King Saul And The Great Commission
Jesus, upon leaving this earth, left us with what many refer to as “The Great Commission” (Matt 28:19-20). The Lord Jesus sent us on a mission and said to “go”.
In 1 Samuel 15 we see similar language used in God’s interaction with King Saul.
In 1 Sam 15:3 we begin with God telling Saul thru Samuel to “go”. And God gave specific directives of what he wanted him to do. Saul chose to partially obey and felt so good about himself that he built a monument to himself (1 Sam 15:12).
Samuel confronted Saul and said, “the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go'” (sound familiar?). He asked him why he disobeyed God in his partial obedience and had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Sam 15:18-19) by not destroying everything, including the sheep, the oxen, and King Agag.
Saul tried to spiritualize his disobedience by saying that he did what he did to sacrifice to God. Samuel responded by saying, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15:22).
Saul finally admits that his partial obedience was sin and that he did it because he “feared the people” (1 Sam 15:24).
In God’s economy, partial obedience is disobedience.
Now back to us.
The Lord has sent us on a mission and told us to “go”, just like he told Saul. Like Saul, he gave us specific instructions on what he wanted us to do: make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded.
Are we only partially obeying, doing almost everything that God said but neglecting to make disciples?
If partial obedience was evil in the sight of the Lord for Saul, is it not also evil when we partially obey by neglecting to make disciples?
Do we, like Saul, spiritualize our lack of effort to make disciples by listing all of the sacrifices we make for God: “I get up early to spend time with Jesus. I go to church almost every week. I give money regularly. I’m the first person to serve when there’s needs. I show up at all the prayer meetings.”?
And do we do it with a bit of smug religious superiority, building a virtual monument to ourselves in our own minds, for our exemplary show of commitment?
Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19) and he commanded us to go and make disciples. If we are obeying in other areas but disobeying in this area because, like Saul, we “feared the people”, then we, like Saul, need to call it what it is: sin. It’s evil and it’s disobedience.
We need to repent, turn to the Lord for the courage, boldness, love, and power that he gives through his Spirit to those who obey (Acts 5:32), and then radically reorient our lives around shared mission to particular people and places.
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matt 28:19-20)
(Image Credit: The U.S. National Archives)
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.