1 Samuel 15:13-14 “And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
In reading Saul’s life, Israel’s first king, I find I have more in common than I would care to admit.
Saul was chosen when he desired none of what came to him. God took him and set him to be king over His people and filled him with the Holy Spirit to do so. Once he took possession of the role and the title, he began to see things, feel things, and receive items from others that had never happened before.
Pride crept in and overtook his heart.
He began to justify his behavior because he felt it was right. Position and power can pull at our hearts and deceive us into thinking we possess the ability and have earned the position, when in fact, it was given by God.
We find in the life of Saul, what God gives, He can take away.
Thank God for Samuel.
He was the voice of reason and the voice of God. If only Saul had just humbly listened and obeyed.
1 Samuel 15:19-20 “Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.”
He was still in the throes of deception and justification in his response to Samuel’s accusation. We can often be critical of Saul as we look back on his life.
As I read, God showed me that I have been no different. There have been things God has asked me to do that I have neglected or outright disobeyed. In light of the Word of God, I was guilty of the sin of witchcraft.
1 Samuel 15:23 “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.”
Balking at the call of God, neglecting to follow the Spirit’s guidance and direction put me into this category as well.
Seeing my sin as God sees it should open our eyes to the reality of where we stand with God.
Dear reader, is your heart convicted like mine?
Is there an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame over committing what God calls the sin of witchcraft?
If you are a saved child of God, it should.
1 Samuel 15:24 “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.”
The very root of Saul’s sin came to the forefront of his mind, and he confessed it to Samuel. Yet, even in his repentance, he sought the favor of the people instead of God’s.
1 Samuel 15:30 “Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.”
The lost world runs to hide from having to face the ugly consequences of sin. They self-medicate, divert their energies to worldly activities and pleasure, and seek to salve their conscience and rid themselves of the guilt and shame of sin.
We, who are God’s children, have found that nothing will alleviate the guilt and shame save the blood of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
More personally, as we view our lives in light of God’s Word, may we allow the conviction to come through the truth of God’s Word. Not just to make us feel, but spurn us to action.
Confession is only half of what is needed to correct our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Repentance puts feet to our desire and is a show of faith that we meant what we said.
The grip and bondage of sin reveal themselves when repentance becomes difficult. When the pull of sin tugs at our flesh, we have a decision to make.
Did we really mean what we said in confession that we are genuinely sorry for hurting God’s heart?
Are we willing to prove it by doing what is needed to walk away from the sin that so easily besets us?
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”
Our Heavenly Father has grace for each and every one of us to live as He commands.
I have been overcome with this truth today. To see the sin I justify is like the sin of witchcraft to God is overwhelming. But knowing what it feels like after I confess and repent is far more satisfying than living blinded by my sin.
We are all rebels when we sin. God knew that when He saved us. The fact that God made a way back to Him when we do shows more love than I can comprehend.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”