King Saul made some decisions that were against God’s commands. One instance of this was in 1 Samuel chapter 5 when Saul was supposed to wait for Samuel to come and offer sacrifice. Samuel had not come by the time he was supposed to and Saul was afraid to wait any longer so he took matters into his own hand. Shortly after Saul offered the sacrifice Samuel arrived. “Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.” (1 Samuel 13:11-13) Saul assumed he could do it his own way and God would still be pleased.
Another instance of Saul’s insubordination that we can read about is in chapter 15 of 1 Samuel. Saul had been commanded to destroy all of Amalek. Saul and his people instead decided to save some of the best animals for themselves. When confronted by Samuel, Saul tried to say he had done as he was commanded. Samuel knew better. “And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” (1Samuel 15:14) Samuel let Saul know how God felt about his actions. “And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1Samuel 15:22)
We cannot be like Saul and decide to do most of what God has commanded and expect Him to be pleased. We must study His word diligently and follow it completely.