A Spirit of RATIONALIZATION
** Be sure you read Part One before proceeding or you will have a difficult time understanding this teaching. Part Two is a continuation of Part One of I Samuel 15.
13. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.
STEP 1) Saul denies any guilt.
As I had mentioned in part one of this teaching, you will now begin to see how this rationalization spirit worked in five separate steps and this verse illustrates step one.
Examine the Scripture and you will see that Samuel came to Saul. Remember, from part one, God already informed Samuel what Saul had done and that he disobeyed the Word of God. But watch what Saul says to Samuel. First, he greets him as if there is nothing wrong and he says in our vernacular: “Hey brother. God has blessed you.” He cleverly acted like absolutely nothing was wrong. In fact, he says to Samuel that he has performed and obeyed the commandment of the Lord.
As I warned you in part one of this teaching, this spirit is extremely deceptive and will take advantage of a lying spirit to help it get its point across. For some reason, Saul had something seriously wrong in his heart pertaining to God. After we complete this chapter, you can take a look at chapter 16 and begin to understand the fate that was overcoming Saul’s life. But to review the very first step when a man rationalizes: he denies any guilt.
14. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
Samuel could hear the sheep and the oxen in the distance. So he questioned Saul and he said, “If you have done the commandment of the Lord, what is this bleating of the sheep and lowing of the oxen which I can hear?” Saul was to utterly destroy everything pertaining to the Amalekites. But he kept the spoil and maybe you can see the importance of carrying out revelation in detail. It may appear to the senses that Saul did the right thing, but from a spiritual point of view, he transgressed and outrightly disobeyed God. And he was about to pay dearly for what he had done.
15. And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
STEP 2) Belittles the error. STEP 3) But for a good reason.
Two steps of rationalization is involved in this one verse. Saul is beginning to get a little bit nervous here. This will always happen if a man who has some courage will confront an unbelieving believer. If that believer’s heart is not right with God, he will make excuse after excuse after excuse. Watch what Saul does here.
You need to remember that every word of God’s Word is perfect. It is placed in the exact right position of a sentence or paragraph. Watch the pronoun that Saul uses in the first phrase. He says “They” brought that livestock from the Amalekites. Who the heck are they? His army. Step 2) He is belittling the error. Saul is making it seem like it's not such a big deal. He is referring to his army by saying that they were the ones that spared those sheep and oxen. He begins to do something that we will examine later in step four. Again, in the next phrase, he states that the “people” spared the best of the sheep and oxen and take a look at his reason here. He said that they were going to sacrifice them unto God. Step 3) But for a good reason. Did God tell him to do this? No. He did it all as a result of being influenced by a spirit of rationalization. Notice again how he makes the statement that the rest were utterly destroyed. He is trying to make it seem like what he did wasn’t so bad again in an attempt to belittle the error. I did this at one point my life. I did something that was wrong and I rationalized it in my mind that it was right. I faced great consequences as a result of my actions and I learned never to compromise on even one word that God tells me to do either by revelation above His Word or by what I read in the Scriptures. You don’t want to learn this lesson. So Saul belittles the error, but as Saul puts it, he did it for a good reason.
Now we have examined three out of five steps used by a spirit of rationalization.
16. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he (Saul) said unto him, Say on.
Here is an example of reproof and correction such as you may never see anywhere again in the Bible. Samuel was about to lay into Saul. First, Samuel wanted proof of what Saul did and he had all the proof he needed. Got allowed this for Samuel to see and now he was about to reproof Saul like no man has ever been reproved before. Samuel was going to tell Saul what God wanted Him to tell him and it wasn’t too pretty. Saul was so deceived by now by this spirit of rationalization and other devil spirits that he was totally unaware of what Samuel was going to say. That’s why Saul made the remark to Samuel “Say on, brother.” He might have thought that he was going to receive praise for what he did. He was in for quite a shock.
17. 18. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
Samuel was setting the stage for what he was about to say to Saul. He reminded him that there was a time when Saul was little in his own sight. Then God Almighty appointed him to be the head over the tribes of Israel and God anointed him to be a King. Shortly thereafter, God sent Saul on a mission that was quite simple. Here Samuel is reminding Saul once again that he was to go and utterly destroy the sinners who were the Amalekites and he was to fight against them until they were all consumed.
