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Lesson Note

Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Consequence of Obedience and Disobedience
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Indicate the rewards of obedience to divine laws,
ii. Point out some rewards of obedience to civil laws,
iii. Discuss the results of Saul’s disobedience,
iv. Recognise that sinful disobedience always bring sorrow,
v. Discuss how the consequences of disobedience may or may not be immediate.


Obedience is the act of doing what we are told to do. It is the willingness to obey commands and orders given to us by those who have authority over us.

Joseph Obedience to God’s Law (Exodus 20:14, Genesis 39:7 – 12)

The Ishmaelite bought Joseph from his brothers and took him to Egypt. Potiphar, an officer of Pharoah brought him to his house to serve him. Because of the favour of God on Joseph and his faithfulness to his master, his master (Potiphar) made him overseer in his house over all that he had.
Joseph was handsome and good looking. After sometime, Potiphar’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and asked him to lie with her. Joseph refused and said to her “lo, having me my master has no concern about anything in the house and he has put everything that he has in my hand; he is not greater in this hiuse than I am, nor has he kept anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? She continued speaking with Joseph day after day; he will not listen to her to lie with her or to be with her.
But one day when Joseph went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there, Potiphar’s wife caught Joseph by the cloth saying “lie with me”. He left the cloth in her hand and fled out of the house. She lied against Joseph that he wanted to rape her.
When Potiphar heard what his wife said against Joseph, he became angry and put him in prison.
Joseph obeyed the commandment of God in Exodus 20:14 which is “you shall not commit adultery”. Because of Joseph’s obedience to the commandment of God, he later became the prime minister of Egypt.

Consequences of Joseph’s Obedience

i. Joseph refused to sleep with Potipha’s wife and this landed him in prison. But because he was obedient to God, God was with him and showed him steadfast love and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. The keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s care the prisoners who were in prison.
ii. Whatever Joseph did, the Lord made it prosper.
iii. God later brought out Joseph from the prison and he became the prime minister in Egypt. His brothers came to him in Egypt and bowed to him.
David’s Obedience to Civil Rule (Exodus 20:13, 1 Samuel 26:1 – 12)
King Saul was after the life of David to kill him. David escaped to the care of Adullam, then from one place to another. The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and told him that David was hiding on the hill of Aachilah on the east of Jeshimon. So Saul arose and rose down to the wilderness of Ziph with three thousand chosen men of Israel to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. When David saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness he set out spies. David arose and came to the place where Saul encamped with his army.
David and Abishai the son of Zeruiah went to the camp by night; they saw Saul sleeping within the camp with spear stuck in the ground by his head. His army laid around him. Abishai said to David, God has given your enemy into your hand this day; now therefore let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and i will not strike him twice but David said unto Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put forth his hands against the Lord’s anointed, and be guitless”. David said “as the Lord lives, the Lord will smite him or his day shall come to die or he shall go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put forth my hands against the Lord’s anointed; but take now the spear and the jar of water, and let us go”. (1 Samuel 26:8 – 11). So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head and they went away. No one saw it or woke up from sleep because a deep sleep from the Lord fell upon them.
David obeyed the law of God in Exodus 20:13, “you shall not kill”.

Consequences of David’s Obedience

i. David had the opportunity to kill King Saul who had been after his life to kill him, but because of David’s obedience to the law of God, he refused to kill Saul. God preserved the life of David. He did not allow Saul to be able to kill him.
ii. Saul eventually died in battle as predicted by David. David became king in place of Saul.

Consequences Of Disobedience

Demand for King

As explained in earlier, Samuel Saul’s son whom he appointed judge over Israel did not walk in the ways of the Lord. They took bribe and perverted justice. This made the Israelites to lose confidence in them and therefore, demand for a king. More so, the people felt that all other nations around them had kings and so they should also have a king who could go out with them to fight their wars. Agitation for King was high among the people. Although this demand was displeasing to Samuel, God instructed him to go ahead and appoint a king for them. This led to the appointment of Saul as the first king of Israel.

Anointing of Saul by Samuel (1 Samuel 10:1 – 16)

Saul the son of Kish met Samuel for the first time when he went out with a servant to look for his father’s ass. The spirit of the Lord directed Samuel to anoint Saul king over Israel. Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him. Samuel informed Saul that the Lord has appointed him prince over his people, Israel. He would rule over the people of the Lord and would save them from the hands of their enemies. As a confirmation that the Lord actually anointed him prince over his people. Samuel gave him three signs which he would see when he left him. These signs were;
i. Two men will meet him at Rachel’s tomb and they will m
Inform him that the ass he went to look for has been found and that the father was anxious to see him.
ii. At Oak at Tabor, he would meet three men on their way to Bethel to worship, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread and another, a skin of wine. They will greet him and give him two loaves of bread.
iii. At Gibeathelohim, he would meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute and lyre. The spirit of the Lord would come mighty upon him; he would prophesy with them and would be transformed. He charged him that when these signs came to pass he should do whatever he could lay his hand on, for God was with him. Samuel also instructed him to go to Gilgal and wait there for him (Samuel) as he would go there to offer sacrifice.
All these signs actually came to pass and when he prophesied with the prophets, those who knew him before said to another, “what has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? (1 Samuel 10:11).

