In the first reading today from 1 Samuel 15, we see a bit of the sneakiness of King Saul. Samuel has to call him out on it. More in a moment. In the Gospel reading from Mark 2, Jesus talks about pouring new wine into old wineskins. It just doesn’t work. What He means is that when we try to pour the new wine of the Spirit into our old selves (the old wineskin), it won’t cut it. We must become a new creation in Christ.
God gave Saul a mission. Now, Saul fulfilled the mission, but he took things one step too far. After defeating the Amalekites, he “pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the Lord.” Saul justified his actions, saying that he did it so that his men could offer a fine sacrifice to the Lord. God wasn’t buying it. Samuel tells him, “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams…Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”
One of Saul’s big mistakes was thinking that the ends justify the means. Another was that he thought that he knew better than God. How often do we fall into that same kind of hubris? “Well, God, you’re just a little off base…I’ll make sure and set things right.” We must remember that God’s way is the best way. And when we are obedient to His will, things will always work out for the best.
Father, teach us to be obedient to you. Take from us that arrogance that tells us that we know better than you. Amen.