You see, you need to understand how to go about reproof and correction. You need to lay out a foundation before the person is to be reproved. As I mentioned once, I did this to a great leader and he listened and was humble to everything that I said. That's why I say he was a great leader and still is. He changed the wrong that he was unaware of that he was doing and that's a sign of a great leader. In these two verses, Samuel was preparing Saul for what he had to say. And in the next verse, you will see that Samuel gets right to the point and tells Saul exactly what God wanted him to say.
19. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?
Samuel is being as gentle as he can with Saul, but he is not going to be wishy-washy like so many Christians. You see now why Samuel put all this history concerning Saul before him in the previous verse 18. Now Samuel has a starting point when he reproves Saul. He says to him again: Why did you not obey the voice of the Lord after God Almighty made you King over Israel? Before that you had practically nothing. You kept the spoil amongst other things and did evil in the sight of the Lord. Is that the way to repay God for what He did for you? You see, by now, Saul is beginning to realize what this conversation was all about. Samuel held back nothing but he told Saul the way it really was.
20. And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
Take a look at how desperate Saul was now becoming. He outright lied to Samuel and he said. “Yes, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord and I am gone the way in which the Lord hath sent me.” There are two gods in this world and Saul went the way of the wrong god. He even has the nerve to tell Samuel that he brought Agag when he was to destroy him. When God says utterly destroy, he means utterly destroy. Saul must have thought that capturing the King of the Amalekites was to be a trophy for him.
21. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
STEP 4) Shifts the blame to others.
Pay particular attention to verse 21.
Note that it is clear that Saul is now saying that the people took of the spoil, sheep, and oxen which were important things that should have utterly been destroyed. He is saying that they took these things to sacrifice unto God. Now who was in charge of this army? Saul should have stopped these people from taking the spoil and all the livestock. He says also in this verse that they should have been destroyed. But apparently Saul allowed these people to do what they did, with the excuse that they were going to sacrifice them to God. At least, for a start, he is admitting that they should have been destroyed. But he is saying that they were not because of others -- he was shifting the blame to others. This is the fourth step that a man will do when he is under the influence of a spirit of rationalization.
22. And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and (omit and) to hearken than the fat of rams.
Samuel, with his great love for Saul made an attempt to reason with him. He tried to make him understand that obeying the voice of the Lord is much greater than delighting in burnt offerings. Behold, Samuel said it is better to obey God than to sacrifice the fat of rams. I must interject here and I am speaking for myself. It is not possible to reason with someone influenced by a devil spirit. Only speak the Word with the love of God. You will be frustrated and agitated to no end because you cannot make any progress without speaking the Word.
Now watch the next verse. It really shook me when I read it and the meaning sunk into my heart.
23. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
Samuel was a dedicated believer and was very close to God. He knew the Word of God and he spoke it forth without any fear. He told Saul that rebellion against the Word of God is as the sin of witchcraft. If you look in your center reference, you will see that witchcraft is being referred to as divination. This even surprised me because divination is a serious part of spiritualism. From my research, I can tell you that in the New Testament, witchcraft is referred to as enchantment with drugs. There is a teaching on that subject available to you. You must understand something that most people do not know. There is no degree of sin with God. All sin is the same with God.
Samuel goes on to inform Saul that stubbornness against the Word of God is the same thing as iniquity and idolatry. God cannot stand idolatry which is putting anything first before Him. Samuel now tells Saul the way it really is and he holds back nothing. He says that because Saul has rejected the Word of God, He (referring to God) has also rejected Saul from being king over Israel.
Can you imagine how these words must have pierced right through Saul's heart? Saul had just lost everything, but watch his feeble attempts to make everything go away. However, they were unsuccessful. In the next verse, it will appear like Saul finally admitted his guilt, but watch how he goes about it. This is a good lesson but a sad record of the downfall of a believer who has great potential for God. This happens to many believers. All God wants and expects you to do is to adhere to His Word. It's really that simple. But when you rebel, life can be like hell.
24. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
STEP 5) Admits his guilt……………. but because of others.
Saul was beginning to realize the seriousness of his situation, so he decided to finally admit his guilt. However, he said it was because he feared the people, and obeyed their voice. He was in charge of these people! You have to look behind the scenes here to see that there was something very wrong in Saul's heart. In the above verse, he admits that he sinned and he says he has transgressed the commandments of God. It sounds like a sincere apology, doesn't it? The only problem is that God Almighty can read your heart and He knows what you are really thinking. Only by revelation, did Samuel know that Saul was lying. God told Samuel by Word of Knowledge -- that is the only way he could have known. And still, I would like you to focus on step five. Here is a man that is about to lose everything in life. Now you think he would just admit his guilt and let it alone at that. He was in no position to negotiate or to make any excuses, but that's exactly what he did. He says that everything he did especially his sin of rebelling against God was because of others. He said he feared the people and obeyed their voice.
I must stress, at this point, that not all men will react the same way. Saul had some type of spiritual problem and he just kept going on and on making excuses and excuses. I can never understand why a man or woman who realizes that they are wrong will just not admit it. I am the first person to admit that I am wrong and I'm thankful that someone will come and tell me or else I would be making the same mistake for the rest of my life.
So those are the five steps that can happen to any man who gives place to a spirit of rationalization. Let's get through the rest of this chapter so that you can see the repercussions of what are about to take place.
25. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.
Saul says to Samuel “Will you pray for me brother?” He asked Samuel to pardon his sin so they can work together again and also so that Saul could once again worship the Lord. You will see in the next verse what Samuel said. All of this must have broken Samuel's heart since he cared much for his brother. Only God knew what was really going on and He told Samuel. God knew Saul's heart and He did not take him back.
26. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
Samuel kept God first and told Saul that he would not return with him because he had rejected the Word of the Lord and the Lord had rejected him from being king over Israel. There are times when we must side with either the world and its emotional draw or with God Almighty who does not let emotions get in the way of truth. Overall, this was a difficult time for Samuel, Saul and for God Almighty. It hurts God when we do not get along well together as believers in the body of Christ. So, as you see, because the Word was not obeyed, all parties suffer to some extent. That's why we need to make an effort to get along together and to work together. We have to overlook each other's idiosyncrasies. Everyone brushes their teeth differently. Samuel might have been struggling for the correct words and he wound up telling Saul the same thing -- that the Lord God had rejected him from being king over Israel. As you know, this is not the first time we heard this being said.
27. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. (This was symbolic and will be explained in the next verse.)
28. And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
If you really want to study God's Word rightly divided, you should possess, in your library, a book about Eastern Customs and about Orientalism's of the Bible. In verse 27, Saul grabbed the skirt of his mantle and he ripped it. Samuel then said to Saul that the Lord had rent (destroyed, taken away) the kingdom of Israel from him. Then he also told him more of the truth relating to the subject and it must have been difficult for Saul to accept this. Samuel told him that God had given Saul's position as King to a neighbor of his -- to someone who was better than him. It simply appears that Saul still had an attitude about himself for Samuel to say this to him. He told Saul that the new king is not only a neighbor of his, but he is better than Saul. Samuel may have been trying to get Saul to put his feet on the ground, when he was still full of pride and in his heart, as we know, he made excuses and excuses for disobeying the Word of God.
29. And also the Strength of Israel (referring to God) will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
God is not going to get all bent out of shape over what happened and of course He will not repent. How can He? God is not a man -- He is a Spirit. When we give God human characteristics, this is referred to as a figure of speech called condescensio. How do I know this? This is why I studied Figures of Speech Used in the Bible for 18 months. I found it to be very exciting and extremely enlightening as far as rightly dividing the Word of God was concerned. You should try it -- I guarantee you will not regret your efforts. God wants us not to just read words -- He wants us to act. Watch what Saul does in the next verse. He keeps on trying but there isn't anyone there that's going to believe him. I hate to use such a worn-out cliché, but I will. Saul made his own bed, now let him sleep in it.
30. Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.