The Moral Lessons that can be derived from the signs given to Saul are:
i. When God is in a programme, signs follow, God guides His people in successful completion of the programmes.
ii. The word of true prophets is always fulfilled no matter the odds; God is not an author of confession. He clarifies issues for the sake of his words.
iii. God is interested in the leadership of His people, God authorizes His people and confirms them to His glory.

Saul’s Disobedience (1 Samuel 15:1 – 9)

Soon after the appointment of Saul as the King of Israel, God through Samuel gave him an assignment. He actually carried out the assignment, but according to instruction and this made him to be removed as the King of Israel. God through Samuel spoke to Saul thus:
“I will punish what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Samuel 15:3)
Saul organized his soldiers and went after the Amalekites and defeated them, but, rather than destroy everything as he was instructed, he took the best of things and destroyed worthless things, Above all, he speared Agag and brought him home. This was Saul’s major disobedience and God regretted making him king. When Samuel confronted him on the issue, he lied to Samuel. He said he carried out the instructions of the Lord. He did not know that the Lord had already revealed to Samuel all he had done. When Samuel questioned him on “the bleating of the sheeo and lowering of the oxen”, Saul claimed that it was the people that brought those things for sacrifice to the Lord. This was the case of gross indiscipline and lack of repentance. Saul knew he had disobeyed God and rather than admit his fault, he consistently shifted blame on the people.

Summary of the Circumstances that led to Rejection of Saul as King
i. Saul was made king over Israel by Samuel and was told to hearken to the word of the Lord.
ii. The Lord instructed Saul to punish the Amalekites for their opposition to the Israelites on their way from Egypt to Canaan.
iii. Saul was instructed to destroy the Amalekites and not to spare them but to kill men and women, infant and suckling, oxen and sheep.
iv. Saul actually carried out the assignment but not according to instruction.
v. He spared the best things for himself contray to God’s instruction to destroy everything.
vi. He spared Agag the King of Amalekites
vii. When confronted by Samuel, he defended himself by claiming that he brought those things to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Rather than show serious repentance he shifted the blame to the people.
viii. Samuel denounced his actions for acting in disobedience to God’s instruction and to this effect had to be rejected by God as the King of Israel.
ix. To worsen the situation, as Samuel turned back to go away from Saul, he held Samuel’s skirt and it got torn. Samuel declared that Saul has torn his robe; the Lord had torn the kingdom of Israel from him and given it to his neighbor.

Consequence of Saul’s Disobedience (1 Samuel 15:20 – 25, 16:14 – 23, 31:1 – 13)

Saul’s disobedience caused him the kingdom. Samuel announced his rejection as the King of Israel, Samuel said to Saul:
“For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel”. (1 Samuel 15:26).
As a result of disobedience, the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. Whenever this torment started he could only be relieved when he listened to music. It was because of this that David joined Saul’s service as he was very skillful in playing Lyre (1 Samuel 16:17 – 23).
The worst came during a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines on Mount Gilboa. Saul and his three sons – Jonathan, Malchishua and Abinadab died. The Philistines cut off his head, stripped off his amour and put it in the temple of Ashataroth and fastened his body to the wall of Bethsham. When the men of Jabeshgilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, they went and took his body and that of his sons and burnt them and buried their bones under Tamarisk and fasted for seven days.

Saul’s Major Punishment

i. Saul’s disobedience made him to be removed as the King of Israel.
ii. He suffered mental problems and was destroyed with his sons by the Philistines at Mount Gilboa.
Lessons to Learn
i. Christians should be obedient to God’s instructions for the reward of being obedient to God outweighs whatever they stand to gain by being disobedient.
ii. Saul failed because he was moved by greed. Therefore, in people’s life and in their day-to-day activities, they must not allow to be moved by greed for the consequence, in most cases, may be disastrous as was the case of Saul and his household.
iii. One’s favour with God can turn to sorrow once one starts living a disobedient and sinful life.
iv. Christians should live right and obedient life with God so that His favour and blessings upon them would remain permanent.
v. God is omniscient; man cannot do anything in secret without His knowledge
vi. Disobedience leads to suffering and condemnation from God. Saul suffered greatly; God allowed evil spirit to torment him.
vii. Disobedience can lead to a tragic end and Saul lost his life along with his three sons in battle.
ix. God’s plan for our lives can be distorted through disobedience.
x. Obedience is better than sacrifice and we should always accept responsibility for our actions rather than shifting blames.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. Narrate the first anointing of Saul by Samuel
ii. What are the practical lessons to be learnt from the consequences of Saul’s disobedience?
iii. What are the reasons for Saul’s disobedience?
iv. What circumstances led to the rejection of Saul as king over Israel?
v. Mention three lessons that can be learnt.
vi. Desrcibe the five signs given to Saul by Samuel as a proof that the Lord has anointed him king of Israel.
vii. What two moral qualities can be derived from this episode?
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