The use of both idols (images of false gods) and witchcraft (magic) is an important part of many false religions. People use these things because they want to have power in the world of spirits. However, God does not allow his people to do these things (Deuteronomy 5:8-10; Deuteronomy 18:9-14). Godís people must pray to him alone, and they must not try to control him.
Although Saul did not belong to those false religions, he had refused on purpose to obey God. In Saulís opinion, he did that for a good reason. God had told him to kill the animals in Amalek, but Saul wanted to give them to God. Saul thought that such an impressive gift would please God greatly. Then Saul expected that God would support Saulís plans.
By the power of Godís Holy Spirit, Samuel explained why Saulís behaviour offended God. Saul had not yet used witchcraft; but he was behaving like someone who did. Saul did not just want power over spirits; he was trying to force God to support his plans.
It is the duty of Godís people humbly to obey him. In other words, they accept Godís authority over their lives. Saul, on the other hand, was acting in a very proud manner. He demanded Godís support for his own (Saulís) plans while he refused to obey God. In false religions, people give to their idols the honour that God alone deserves. Because of his proud attitudes, Saul was trying to take for himself the authority that God alone has.
Samuel had already told Saul that his rule could not last (13:13-14). Now Samuel gave Saul an even more severe message. Saul had chosen to oppose Godís authority over him. So God would remove Saulís authority to be Israelís king.
Soon afterwards, God sent Samuel to appoint David as Israelís next king (16:1-13).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.