God gave Israel victory, but "Saul and the people" (1 Sam. 15:9) spared the Amalekite king, Agag, along with the best of the livestock. In spite of this insubordination, Saul had the audacity to build a monument to himself! (1 Sam. 15:12)
The sad story that unfolds in 1 Samuel 15 is one of stubborn refusal to admit wrong doing.
- In 15:13 Saul declares that he has performed the commandment of the Lord.
- In 15:14-15 when God's prophet, Samuel, asks Saul why he hears animals, Saul blames the people for sparing the flock (even though the text plainly says he did this in v. 9), and once again asserts he has been obedient.
- In 15:16 Samuel essentially says for Saul to "Shut up!" ("Stop!"), rebukes him for his disobedience.
- In 15:20-21 Saul has the gall to disagree with Samuel and again say he was obedient, and once again blames the people for the spoil.
God can forgive and use even the chiefest of sinners. But what can be done for a person who repeatedly refuses to acknowledge they are in the wrong, and constantly blames others for their mistakes? There is nothing left for the Lord to do but to reject them - because such an attitude shows that they have rejected Him (1 Sam. 15:26).