“…because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24b).
Fear is defined in two areas: first, to be afraid of imminent danger to life and limb either from animals or from man or from a situation created by either; second, a profound reverence toward God. In our text, King Saul of Israel feared the people.
This fear had first reared its head in 1 Samuel 13:8-11, where Saul disobeyed the prophet Samuel’s instructions in 1 Samuel 10:8, when Saul was first anointed as king. Samuel had told Saul to meet him at Gilgal and he would offer burnt offerings; Saul was to wait seven days for Samuel, and he would show Saul what to do. In 1 Samuel 13:8-11, Saul waited seven days and Samuel had not come and the people were scattering from him (verse 8), so Saul offered the sacrifice to God. Samuel came and asked Saul (verse 11),
“…What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; (12) Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. (13) And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly… (14) But now thy kingdom shall not continue…”
Then in 1 Samuel 15, Saul disobeyed God once again and did not kill all the Amalekites and all that they had (1 Samuel 15:3). But Saul spared King Agag and allowed the people to take the spoil of the sheep and oxen. As before, Samuel approached Saul and asked him why he did not obey God completely. Saul said (verse 24), “…I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.”
David said: I fear not what man can do unto me (Psalms 118:6-14, especially see verses 13-14), “Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me. (14) The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”
Jesus said (Matthew 10:28), “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Paul said (Romans 8:31) “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Saul’s major problem was he did not understand that it was God who had made him king of Israel, not the people. Saul was worried about the popularity polls. He was afraid that the people would reject him as king and he would lose his position of honor as their king. But he should have feared God; for God took the kingdom from him, and placed David as king of Israel. The Spirit of God left Saul; his army was finally defeated on the battlefield; all his sons died in battle; and he committed suicide with his own sword.
So it is with the child of God today that will not live a holy and pure life in his daily life (for he is afraid of criticism; afraid of being different; afraid he will lose his friends, his employment, even his wife in some cases). He will not give an answer of the hope that lies within him for that would identify him in the camp of the Christians and many people would desert him
When a “saved” man obeys the flesh instead of God’s Word, it only reveals:
- He is not Spirit-filled.
- He does not study God’s Word.
- He has not crossed the Jordan River and walks not by faith; but remains in the Wilderness of doubt, fear, and defeat, and walks by sight.
- He has no perception of God’s purpose for him in God’s Kingdom’s work.
- He has not the power to enter into the Kingdom of God and endure therein.
- If he is really born again, then his rejection and rebellion is going to be judged by God (Hebrews 10:29-31; 1 John 5:16; Matthew 12:30-31), the same as King Saul.
- Or according to Romans 8:1-17, he is not born again and not indwelt by the Spirit of God. He is carnal and following the flesh.
So, what do you fear? Man or God?
The answer to this question is very important. The consequences are great. Don’t be a Saul; but be a Caleb, a Joshua, a David, and be led of the Spirit and live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. Then you will walk in love, not fear.
(2 Timothy 1:9) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”