I read today the passage in I Samuel where first God chose Saul to be the first King of Israel, and then God regretted that he made Saul King just a couple of chapters later. Can God make mistakes? Could God have been “unknowing” or “misinformed” about Saul? Obviously God cannot make a mistake, He is all-knowing, and He is in total control of His creation.
So why then? Why would God publicly chose Saul with great acclaim and then, shortly thereafter, abandon Saul? And more important to me existentially, will God one day “regret” that He chose or redeemed me?
I would suggest that disobedience is a much bigger spiritual matter than we imagine. It always seems to be the little, seemingly insignificant acts of rebellion that brings about tumultuous consequences! God said, “Go to Nineveh and preach”…….”strike this rock and water will come”……. “if you sell your land and give the proceeds to God and hold back a portion get ready for your funeral”…… “eat any fruit you want except one fruit”….
Saul was disobedient, just like Jonah, Moses, Ananias and Saphirra, and Adam and Eve, but he did something very common that all my sons also do; when confronted with blatant disobedience he made excuses, belittled the extent of his waywardness and out-and-out lied. He did his best to minimalize his insubordination by playing with words and arguing the point. That really irked the prophet Samuel—-and probably God even more.
God expects obedience, not excuses or whining, and now that I am raising four young men I understand why. My boys lives would be infinitely more pleasant and far less painful if they trusted me and OBEYED. But they typically don’t obey the first time around and suffer because of it.
What is it that we don’t understand about obedience? Why are we so “bent” on breaking laws—-both of man and of God? Why are we so wayward?
When it comes to God, I think that these four things come into play:
1. Despite what we say, we really don’t trust God. We think that He might not be the best one to turn to and we question His rules.
2. Although we don’t tell Him, we don’t think that He really understands our need/situation. It’s as if we think that God is for children and their fears and needs, not an adult’s needs and wants.
3. In our naive way, we think that somehow we are above His rules: “I don’t need to obey, His rules don’t apply to me…”
4. We fool ourselves into mistaking His long-suffering patience with our waywardness as His apparent blindness or disinterest in our obedience.
We need to become children in heart again and turn back towards trusting and obeying—-regardless of if we like or agree with His direction. Pity Saul for not having a heart set upon pleasing God. But anyone of us can start out committed and find ourselves drifting from our first love…..