I Samuel 15:22-23
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as greatdelight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams.
For rebellion
[is] as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is] as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.

Saul disobeyed God, which led to the loss of his kingdom; and above all, the presence of God in his life. We cannot ignore the word of God and choose our own path. When we do this, we violate God’s will, and this leads to correction from Him whatever form this may take. God requires total obedience to His instructions. Even when we fail, He still expects us to resume the work He called us to do. Failure often occurs because we are finite beings and things happen which often take us off our course, but we must get back to the work we were called to do.

Partial Obedience1

The book of Haggai reports the attitudes of the returning exiles who began the re-building of the Temple which was destroyed during the invasion of the enemy. Some were killed, and some were taken captives. However, the time came when there were those who returned to their homeland with ardour and zeal to re-build the magnificent Temple which was built by King Solomon and fallen into ruins at the hands of the invaders. The people began the work, but after a short time they stopped and took care of their own affairs. They became complacent and lost interest, and this displeased God. In response, He cautioned them, “Consider your ways.” God was not pleased.

Similar to King Saul, the people began with good intentions, but did not follow through with the plan. They laid the foundations, but soon lost interest and enthusiasm to continue with the work. When interest fails discouragement enters and this leads to weakness and even indolence. People will make excuses and cast blame on others as Saul did when he blamed the people for his behaviour [I Samuel 15:21].

Discouragement is one of Satan’s deadly tools which he uses against the people of God. Enthusiasm creates interest and gives the impetus to do unthinkable things and to reach unreachable goals. However, when the spirit of discouragement enters the life of the believer, everything comes to a halt and opens the door to depression which saps the individual and causes him to even remove from social activities. While good intentions will motivate interest and action, there must be perseverance, faithfulness, and integrity to face the challenges and to remain steadfast [I Corinthians 15:58].

In the book of Haggai, we read that the people began the work, but did not complete the assignment. While Samuel chastised Saul about his failure to obey God; the prophet Haggai encouraged the people to be strong and return to the re-building of the Temple. “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:” [Haggai 2:4]. The prophet encouraged the people to continue because God with them.

When God is in the midst, there can be no excuse for failure or even discouragement. Inspite of the difficulties which we often face when we are working for the Lord, we must not stop working but continue and trust His wisdom to take us through to the end. Saul allowed the people to veer him off from the instructions which he was given. With the exiles, their own interests led them into lethargy and disinterest which resulted in discouragement. God will not accept partial work, nor will He receive any excuses from us when He gives us work to do.

If we fail to carry out God’s plan for our lives, or neglect our duties as believers, Satan will seize the opportunity to gain access into our lives. He takes us unawares and leads us into a state of dissatisfaction which leads to self-doubt, and criticisms. We blame others for lack of growth and personal development similar to the man with the one talent who displayed the same attitude when confronted by the disappointed employer [Matthew 25:24-25]. The spirit of discouragement looks at other people and wonder how they got what they have while you are suffering, or life is too difficult for you to handle.

The people in Haggai did not blame anyone; they just became disenchanted with the building. They quickly gave in to the negative spirits which took over their lives, and which erased the desire to re-build the Temple. Some of them remembered the splendour of the former edifice and may be could not see another one as impressive and beautiful. However, the mistake they made was that they did not consider God that He was in their midst, and it was His desire for the building to be completed.

Are you doing what God called you to do?
Have you left your first love to serve idols, and worldly fleshly desires?
What is your mission and purpose in the ministry?
Are you where God wants you to be?

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