This (late) morning's reading is from First Samuel, chapters 15 and 16.
Saul is commanded to utterly destroy the Amalekites, disobeys, is warned that his kingly line will fail. David is anointed as the next king.
There's some things here we feel uncomfortable with. I certainly do. I grew up in the Mennonite church, a denomination that prizes non-violence, peace, non-resistance almost as much, unfortunately, as the Bible. Yet that is not necessarily what the Bible record reveals. Saul is here commanded to wipe out the Amalekites UTTERLY. Men, women, children, babies, sheep, goats, oxen, town. Utterly. That's not the image of an eternally smiling God, affably overlooking the most egregious sin, that we see preached in many pulpits and believed in by the majority of our neighbors.
We will not always understand the commandments of the Lord. We're not required to do so. What is required is to obey them, simply because they're His commandments. (Not suggestions, by the way). For,
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams. (see also Mark 12:33)
Saul disobeyed. Not only did it cost him his kingdom, but ultimately his life, the lives of his sons. And it left a mess that we still deal with today, the heathens that live in bondage to the lie of Islam that pollutes the Middle East (and, probably, your town as well).
All from disobedience more than 3000 years ago.
This afternoon's reading is from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 14, verses 25 through 35.
A series of stark warnings, such as
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple
Scripture is full of warnings that we must seek Him ''with all your heart'', ''seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God'', ''You shall love the LORD your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength'', and many others. No place here for fence straddlers, for the 'yes and no' doubleminded. Dedication. Commitment. Jesus had it. So must we.
One of the great curses of the modern church is the desire to have one foot in Heaven and one foot in the cares of the world. That's not what He teaches.