For the past several months our church has gone through 1 Samuel. What I really appreciate about our pastor is he takes a book and goes through it chapter by chapter - not skipping over verses that are hard or confusing or that make us uncomfortable. It is hard to take notes when you have a four year old sitting next to you in service, but thankfully I am auditory learner. So I retain enough if I've had a coffee on the way to church.
I don't think I really knew much about King Saul until recently. Sunday school lessons on flannel graphs focused on Samuel being called as a child, on David killing Goliath, and on David fleeing King Saul. I knew King Saul was not a great guy, but that was about it. I got to know him over the summer and early fall every Sunday morning. And honestly his story is depressing, but it shows you what unrepentance will do.
King Saul didn't do some things God wanted him to do and did some things God didn't want him to do. And then he lied about it. I read and reread the whole account in 1 Samuel 15 and I just cringe. My stomach churns because he lies to a prophet saying, "I have obeyed the voice of the Lord."
When he gets called on it King Saul is sorry that he has gotten caught, he is sorry that he is losing God's favor, but he is not sorry about his sin. He doesn't change his ways. He just wants to make things right enough to some how get something from God again without having to truly repent and obey.
There is a really sad verse at the end of chapter fifteen. "And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel, but Samuel grieved over Saul."
Samuel grieved over Saul. Samuel was not out to get Saul. Samuel did not take joy in calling him out. Samuel was grieved by the lack of change in Saul.
I read this and I want to tell Saul, "Just repent. God has grace. There may still be consequences for your sin, but seriously dude - just be truly sorry and change - God will give you grace." But Saul's pride gets in his way. His fear of people was greater than his fear of God.
I don't do a lot of praying on my blog, but sometimes that is the only way to have the words for all of the thoughts swirling around in my head.
You know my heart is broken for the situations where there is fear of people instead of You. For those who want comfort, an easy fix, a way out- break hearts because I think on some level they do feel bad, but not bad enough to ask You to help them change. Bring them to their knees and empower them to do the tough things that You require of Your followers.
And bring me to my knees. Keep me grieved so that I will continue to pray and not grow apathetic. Keep my heart fixed on you. Break my heart with the things that break yours. Keep me dependent on your grace, and by your Spirit give me the strength to not live in remorse but more than that to live a life of repentance.
May we never forget that You are not fooled by our works, our outward appearance, our church attendance or what others may say about us. Our sacrifice means nothing to You if we are not obeying, but we cannot obey on our own efforts. Thank You that You will change us if we give up the things we hold dear for the things You purchased for us by Your blood.