“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:9-10 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Yesterday we looked at King David’s sin and repentance. Now let’s go back a few years in history to David’s predecessor, King Saul. This was a time in Israel’s history when God ruled the people through the prophets. It was known as a theocracy, but after a while, the people grew tired of being ruled by God. They decided that they wanted a King to rule over them…just like all the other nations. So God allowed them to have a King, and appointed a man named Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin. At first, Saul was terrified of his new assignment. In fact, at his coronation, they found him hiding among the baggage! However, he eventually settled into his new role and began enjoying all the perks.
God anointed Saul with the Holy Spirit and he even received the gift of prophesy. He led Israel into victory on several battlefields and depended on God for wisdom and strength…for a while.
But after a few months, Saul’s confidence rose to the danger level, and he began to take matters into his own hands. Before going battle against the Philistines, Saul and his men were waiting on Samuel to offer the needed sacrifices to the LORD. After seven days, the time set by Samuel the prophet himself, Saul grew tired of waiting and his men began to get restless.
Oh how hard can it be, thought Saul. I’ll just offer the sacrifice myself.
So Saul went against the commands of God and made himself a priest.
Samuel arrived just as Saul was putting the finishing touches on the altar.
“What have you done?” Samuel exclaimed!
“It’s all your fault,” Saul protested. “When you didn’t come, the men started shaking in their sandals and scattering like flies. I had to do something! So I offered the sacrifice myself.”
Saul didn’t admit that he had done anything wrong. Rather he tried to justify his actions, placed the blame on someone else, and held his head high.
And that was the beginning of the end for Saul.
Did he learn his lesson? Oh, no. Just a few pages later, we see how he disobeyed God once again. God told him to go into battle against the Amalekites and destroy every living thing – taking no plunder for himself. However, during the attack, he spared the Amalekite King and kept the best sheep, cattle, and everything that was good.
Once again, the prophet Samuel confronted Saul.
“I did everything the LORD commanded,” Saul boasted. (Like God wouldn’t know the difference.)
“Oh yeah,” Samuel replied. “Then what’s that baah noise I hear in the background?”
“Oh that. Well, we did take the best of the sheep and the cattle…to offer sacrifices to the LORD you understand.”
Once again, Saul did not show any remorse for what he had done. Once again he justified his actions, placed blame on someone else, and held his head high.
“Stop it! Just stop it!” Samuel yelled in frustration. “God doesn’t want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey Him. Haven’t you figured that out by now?”
Unlike David, Saul was not sorry for what he had done. He was just sorry he got caught.
As a result, God took his kingdom away. He was finished.
Receiving God’s grace and forgiveness has everything to do with our heart attitude toward the sin. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Dear LORD, forgive me when I’ve been like Saul and justified or tried to hide my sin. Help me be more like David – truly repentant for the wrong I’ve done. Thank You for forgiving me completely and wholly when I come and with a humble heart.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you see as the difference between David and Saul when confronted with their sin?
On a continuum from pride and brokenness, where do you fall in regard to your sin?
This is very important. Today’s lesson is not to make you carry around guilt. It is to bring you to a place of repentance so that God can bless you. Let me share one more section from Your Scars are Beautiful to God.
God wants us to be broken over our sins, but then He takes those broken pieces and binds us back together to make us stronger and more useful than ever before. As long as we are clinging to the pieces of our broken lives, they remain just that…broken pieces.
Won’t you open your clenched fist and offer your shattered past as a sacrifice to the Savior? He will heal you! He will use you! He will make you stronger than before!
(Ken Gire, Windows of the Soul (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1996), p. 194.)
I’ve learned that a broken bone that has mended is strongest at its place of healing. Likewise, scar tissue is tougher and more resilient than virgin flesh. God can take the wounds of our lives and make us stronger than before.
Saul’s light was snuffed out. David’s shone brighter than before.
Before Jesus went to the cross, he served his disciples their last meal together. He broke bread which represented his body and passed the cup of wine, which represented his blood. This sacrament, often referred to as the Lord’s Supper, has been celebrated for centuries. Isn’t it interesting that both the wine and the bread are made through crushing – both grain and grapes. Could it be that our lives, through crushing and brokenness, serve as a living sacrament or testimony, as a reminder of what Christ has done in our lives?
The closest communion with God comes, I believe, through the sacrament of tears. Just as grapes are crushed to make wine and grain to make bread, so the elements of this sacrament come from the crushing experiences of life.
More From The Girlfriends
Want to learn more about how God takes the broken pieces of our lives and turns them into a beautiful masterpiece of ministry? Then you’ll want to read Your Scars are Beautiful to God. It also comes with a study guide.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Monday, 23 March 2009.