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Afraid of the People
Bible Passage 1 Samuel 15:24-31
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books 1 Samuel, Deuteronomy, Exodus.

Afraid of the People

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached January 31, 2023

24 “I’ve sinned,” Saul replied to Samuel. “I’ve broken the LORD’s command and your word, because I was afraid of the people and listened to them.

25 Now, please forgive my sin and return with me so I may worship the LORD.”

26 Samuel told Saul, “I won’t return with you because you have rejected the message from the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

27 As Samuel turned to go Saul seized him by the corner of his robe, and it tore.

28 Samuel told him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and he has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.

29 Moreover, the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he’s not a man that he should change his mind.”

30 “I’ve sinned,” Saul said. “But please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me so I may worship the LORD your God.”

31 Samuel returned, following Saul, and Saul worshipped the LORD.


When the Israelites settled in Canaan, they wanted a king like their neighbours had earthly kings. So God asked Samuel to anoint Saul as the first king of Israel.

The Amalekites lived in the land that was between southern Israel and the country of Egypt. They did not build many towns. Instead, they lived in tents and wandered about the land. They attacked the Israelites and other nations. The Amalekites tried to stop the Israelites in Exodus 17:8-16. So God said that He would destroy the Amalekites completely (Exodus 17:14 and Deuteronomy 25:17-19).

The Amalekites came under the same curse as those Canaanite nations that were to be destroyed (1 Sam. 15:1-3; Ex 17:8-16; Deut 20:16-18; 25:17-19 ). The Amalekites had often attacked the Israelites so now God wanted to wipe them away as He had earlier promised.

God gave specific instructions to Saul…
“Go and attack the Amalekites. Completely destroy everything that lives. Do not save anything. Kill the men and women, children and babies. Kill their cows and sheep. Kill their camels and donkeys”.

But Saul did not obey God’s clear commands. Instead, Saul did what he thought was right. Saul did not kill the Amalekite king and all the animals as God instructed.

God wanted the king of the Israelites to follow and obey him. He wanted a king that He could trust. God wanted the king to love Him. He wanted the king to give Him honour. But Saul did not behave like this. God was sad that Saul had not obeyed Him. Samuel was very sad about this too.

God sent Samuel to tell Saul of the consequences of his disobedience.

At last, Saul confessed that he had sinned. But he did not realize that God would not change His decision to punish him. So, Samuel had to repeat what God had said. Saul sinned because he was afraid of the people. So, he did what they said instead of what God commanded. This was a foolish way to behave. The way to become wise is to fear the Lord (Proverbs 9:10).

Verses 27-28 are like picture language. Saul had turned away from following the Lord. The Lord did not want the Israelites to turn away from Him too. The new king of a country is usually the son of the previous king. But God took His authority away from Saul. God gave it to one of Saul’s ‘neighbours’, not to one of his family. This man was David. David was better than Saul because David obeyed the Lord.

Religious sacrifices and military victories were no substitute for obedience. Samuel had given Saul God’s instructions, but Saul, by acting independently of those instructions, had rebelled against God. He had proved himself unfit to be king of God’s people.

No appeal from Saul could alter the fact that God was going to replace him as king of Israel (24-29). The most that Samuel could do for him was to accompany him in a final act of public worship.

Although not removed immediately from the kingship, Saul lost forever the services of Samuel.

🔷 Victories and success do not mean we should turn away from God who grants them to us

🔷 God will punish our disobedience and dishonour us if we dishonour Him

🔷 We cannot bribe our ways to get to God.

💥 Pray to be able to obey God always
💥 Ask for God’s guidance and not rejection

We must obey God more if He grants us success and victory. His instructions cannot be altered for any reason. Human beings should not direct their path against the word of God.

In series Bright Morning Reflections