Small Sins

1 Samuel 13:1-14
“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have
not kept the command the Lord your God gave
you. . . . Now your kingdom must end, for
the Lord has sought out a man after His own
heart” (vv.13-14).

Fish farmers in the southern U.S. had a small
problem. Algae was filling their ponds, so they took
the seemingly innocent step of importing Asian
carp—which can grow to 100 pounds and eat 40
percent of their body weight each day—to clean the
bottom of their ponds. But flooding swept the carp into
the Mississippi River, which they navigated until they
entered the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a mere
40 miles from Lake Michigan.
Now the entire region has a large problem, for if the
Asian carp reach Lake Michigan, their insatiable appetite
for plankton may upset the food chain and disrupt the
Great Lakes’ $7 billion-per-year fishing industry.
Little acts can have large consequences. King Saul lost
his kingdom for two small sins. His first mistake was not
waiting for Samuel to arrive to offer sacrifices. But who
can blame him? Samuel was late (from Saul’s perspective)
and Saul’s army was slipping away. If Saul didn’t seek
the Lord’s favor soon, he would go to war without God’s
blessing (1 Samuel 13:5-9).
Saul’s second failure came on the heels of a signature
victory. His armies defeated the Amalekites; but rather
than destroy everything as God had commanded, Saul
and his men “kept the best of the sheep and goats, the
cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact,
that appealed to them” (1 Samuel 15:9).
The root of these seemingly insignificant sins was the sin of fear. Saul feared
losing his army, either by not offering the sacrifice fast enough or by sacrificing
something his men wanted. But he feared his men more than he feared God, and
God responded by revoking his kingship.
Learn the lesson of Saul: some sins are understandable, but none are
excusable—and all are devastating. —Mike Wittmer

• 1 Samuel 15:1-23
• Luke 16:10-13
• Acts 5:27-32
Do you feel pressured
by circumstances or
other people to do
something that you know
is wrong? How might
you use this opportunity
to demonstrate your trust
in God?