Friday, August 25, 2017

EmmDev 2017-08-25 [Lessons from Samuel] Free will and Grief

Free will and Grief

Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.      (1Samuel15:34-35)
Although a monarchy (a nation with an earthly king) was second prize to theocracy (a nation who chose God as their king) and although God and Samuel warned the Israelites that asking for a king was a risky business, Saul's failure as not a given or a foregone conclusion. It was his own failure and his own fault.

In these two poignant verses we see Samuel and God's hearts. Both God and His prophet Samuel grieve deeply for Saul. Saul was a young man who had great potential and could have been a great leader. But, as we saw last week, he had three major shortfalls: Insecurity, keeping up appearances and pride. These shortfalls caused him to make critical mistakes in his thinking and in his behaviour.

His insecurity made him reactive and defensive. Then his desire to keep up appearances made him a slave of people instead of a servant of God. Finally his pride prevented him from returning to God and receiving the help he needed.

It could have turned out differently.

Saul could have repented.
He could have found security in God as his father. He could have been affirmed by walking in His father's will rather than pleasing people and he could have delighted in the Lord instead of delighting in himself. But he settled for trying to be his own god.

And God grieves and Samuel never visits him again because he's not going to turn around. He's ignored all the previous warnings. His heart is hardened.

But God does not delight in Saul's failure. He grieves.
He grieves when you and I sin. He grieves when we miss His plan for us.

That's why Jesus came.
That's why He sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts.

Maybe today you're at a point where insecurity, keeping up appearances and pride have driven you into a corner...
God grieves for you.
Don't harden your heart like Saul.
Return, Repent, and Come HOME.

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