Psalm for the Day

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Settled condition of the heart………

“……Samuel replied,

“What is more pleasing to the LORD:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.

 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,
and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.
So because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king.”   I Sam. 15:22-23 NLT

Religious observance without obedience is empty before God. The best sacrificial offering we could bring to God is a repentant heart (Psalm 51:16-17), and our bodies surrendered to His service for obedience (Romans 12:1).

A rebellious and stubborn heart rejects God just as certainly as someone rejects God by occult practices or idolatry.

In his empty religious practice, rebellion, and stubbornness against God, Saul was rejecting God’s word.  So God rightly rejected him as king over Israel.

“I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words”: Saul’s statement begins like a genuine confession, reflecting a genuinely repentant heart.

But that changes as he continues: “because I feared the people and obeyed their voice”.  In this, Saul refuses to own up to his sin; instead he blames the people who “made him” do it.

Again, on the surface, this is not such a bad statement of repentance.   Yet, at the same time, these were only words for Saul.  His heart was not in them at all.

Worst of all, he tries to justify one sin with another.   His statement, “Because I feared the people” makes that clear.  He should have trusted in God, completed his duty, and not feared what man could do to him.  

Instead of dealing with the deep issues in his heart; rebellion and stubbornness against God, Saul thinks that with a word from Samuel, everything can be fixed. But a word or two from Samuel will not change the settled nature of Saul’s heart.

 God knew Saul’s heart.  Not only did He know it was full of rebellion and stubbornness, but it was settled in that condition.  That is something that no man could know with certainty, looking from the outside.  But God knew it, and God had told Samuel the prophet this was the settled condition of Saul’s heart.  

A simple “please forgive my sin” will not do when one’s heart is settled in rebellion and sin against the Lord.

After all of this happened, Saul was never the same again.  He did not die immediately, but his relationship with the Lord was forever ruined.  His life was full of anger, bitterness, jealousy, worry, fear, hatred, strife, sorrow, and he ultimately killed himself by falling on his sword.

Instead of King Saul being a great man of God, he is a man who we look to as a warning and an example of what could happen if you disobey, rebel and choose to make yourself god instead of following and obeying the only True Living God.

“You do not want sacrifices,
or I would offer them;
you are not pleased with burnt offerings.
 My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God;
you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.”   Psalm 51:16-17 GNT

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