After King Saul had disobeyed God in failing to destroy Amalek, Samuel told Saul “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1Sam. 15:23).
I have always found this verse to be very interesting. God told Saul what He wanted done in no uncertain terms (1 Sam. 15:3). Saul’s disobedience was an act of rebellion. To rebel against the will of God is like practicing the sin of witchcraft. Rebellion is resistance to or defiance of authority. Bob Winton writes that, “Witchcraft is a system that was invented to replace God’s arrangement” (Outlined Commentary of 1 Samuel, pg. 66). So in going against the will of God, in defying God’s commands, Saul was replacing what God told him to do with what he wanted to do. Hence his rebellion was likened to witchcraft.
To be “stubborn” is to refuse to obey or comply. Idolatry is the worship of something or someone other than Jehovah God. Therefore, in his refusal to obey the will of God, King Saul was guilty of idolatry. He placed his will above the will of God and in essence was guilty of self-worship.
Let us ever be on guard against the stubborn and rebellious frame of mind. We do not want to be guilty of what amounts to witchcraft and idolatry and we do not want to be rejected by God.