1 Samuel 15:1-8 God will judge the wicked & protect the righteous
1 Samuel 15:1-8
Then Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore, listen to the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” Then Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. Saul came to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley. Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. So Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as you go to Shur, which is east of Egypt. He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
God sent Saul to totally annihilate Amalek on account of their heinous attack against Israel when they were coming out of Egypt. Saul attacked and destroyed Amalek but spared the Kenites who has shown kindness to Israel. This section reveals God’s righteousness in keeping account of all deeds done, both good and evil. The righteous will stay in the land and flourish, but God will execute justice on the wicked.
Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey – God sent Saul to the Amalekites, this time to completely destroy the nation, who often acted aggressively against Israel. The basis of God’s command is to bring retribution to an evil nation whose hostility can be traced back to the time of exodus when they attacked the Israelites as they came out of Egypt (see Exodus 17:8-13); they attacked the Israelites without a cause in a time when they were wounded and defenseless. After God waited to no avail for the Amalekites to repent from their evil, God commanded a total annihilation of Amalek without exceptions. However, for the Kenites who showed kindness to Israel, they were spared from destruction.
I do not destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt – Israel’s experience of the Kenites at the time of the exodus contrasted strongly with their reception by the Amalekites. Upon hearing about Israel’s victory, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, a Kenite came out to congratulate him.
- God takes account of heinous acts done to others especially to His people and He will demand justice. Therefore, as God’s children, we must not take vengeance into our own hands, for God will in His time execute justice. Justice belongs to God and it will be served, not on the basis of human hatred, but on God’s righteousness. When the Amalekites attacked the Israelites while they were fleeing Egypt, God saw this as a heinous act done against a helpless people. This was not a war caused by political conflict but a robbery of innocent people. In view of God’s impending justice and vindication of His people, we must learn to forgive our enemies and hope for their repentance. God encourages us to give to Him our demand for vengeance, for He will certainly judge,
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “ The Lord will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:20-31
- An absence of retribution does not infer that God has forgotten or lowered His standards, but rather He is waiting for the sinner to repent. God will not wait indefinitely for the sinner to repent, but if He should come to the point of regret, there is no turning back. Hence, believers must never test God in order to discover the extent of His patience. God did not punish sinners promptly and harshly because He wanted us to understand His love and forbearance. God did not destroy the Amalekites on that day when they attacked Israel, because He was waiting for them to repent. Paul says,
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4
Many societies today have been experiencing material abundance and growth despite their persistent sin and rebellion against God’s righteous laws supposing that He is blind. Isaiah encourages all to repent and be reconciled with God while there is still time,
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. And let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7
- A righteous person may not be the strongest or the fastest, but he will be the last man standing. The Kenites are friendly people who showed kindness to Israel at the time of their dire need. Hence, God protected them and they actually outlived the more aggressive Amalekites. Many struck gold within a very short time, but they could not sustain their wealth and gave it up as soon as they got it. Proverbs 10:30 say, “The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.” It is wise to stay righteous by doing what is required of us daily and not be tempted by riches.
- Are you still keeping records of the injustice that was done against you? Remember that justice is God’s responsibility, and forgiveness is yours.
- Do you spend most of your energy looking for ways to “circumvent” established processes in order to get ahead of others? But if you focus your energy in seeking out the righteous ways of God, God will protect you and cause you to be established and flourish in the land.
Dear Lord, I thank you that you are keeping records of all deeds done, the good and the evil. I release my need for justice into your hands and I forgive those who have hurt me. I pray that the Spirit may quicken their hearts towards repentance. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.