1 Samuel 15:3, 7-9
3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'”
Go in and destroy everything! Go to battle and don’t take any spoils with you! It’s weird command form God on two levels: first it seems shocking that would command Saul and his army to be so ruthless. Second, it’s quite unusual for an army to receive no spoils of war. After all battle after battle the Israelites were allowed to take the spoils. But here, God commands them to do something very different. Why? Because it is a test of their hearts. It’s a test of Saul’s heart and his leadership.
As Saul’s army rushed into battle the test had been laid out. Would his army follow God’s ways or Saul’s ways? In a moment of total failure, Saul and his army does the very opposite of what God commanded. They spared lives and took the spoils. This battle was never about winning ground or security, it was about whether or not Saul would follow God or his own corrupt heart.
Too many times do we hear the cry, “Follow your heart.” How can you follow your heart when your heart leads you astray? Our hearts, on their own are no different than Saul’s. And like Saul we too have failed many a test given by God. With all those failures you might think that God would give up on us. After all, he stripped the crown away from Saul, what’s keeping Him from doing the same to us?
Well, God’s promise to us is what makes us different than Saul. God made a promise to us that he would take our sinful hearts and remove them and replace them with new hearts of flesh. Hearts that would be sensitive to His Spirit and His leading. Hearts that would long to follow Jesus before following our own desires. God, through baptism performs heart surgery, removing our dead heart and giving us a new one. And now, ever test is a chance to have the heart strengthened in faith to follow Jesus.
What God given test might you be going through right now that is meant to strengthen that heart of faith beating inside of you?