1 Samuel 15

Talks for Growing Christians

Saul’s Partial Obedience in Failing to Destroy the Amalekites

1 Samuel 15

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Lesson Number 17

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Obedience is better than sacrifice.
  2. Obedience is better than repentance.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t build monuments to yourself.


  1. Why did the Lord call for total destruction of the Amalekites?
  2. Did Saul follow God’s command to utterly destroy the Amalekites?
  3. How did Saul justify his selective obedience?
  4. What was a result of Saul’s disobedience?


  1. a. God did not want the idolatry and immorality of the Amalekites or any of the pagan peoples of the land to infiltrate and corrupt God’s people through intermarriage or other cultural ties.
    b. Because of the Amalekites’ past sin of attacking Israel in the wilderness. This command of God was just and righteous punishment.
    c. All of the battles against the enemies of God’s people in the Old Testament picture the spiritual warfare of believers today.
  2. No, he kept alive King Agag and all of the best animals in the flocks and herds.
  3. He told Samuel that he planned to sacrifice the animals to the Lord. He also shifted the blame to the people.
  4. Samuel told Saul again that God had rejected him from being king over Israel.


  1. To obey is better than sacrifice. This biblical truth is just as true today. Discuss how it can be lived out in a believer’s life.
  2. Obedience is better than repentance. Many Christian leaders who were once greatly used of God have been set aside from their position of leadership, because of disobedience. Even though many have repented and been restored to the Lord, the consequences of their disobedience limits their future ministry. Discuss this sad truth.


  1. Do you try to build monuments to yourself in the way you describe your good deeds to others? Self monuments are an indication of pride. Let God build your monuments.

Key Verses

  • “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” 1 Samuel 15:11
  • “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” 1 Samuel 15:22

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