“Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice’” (1 Samuel 15:24).
We often speak to our children about the dangers of letting their friends influence the choices they make for themselves? We call this peer pressure. But, as adults don’t we also face peer pressure?
Through the prophet Samuel, God had commanded King Saul and the Israelite army to destroy all of the Amalekites including all their animals (1 Samuel 15:1-3). God had granted them a great victory over their enemies, but Saul spared the Amalekite king Agag and some of the animals (1 Samuel 15:7-9). Why did Saul do this and would he face consequences for not obeying God’s command?
God sends the prophet Samuel to confront Saul about Saul’s failure to carry out God’s command (1 Samuel 15:10-12). As Samuel arrives, King Saul says, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord” (1 Samuel 15:13). It appears Saul had convinced himself he had actually performed God’s command to destroy all the Amalekites and their animals when in fact he had not (cf. 1 Samuel 15:15, 20-21).
However, Samuel knew the truth of Saul’s failure to keep God’s command. Samuel says, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” (1 Samuel 15:14). The noise of the sheep and oxen announced to all that Saul had forsaken God’s instruction.
Why had Saul not kept God’s command? After initially denying he had done anything wrong and trying to justify his actions (cf. 1 Samuel 15:15, 20-21), Saul tells Samuel why he failed to keep God’s command to destroy all the Amalekites. As the opening verse above indicates, he “feared the people and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24). Saul gave in to PEER PRESSURE.
Often, we tend to think that teenagers are the only ones who face peer pressure. However, as we see with King Saul, adults face peer pressure as well. For example, why don’t more Christians stand up for what the Bible says regarding the essentiality of a person needing to be baptized in order to be saved when talking amongst a group of “believers” from other “Christian” churches? Why don’t more followers of Christ take a stand when in the company of their coworkers or friends with regard to what God’s Word has to say about such sins as homosexuality? The answer is: Peer pressure. We feel the pressure from our peers not to say or do anything which is contrary to popular opinion!
I am not suggesting we should go out and intentionally upset people by seeing how blunt we can be with regard to the teachings of the Bible. I believe God expects us to use wisdom and to choose our words carefully. Solomon wrote, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). We should use wisdom and discretion regarding the words we use and the tone in which we use them when trying to teach others God’s Word.
On the other hand, we need to be conscious that we face peer pressure today and need to challenge ourselves not to give into it. I rejoice that God has given me His Word. I acknowledge that peer pressure is a real temptation that I face. Today, I will strive today to keep all of God’s commands and not give into peer pressure.
“I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings and will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love” (Psalm 119:46-47).