This chapter frightens me. Why, you ask? Because of passages like Romans 11:22, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off." True, Romans 11:22 is directed generally at the whole of all Gentiles. Yet, I am a Gentile. And, I regretfully admit that I deserve His severity daily. He has been good to me thus far because of His mercy and grace, but I fear that I have pulled Saul-like stunts MANY times in my Christian life.
Now, what do I mean by a "Saul-like" stunt? Well, Saul obeyed God as far as it served his own purposes, but as soon as Saul thought he could see an advantage for himself in disobedience... well, he did an about-face and left God behind. Partial obedience with pragmatic and materialistic motives was the defining philosophy of Saul's life. And, God condemned Him for it. More precisely, he condemned himself. Samuel condemned him. And, we condemn him. But, Romans 2:22 asks, "You who say a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you commit sacrilege?" Oh, it is with deep grief that I cry out as the great prophet did in Isaiah 6:5, "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips..."
In this chapter we find that God told Saul through Samuel to completely eradicate the Amalekites and everything that they possessed. Saul obeyed to a degree. He did most of what God said. But, when he saw that some of the stuff was valuable, he refused to destroy it as he had been specifically commanded. Of course, he got caught. We all will be caught, won't we (Galatians 6:7, Hebrews 12:6, Ecclesiastes 12:14 & Numbers 32:23)? How horrifying though! Let's cast our hope upon our longsuffering Lord and the promise of 1 Corinthians 11:31, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."