Read 1 Samuel 15:16-23, Ps. 50:8-9,16-17,21,23, Mark 2:18-22

“Has 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 to hearken than the fat of rams. ... Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:19-23)

Today’s first reading contains the painful episode of Saul’s rejection. Saul, who became king effortlessly, fell from glory when he took laws into his hands. Grace can lift a person high, but maintaining such heights requires hard work. A lot of us pray to make it big in life, but we often forget that for every answered prayer, God gives us a huge responsibility. If we fail to cooperate with God, we will fall from grace to grass. What lessons can we learn from Saul’s rejection?

1. Put God First: Saul was a people-pleaser. He was more concerned about receiving praise from the people than from God. He knew God’s instruction was to destroy the Amalekites totally, but when he saw the people taking some of the spoils, he refused to stop them. This is a common mistake. You can never truly serve God if you are concerned about receiving applause from people.

2. You Cannot Bribe God: Saul tried to justify his offence by explaining that the items collected were to be used for sacrifice to God. For instance, if you steal money to donate to the church, such donations do not move God. It will not stop God from exposing you or making you suffer the consequences of stealing.

3. Obedience is the Best Sacrifice: Obedience is difficult. It involves doing the will of another rather than yours. Sometimes, God’s instructions may not make sense yet; it is at such moments that our faith is tested. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. It didn’t make sense to kill a child he had waited to get for twenty-five years, yet he obeyed.

Are there certain commandments that don’t make sense to you? It didn’t make sense to Saul to destroy all those beautiful things he saw in the land of Amalek. Saul did not know it was a test. It may not make sense to you to remain faithful to your spouse or to refrain from stealing in a corrupt society like Nigeria. Learn from Saul’s fall; trust God and obey Him. God will appreciate your obedience more than a sacrifice of millions.

4. Actions Have Consequences: Always consider the repercussions of your choices ahead of time. Adam and Eve fell from grace due to disobedience. Saul fell from grace due to the same sin. What makes disobedience such a serious sin? Every time we disobey God, we reject Him: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

5. New Wine in New Skins: Today is Monday. Let us resolve this week to be new in thoughts, words, and actions. Let us strive to put sin aside and live a new life in Christ. Whatever represents darkness in your life should not continue this new week.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, deepen my trust in you. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Monday of week 2 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Samuel 15:16-23, Ps. 50:8-9,16-17,21,23, Mark 2:18-22).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu