Tuesday, August 23, 2011
~ "Gone for good..."
Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. (1 Sam 15:25)
There are several problems with Saul's repentance. "He besought Samuel only, and seemed most anxious to stand right in his opinion, and to gain his favour. He excuses his fault, even when confessing it; that is never the way of a true penitent. All his care was to save his credit, and preserve his interest in the people. Men are fickle and alter their minds, feeble and cannot effect their purposes; something happens they could not foresee, by which their measures are broken; but with God it is not so. The Strength of Israel will not lie." (Matthew Henry).
Saul had become both rebellious and stubborn. God took away his kingdom. Rebellion against God is perhaps the most serious sin of all, because as long a person revels, he or she closes the door to forgiveness and restoration with God. God was not rejecting Saul as a person; the king could still seek forgiveness and restore his relationship with God, but it was too late to get his kingdom back. If you do not responsibly look after what God has entrusted to you, you will eventually run out of excuses. All of us must one day give an account for our actions.
Sometimes we are more concerned about what others think of us than we are with the status of our relationship with God. We are afraid that we will not be liked or included in worldly affairs. I think I would rather be excluded here than excluded in heaven. It's important to know that what we do or don't do does affect our eternal reward. We also suffer loss of blessings here on earth, as Saul did. We cannot expect to keep all that God has given us if we don't care for it. It is in those times that we see the strength of God's power and unwaivering spirit when it comes to His commands to us. We can ask and be forgiven - but we may not always have returned to us that which we have so recklessly thrown away. Acceptance of that truth is often hard, and tends to put us in the same category as Saul. We don't need the approval of those around us when we walk in the shoes of Jesus. We need the courage to stand in them, and that only comes from the devotion and respect for the God of all creation.
When God says "no" - accept it. Consider it a blessing. Walk away with your head held high and know that you are accepting the consequences of your actions or inactions. It doesn't mean He loves you less, it just means that this is what He deems "right" in your life. You may not have all that you want or desire, but you will have all that you need. Again, happiness is not a right guaranteed us. No where is it written that we will be happy and will not suffer. Loneliness is one of the hardest "crosses" to bear, yet we all, to some extent, endure a loneliness and longing from time to time. Remembering that this is not our home helps to walk through those moments. It won't last forever. It will last only as long as we can bear...God knows our limits!
Talk to Him today - tell Him your fears, tell Him your troubles - let Jesus carry your burdens and you will make it through another day. Someday all this will vanish and you will be in the presence of the mighty King - and none of this will matter, except for your accounting of your actions. When it comes to that one weakness that draws you away from God every single time you come in contact with it, lift it up to Him! Let Him know that you need His mercy and grace to overcome the temptation or the desire to walk away. He will not walk away from you! He will lift you up and hurl you over it and you will land safely on both feet. There is nothing He will not forgive, but there is no guarantee that what is lost will be returned to you. Accept that and move forward - don't look back and don't give up. He has a plan for you, just not the one you recklessly through away.