Amalekites
The orders from Samuel?
Destroy the Amalekites
He wants Saul to destroy everything including the animals
The Amalekites descended from Esau, the unbelieving brother of Jacob and the enemy of the Jewish people.
The army of Amalek attacked the Jews shortly after Israel left Egypt, and they were defeated because God heard Moses’ prayers and helped Joshua’s army.
At that time, the Lord declared perpetual war against Amalek and Balaam prophesied Amalek’s ultimate defeat
Some people find it difficult to believe that the Lord would command an entire nation to be destroyed just because of what their ancestors had done centuries before.
Some of these critics may depend more on sentiment than on spiritual truth, not realizing how long-suffering the Lord had been with these nations and how unspeakably wicked they were
Nations like the Amalekites who wanted to exterminate the Jews weren’t just waging war on Israel; they were opposing Almighty God and His great plan of redemption for the whole world.
vs. 4-5 210,000 soldiers
Saul summoned the armies and 210K showed up
There is some debate about this number
It is noticeably smaller than when he had 300K
Maybe Saul’s influence is waning
vs. 6 Warns Kenites
Before Saul attacks he warns the Kenites
Knowing God’s covenant with Abraham, Saul allowed the Kenites to escape because they had befriended Israel.
They were descendants of the Midianites, and Moses married a Midianite woman
vs. 7 Saul defeats Amalekites
Saul defeated the Amalekites as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt
That sounds like Saul went a long way
Havilah is along the Red Sea
The wording here is interesting because it could also mean the road to Shur
He wasn’t careful to obey God’s will.
vs. 8-9 Keeps king alive
So far so good for Saul
Maybe he has finally got the obedience thing down… errr wait a second
Do I hear something?
He keeps the king alive?!?
Everything that was vile and worthless he destroyed, but he permitted King Agag to live, and he allowed the Israelite soldiers to save “the best” of the flocks and herds.
But if the Lord says something is condemned, how can we say it’s “the best”?
Isa. 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil”
Serving God acceptably involves doing the will of God in the right way, at the right time, and for the right motive.
God had given Saul another chance and he had failed miserably.

II. Saul is About Saul vs. 10-16

vs. 10-11 God regrets making Saul King
God speaks to Samuel and expresses his regret for making Saul king
He doesn’t follow God
He hasn’t obeyed the commandments
This makes Samuel angry and he remains that way the rest of his life
Samuel warned the people about wanting a king
He had worked with Saul to improve his performance
Now Saul has failed his final chance and Samuel knows God isn’t turning back
vs. 12 Saul makes a monument to himself
Meanwhile, Saul is making a monument to himself
Samuel is on his way to meet with Saul and Saul is celebrating his victory
It’s amazing how quick Saul is to pump himself up, but even quicker to blame others for his failures
vs. 13-15 What is that bleating of sheep?
Saul sees Samuel approaching and declares his obedience
Imagine the arrogance
He knows he hasn’t listened, he defeats the Amalekites, and brings the booty back
Then declares how good he has done
Samuels response?
“What is this bleating of sheep I hear?”
Saul then blames the Israelites
They weren’t give the Word from the Lord, Saul was
But He is blaming them for keeping the animals
Then throws in they were going to use them for sacrifices

III. Saul’s Rebuke vs. 16-23

vs. 16-19 Samuel Speaks
Does Samuel’s emphatic “Stop!” suggest that Saul was turning away, or does it mean “Stop telling lies”?
Perhaps both are true, for Saul had no great desire to discuss his affairs with Samuel.
But Samuel had a message from the Lord, and Saul knew he had better listen.
The day would come when Saul would give anything to hear a word from the Lord
1 Samuel 28:4–6 ESV
The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.
vs. 20-21 Saul’s Excuses
He was to annihilate a nation that for centuries had done evil, but he ended up doing evil himself.
Confronted with this accusation, Saul began to argue with God’s servant and deny that he had done wrong.
For the second time he lied when he said, “I have obeyed for the second time he blamed his army ; and for the second time he used the feeble excuse of dedicating the spared animals as sacrifices for the Lord
vs. 22-23 Obedience better than Sacrifice
The prophet rejected all three lies and explained why God couldn’t accept the animals as legitimate sacrifices: the Lord wants living obedience from the heart, not dead animals on the altar.
God doesn’t need any donations from us, and the sacrifice He desires is a broken and contrite heart (51:16–17).
Sacrifice without obedience is only hypocrisy and empty religious ritual
Jeremiah 7:22–23 ESV
For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’
Rebellion is as bad as witchcraft
Because Saul rejected the word of the Lord, God has rejected him as being king
This is the second of three times we will hear Saul being rejected

IV. Saul’s Regret vs. 24-35

vs. 24-25 Pardon my Sin
King Saul now moves from “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord” (v. 20) to “I have sinned.”
However, this was not a true expression of repentance and sorrow for sin
He was obviously more concerned about his reputation with the people than his character before God, and that is not the attitude of a man truly broken because of sin.
Saul also admitted that he spared Agag and the animals because he feared the people instead of fearing the Lord and His commandment.
But this was just another indication that he was more interested in being popular with people than in pleasing God.
vs. 26-29 Lord has torn kingdom from Saul
As Samuel turned away, Saul clutched at the tassels on the hem of his garment and tore the prophet’s robe
Samuel used the occurrence as an object lesson and announced that God had torn the kingdom from Saul’s hand.
Samuel called the Lord “the Strength of Israel,” a name that speaks of God’s glory, eminence, and perfection.
1 Samuel 15:29 NKJV
And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”
How could such a wonderful God be guilty of changing or of telling lies?
The Lord had announced that Saul would lose the kingdom, and nothing could change His mind.
vs. 30-31 Honor Me
The Word of God simply did not penetrate Saul’s mind and heart, and he continued to worry about maintaining his reputation rather than getting right with the Lord.
Why Samuel changed his mind and decided to worship with Saul is a bit of a mystery
vs. 32-33 Samuel hacks Agag
Samuel publicly butchered King Agag and in that way let it be known that the king had failed to fulfill his commission.
vs. 34-35 Samuel Never sees Saul again
Samuel returned to his home in Ramah and Saul to his home in Gibeah, and Samuel made no more trips to see the king, either publicly or privately
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more