Saul once again appears to repent and he says, I have sinned. Honor me now, I pray to you before the elders of my people and before Israel. Stay with me so that I can worship the Lord my God. Isn't this amazing? He simply wants to be forgiven for the horrendous task that he did. He is even asking for honor. He sounds terribly sincere, doesn't he? But as we should know by now, sincerity is no guarantee for truth.
31. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.
The King James English using the phrase ‘turned again’ appears to give a believer some difficulty in understanding. I am not going to guess at this, but if I were forced to give an opinion, I would say that Samuel was trying to work with Saul. Any man can at some time, deceive another man, especially two men who our friends and are familiar with one another. This happened to me when I was younger. My best friend and I made a pact together that none of us would go near any type of drugs, especially marijuana. My friend broke that pact and our friendship dissolved and was never the same again. He deceived me to the greatest extent and that's what Saul is trying to do to Samuel.
These are cases or situations where we absolutely need to rely on the manifestations of Holy Spirit. Three manifestations are referred to as the eyes and the ears of the Church. In this situation, Samuel could not know for a certainty by his five senses what was really taking place. By word of knowledge, God was able to tell Samuel what was going on in the heart of Saul. Do you know what he told Samuel? He told him that all that Saul was saying was nothing but a put on. It was all a put on to deceive. Remember, Samuel could not know this unless God told it to him and He did. Saul’s words did not line up with his heart and only God knew this. After Samuel was aware of this revelation, watch what God told him to do next.
32. Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
Samuel said to Saul to bring Agag, the King of the Amalekites, to him. Samuel was going to finish the job that God told Saul to do. It surely gets my attention that Agag came to him delicately. It's amazing how God picks the perfect words. Agag was a little bit nervous about this confrontation with Samuel. And watch what he says. This spirit of rationalization is still running rampant because Agag tried to convince Samuel that the bitterness of death is now past. He’s saying that all his people are dead and what is the point of any more killing. He was afraid for his life and rightly so.
33. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
Samuel paid no attention to what Agag had to say. He was determined to finish the Will of the Lord. He said to this evil king Agag, that as your sword hath made many women childless, so shall your own mother be childless among women. Then he cut Agag up in pieces before the Lord. He finished the job that Saul couldn’t do. This must have been a very emotional time for Samuel. He was so angry and disgusted inside with his friend that he cut Agag up in pieces.
34. Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.
They parted their ways and did not see each other again for a very long time.
35. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his (Samuel’s) death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
Samuel was about to die and yet he still mourned for Saul. You can only imagine what it's like to care for a brother or sister in Christ. I still mourn for many people I knew in the ministry in which I studied. I yearn to see these people but I have no idea where they are. The love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation will bind people together and will knit their hearts together. It is really a beautiful thing that cannot be described effectively. We can only discern what it is like.
In this final verse, you can see that God repented that He made Saul King over Israel. God loves all people no matter what they do, but He cannot overstep a man or a woman's free will to keep Him first or not to keep Him first. We must walk together in unity of thought on the Word, and in unity of spirit since we are all part of the body of Jesus Christ.
Parting Note: It may be a very good idea for you to read chapter 16 and take note what happened in verse 14. Saul never really straightened out and he was afflicted again by another devil spirit. Much later in the book of Samuel, Saul went to the witch of Endor for guidance. There is nothing in your life that can be worse than doing something like this. If you follow Saul’s life, you will see that it ended in suicide.
Life is so easy if we just remember to keep God first. God will always see that you have enough time to do everything that you've wanted to do no matter how many hours you may study His Word. I sit here for endless hours to share the Word with you because it burns in my heart and I just have to tell someone about it. When I do this, I always have time to do other things that I really want to do. Teaching you God's Word sometimes feels like work, but it is work that I enjoy. I wish more than you that I could put up my e-mail address for your questions, but I cannot. I told many of my readers what type of e-mails I was receiving and they were about as pathetic as you can get so I had to shut the door. I try to make each teaching as comprehensive as possible without getting too complicated. I have received many letters from many believers at one time, telling me how much this website has helped them. I do it for God, so give God the glory, okay? I love you all and remember you are God's best.