This year in Community Bible Study we are studying the Servants of God which includes the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 & 2 Samuel. Despite having gone through this study previous God is still teaching me new lessons through His perfect and inerrant word, the Bible.
In last week’s lesson we saw the end of Saul and his sons. Saul had started out his kingship with some promise. He was humble, he chose not to take revenge against those who were against him and he defeated an enemy that threatened to enslave the people of Jabesh Gilead.
Unfortunately Saul’s promising start didn’t last. Before long he became prideful and was disobedient to God. That started him on the wide road that leads to destruction until finally the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and the kingdom was ripped from his hand and given to his neighbor David.
It would be many years before David would be king and he learned much about God during those years on the run and often spent in the wilderness. Thankfully he recorded his praise and worship and poured out his soul during the dark times when he was hunted by Saul.
Something I saw afresh in the life of Saul was God giving him another chance to repent and turn from his wicked ways.
This would be the last time that David would see Saul alive. When seemingly given another opportunity to kill his enemy, David chose not to kill Saul. In Samuel 26 David chose to take Saul’s spear and water jug, but not his life. He called out to Saul’s commander of the army Abner. But when Saul hears David’s voice he responds.
17 Then Saul knew David’s voice, and said, “Is that your voice, my son David?”
David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18 And he said, “Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done, or what evil is in my hand? 19 Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 So now, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.” – 1 Samuel 26:17-21
Even in his deteriorating mental state Saul recognized his sin and confessed it.
I believe this was God’s mercy extended to Saul one last time before he died to genuinely repent.
Did he repent? He said the right words and acknowledged his wrongdoing. But his actions thereafter don’t demonstrate a repentant heart. Shortly thereafter Saul sought out a medium because the Lord was not responding to his inquiries.
I know that if Saul had genuinely repented that God would have forgiven him. God has told us in His Word that a broken and contrite heart He will not despise.
Even the message that Saul heard through the medium was another chance to repent. He was inconsolable, afraid and severely troubled, but he didn’t repent, he didn’t turn and walk the other way. What a sad ending to a life. Soon thereafter Saul and his sons would be killed by the Philistines and there would be no more chances to repent. It is appointed for a man to die once and then comes judgment.
Lord…please give me a tender heart for You, ears to hear You and a heart to obey You. Though I am a sinner, please help me to genuinely repent and return to You when I am headed in the wrong direction.