SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (EGW)


Chapter 15

2, 3 (Exodus 17:14-16). Destruction of Amalek Not to Add to Israel's Possessions—God did not wish His people to possess anything which belonged to the Amalekites, for His curse rested upon them and their possessions. He designed that they should have an end, and that His people should not preserve anything for themselves which He had cursed. He also wished the nations to see the end of that people who had defied Him, and to mark that they were destroyed by the very people they had despised. They were not to destroy them to add to their own possessions, or to get glory to themselves, but to fulfill the Word of the Lord spoken in regard to Amalek (The Spirit of Prophecy 1:364). 2BC 1016.3

3. Amalek Used Gifts With No Thought of Giver—That wicked people [the Amalekites] were dwelling in God's world, the house which he had prepared for His faithful, obedient children. Yet they appropriated His gifts to their own use, without one thought of the Giver. The more blessings He poured upon them, the more boldly they transgressed against Him. Thus they continued to pervert His blessings and abuse His mercy.... 2BC 1016.4

Our gracious God still bears long with the impenitent. He gives them light from heaven, that they may understand the holiness of His character, and the justice of His requirements. He calls them to repentance, and assures them of His willingness to forgive. But if they continue to reject His mercy, the mandate goes forth devoting them to destruction (The Signs of the Times, August 24, 1882). 2BC 1016.5

10-23. Stubbornness Made Saul's Case Hopeless—It was Saul's stubbornness that made his case hopeless, and yet how many venture to follow his example. The Lord in mercy sends words of reproof to save the erring, but they will not submit to be corrected. They insist that they have done no wrong, and thus resist the Spirit of God (The Review and Herald, May 7, 1895). 2BC 1016.6

17. God Guides the Humble and Consecrated—[1 Samuel 15:17 quoted.] Here Samuel points out the reason for Saul's appointment to the throne of Israel. He had a humble opinion of his own capabilities, and was willing to be instructed. When the divine choice fell upon him, he was deficient in knowledge and experience, and had, with many good qualities, serious defects of character. But the Lord granted him the Holy Spirit as a guide and helper, and placed him in a position where he could develop the qualities requisite for a ruler of Israel. 2BC 1016.7

Should he trust to his own strength and judgment, Saul would move impulsively, and would commit grave errors. But if he would remain humble, seeking constantly to be guided by divine wisdom, and advancing as the providence of God opened the way, he would be enabled to discharge the duties of his high position with success and honor. Under the influence of divine grace, every good quality would be gaining strength, while evil traits would as steadily lose their power. 2BC 1016.8

This is the work which the Lord proposes to do for all who consecrate themselves to Him (The Signs of the Times, September 7, 1882, reprinted in The Review and Herald, November 8, 1887). 2BC 1017.1

Those Who Feel Insufficient Will Receive Help—Whatever the position in which God has placed us, whatever our responsibilities or our dangers, we should remember that He has pledged Himself to impart needed grace to the earnest seeker. Those who feel insufficient for their position, and yet accept it because God bids them, relying upon His power and wisdom, will go on from strength to strength. When they enter upon their work, they may have almost everything to learn; but with Christ as a teacher they will become efficient laborers. God does not intrust His work to the worldly wise; for they are too proud to learn. He chooses those who, feeling their deficiencies, seek to be guided by unerring wisdom (The Signs of the Times, September 7, 1882, reprinted in The Review and Herald, November 8, 1887). 2BC 1017.2

