"Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying: ‘I regret making Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not performed My commands.'"
I Samuel 15: 10, 11, Amplified Bible
"What Our Father Regrets"
"Divine love can rake a dunghill, and find a diamond."
C. H. Spurgeon
What do I think it meant for God to say He regretted choosing Saul as the king?
Is there any time in my life when I feel I did something that made God "regret" the situation in my life?
"Love is the greatest thing that God can give us; for Himself is love; and it is the greatest thing we can give to God; for it will also give ourselves and carry with it all that is ours."
"God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is."
Many years ago, when I was causing my parents more headaches than you can imagine, I had a major fight with my dad, and in the heat of the moment I lashed-out and said, "I bet you wish I had never been born."
I can't tell you what it was like to see such a look of pain cross his face. And before I could say another word, he quickly replied, "I couldn't even think what it would be like not to have you." Even when my choices were causing him great concern, his first expression was one of warmth and love - acceptance and forgiveness.
This particular incident came to my mind when I read our text for today. If at first the words of God startle you for their bluntness, don't jump to the conclusion that our loving Father was rejecting Saul when He said, "I regret I chose Saul as king." In fact, with some deeper study I found several interesting lessons we can learn from this passage in I Samuel 15: 10, 11.
First of all, in the King James Version, the word God uses is "repenteth." The text reads: "It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king." When God anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel, He did so with high hopes and heavenly aspirations. But just because we are called by God, doesn't mean He takes away our power of choice or our ability to make wrong decisions. While our heavenly Father, just like my earthly father, wants only the best for us, we still have the gift of choosing our own way - a heaven-sent gift that allows all of us the ultimate freedom to say, "No," to a Father whose only longing is to bring us within the protection of His love and care.
This is a point we sometimes miss when we are studying about God's relationship with His children here on earth. I Samuel 15: 11 says God, "repenteth," which in Hebrew means that God had great sorrow, because Saul "turned his back from following Me."
Way too often we get the mistaken idea God leaves us, when in fact the opposite happens. Like Saul, we turn our backs on our Father and He "regrets" our actions. He is filled with sorrow or as the Hebrew also notes, "He has pity on us."
In one of my favorite passages of Scripture, the Psalmist David beautifully conveys the love our Father has for us: "As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who reverence Him." Then in the most comforting words possible to write David says, "For He knows our frame, He earnestly remembers and imprints on His heart that we are dust." (Psalm 103: 13, 14, Amplified Bible).
As God looked upon the actions of the chosen king, Saul, He didn't regret He had made Saul, He regretted what Saul had done and He understood the weakness of our human frame and our loving Father was filled with great sorrow.
How often have I, like Saul, willfully decided to use my gift of choice in a way that leads me away from the path of my heavenly Father's guiding hand and in the end, my faulty decisions caused my Father great sorrow. And just as my own dad couldn't imagine his life without me, so our heavenly Father doesn't want to miss out on the company of any of His children. As the disciple Peter wrote from personal experience, since he had been on the receiving end of heaven's love, God, "Is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9).
What is it that God regrets? It is to miss out on the company of even one of us. That's the regret that brings sorrow to His heart for He can't envision even one day without your company or mine.
May we never make the sad choice, as Saul did, to turn away from our Father's love.
"Whosoever walks toward God one cubit, God runs toward her twain."
"O Love, O God, who created me,
in your love recreate me,
O Love, who redeemed me,
fill up in me whatever part of Your love
has fallen into neglect within me.
O Love, O God, who first loved me,
grant that with my whole heart,
and with my whole soul,
and with my whole strength,
I may love You."
Gertrude the Great
"All God can give us is His love;
And this love becomes tangible -
A burning of the soul -
It sets us on fire."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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