How often do we find ourselves looking at the things which we did during the day and were satisfied with them? "Well I helped that old gal carry her groceries, and I helped haul some stuff for my friends, and I got all my work done early, I was great today!" (Ok maybe a bit over the top excited, but you get the point.) So we pat ourselves on the back and say, Oh what a good boy am I.
Saul did much the same thing. The Lord told him to go out and defeat and utterly destroy the Amalekites. So Saul kills all the people and destroys the bad things, but he saves the King Agag and all the good sheep and oxen and all the good things to sacrifice to the Lord. He thinks to himself, Oh what a good boy am I. I did as the Lord commanded and even brought back the goods to show the Lord how much he means to the people of Israel.
Samuel puts him in his place. Saul you didn't do as the Lord commanded. You didn't fulfill His will perfectly and so You can no longer be king. He fell short and so he is punished for it.
We are the Sauls of today. Ok, well what does Jesus say. Love your neighbor and then Paul spells it out in 1 Corinthians 13. We say we have love and helped our neighbor and say to God, See what I have done for you. Then God says, You wicked servant who does not do exactly as I have commanded. Have you been perfectly patient and kind to your neighbor? have you been rude or arrogant? Have you borne all things for your neighbor? The answer is a resounding no. No, we haven't. We have patted ourselves on the back too soon and have not seen that we cannot love our neighbor as God desires. And so punishment and ruin was to be our end.
The Lord had mercy on Saul. Saul repented for what he had failed to do. He saw that he had sinned against the Lord command. So he clings to the robe of Samuel that the Lord might have mercy upon him. And the Lord does. And Samuel made intercession to right the wrongs of Saul.
We too have one who interceded for us, but in a much greater way: Jesus Christ our Lord.
God himself saw our sorry state, saw our helpless condition and came down from heaven, and suffered and died perfectly obedient to what God had desired. And in his death Jesus Christ took our sins and our shortcomings and paid for them with his blood that we might remain with Him in joy and happiness throughout all eternity.
So remember that when you help your neighbor, don't be so quick to pat yourself on the back. You could always do more. But more importantly remember that Your Lord Jesus Christ paid for your shortcomings with his perfection, that those sins of yours are forgiven, and that you shall be forever in good standing with God on account of what Christ has done.