Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 1, 1966
NUMBER 30, PAGE 5c-6a

Punished For Disobedience

Daniel I. Hiler

When God commanded Saul, the first king of Israel, to destroy all the Amalekites and all their live stock, Saul destroyed all the people, except the king, and all the vile and refuse of the stock. But he and the people saved alive "the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and of the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them, but took them back to Israel to sacrifice them to God. For this failure to obey, the prophet Samuel rebuked him, and God took the kingdom away from him. Now let's look at what Saul did. He did nearly everything God told him to do, but saved the good -- the best of those animals which according to law were proper to sacrifice and purposed to sacrifice them. God was at that time requiring the Israelites to offer just such animals. What Saul did was not wrong in itself. It would not have been wrong at all if God had not told him not to do it. His sin was not in saving the best of the spoils of war to sacrifice to God, but in disobeying God. Samuel said to him, "Hath Jehovah as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." (1 Sam.15:1-29.)

While the Israelites were in the wilderness, God commanded them to stone to death a man who had been gathering sticks on the sabbath. Now the act of gathering sticks is not a sin and never has been. And, in itself, it is not a sin to gather sticks on any particular day of the week. But when God said, Don't do any work on the sabbath, it became sin to gather sticks on that day. God did not command the Israelites to put the man to death for gathering sticks on the sabbath, but for disobeying him. (Num.15:32-36.)

During the time between Jesus' resurrection and his ascension, he told his apostles to make disciples of all the nations and to baptize them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19) The command to the apostles to baptize the disciples implies a command to the disciples to submit to being baptized. If Jesus had not said to be baptized, it would have been no sin for a person to go all through life without being baptized. But Jesus has commanded all to be baptized. (See also Acts 2:38; 10:48.)

Note to the editor: This article has not been published but will likely be published soon in The Dilley Herald, weekly with a circulation of about 500.