Do Not Confuse Disobedience With “Mercy”

In I Samuel 28:18, Samuel speaks to Saul from the grave: “As you did not obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day.” Here the prophet reminds the distressed king of why God is punishing him: because he “let up” on the punishment which God had specifically commanded him to level on the nation of Amalek (I Samuel 15:3).

There is a good lesson for all of us here: we must be as precise in our execution of God’s commands as He was in giving them.

Sometimes we feel like we need to be “merciful” towards people, and “soften” His commands, or hesitate to share the whole counsel of God with them. But it is not our job to “soften” or “moderate” God’s word for those to whom He is speaking; rather it is our responsibility to share exactly what He says, as His faithful messengers.

In J.I. Packer’s Lectures on the English Puritans, he tells the story of Puritan pastor Richard Rogers, who was accused by an English lord of being too “precise” in his interpretation and application of God’s commands. Rogers responded: “I serve a precise God!” Packer made the unassailable point that we should be as precise in our obedience to God as He was in giving His commands!

To do any less is no virtue, but insurrection against our King, which, as Saul discovered, will surely not go unpunished.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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