Become Sensitive to Little Digressions—There are many whom He has called to positions in His work for the same reason that He called Saul,—because they are little in their own sight, because they have a humble and teachable spirit. In His providence He places them where they may learn of Him. To all who will receive instruction He will impart grace and wisdom. It is His purpose to bring them into so close connection with Himself that Satan shall have no opportunity to pervert their judgment or overpower their conscience. He will reveal to them their defects of character, and bestow upon all who seek His aid, strength to correct their errors. Whatever may be man's besetting sin, whatever bitter or baleful passions struggle for the mastery, he may conquer, if he will watch and war against them in the name and strength of Israel's Helper. The children of God should cultivate a keen sensitiveness to sin. Here, as well as elsewhere, we should not despise the day of small things. It is one of Satan's most successful devices, to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind the mind to the danger of little indulgences, little digressions from the plainly stated requirements of God. Many who would shrink with horror from some great transgression, are led to look upon sin in little matters as of trifling consequence. But these little sins eat out the life of godliness in the soul. The feet which enter upon a path diverging from the right way are tending toward the broad road that ends in death. When once a retrograde movement begins, no one can tell where it may end.... 2BC 1017.3

We must learn to distrust self and to rely wholly upon God for guidance and support, for a knowledge of His will, and for strength to perform it (The Signs of the Times, September 7, 1882, reprinted in The Review and Herald, November 8, 1887). 2BC 1017.4

22. God Did Not Want Spoil of Corrupt People—[1 Samuel 15:22 quoted.] God required of His people obedience rather than sacrifice. All the riches of the earth were His. The cattle upon a thousand hills belonged to Him. He did not require the spoil of a corrupt people, upon whom His curse rested, even to their utter extinction, to be presented to Him to prefigure the holy Saviour, as a lamb without blemish (The Spirit of Prophecy 1:365). 2BC 1017.5

23. See EGW on Numbers 16:1-50, Vol. 1, p. 1114. 2BC 1017.6

Saul a Failure—The first king of Israel proved a failure, because he set his will above the will of God. Through the prophet Samuel the Lord instructed Saul that as king of Israel his course of action must be one of strictest integrity. Then God would bless his government with prosperity. But Saul refused to make obedience to God his first consideration, and the principles of heaven the government of his conduct. He died in dishonor and despair (Manuscript 151, 1899). 2BC 1017.7

Pretended Righteousness Used as Cloak—Many who profess to be serving God are in the same position as Saul,—covering over ambitious projects, pride of display, with a garment of pretended righteousness. The Lord's cause is made a cloak to hide the deformity of injustice, but it makes the sin of tenfold greater enormity (MS la, 1890). 2BC 1017.8

Self-justification Keeps One in Darkness—Those whose deeds are evil, will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved and their real characters revealed. If they continue in the path of transgression, and sever themselves entirely from the Redeemer, stubbornness, and sullenness, and a spirit of revenge will take possession of them, and they will say to their own souls, Peace, peace, when there is every reason that they should be alarmed, for their steps are directed toward destruction. As Saul resisted the reproofs of the servant of the Lord, this spirit took possession of him. He defied the Lord, he defied His servant, and his enmity toward David was the outworking of the murderous spirit that comes into the heart of those who justify themselves in the face of their guilt (The Signs of the Times, June 22, 1888). 2BC 1017.9

28. David and Saul Contrasted—David and Saul stand before us in this history as men widely different in character. The course of David makes manifest the fact that he regarded the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom. But Saul was shorn of his strength, because he failed to make obedience to God's commandments the rule of his life. It is a fearful thing for a man to set his will against the will of God, as revealed in his specified requirements. All the honor that a man could receive on the throne of a kingdom, would be a poor compensation for the loss of the favor of God through an act of disloyalty to heaven. Disobedience to the commandments of God can only bring disaster and dishonor at last. God has given to every man his work, just as truly as he appointed to Saul the government of Israel; and the practical and important lesson to us is to accomplish our appointed work in such a manner that we may meet our life records with joy, and not with grief (The Signs of the Times, September 7, 1888). 2BC 1018.1

34, 35. Samuel Active in Retirement—After Israel had rejected Samuel as ruler of the nation, though well qualified for public labor, the prophet sought retirement. He was not superannuated, for he presided as teacher in the school of the prophets. This service for his God was a pleasant service (The Signs of the Times, October 19, 1888). 2BC 1018.2