In life, we learn important lessons from good examples, and an attentive learner will learn from bad examples as well. One of the greatest lessons in life is repeated over and over in the scriptures from both perspectives. Last night’s study gave us a good one from the bad example category. It’s the all important lesson on how to say “I’m sorry.” In christianeze we call that repentance. It means “a turn-around in thinking or direction.” It involves humility, regret, and confession.
Let’s look at the example from 1 Samuel 13. Saul had been given instructions by Samuel the priest to wait for him in Gilgal for seven days. There are many reasons for the instructions given him, but that doesn’t matter at this point. Saul simply did not wait for him, and he offered a sacrifice, something that he was forbidden by the law from doing.
“As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel said to Saul, ” You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you…” 1 Sam 13:10-13 (NASB)
It was a simple question that Samuel asked..”What have you done?”
Notice how Saul blamed every one else.
1. The people were scattering,… those stupid people, it’s their fault!
2. You (Samuel) did not come,… you were late (not true) so it’s your fault!
3. The Philistines were assembling,… they were going to kill me, it’s their fault!
4. I forced myself,… I didn’t want to do it, how can I be guilty for doing something I didn’t want to do? Here I think Saul blames circumstances or necessity, it’s kind of a catch-all.
Nothing has really changed since the beginning of time, you recall Adam’s response to God in the garden… “it was the woman You gave me.” Implying that the responsibility for his sin lied both with Eve, as well as God himself. This is what we do, we shift blame, we wiggle, and we writhe, at the thought of simply taking responsibility for our own actions. This is our human (sin) nature folks. We see it every day. No one wants to be responsible for anything. It’s our sickness, it’s our environment, it’s our parents, etc. that made us do it. Or, I was born with it,… God still gets the blame.
Now, here is the good lesson, the good example from scripture… David had done some terrible things, he had used his power and authority to steal a sexual escapade from another man’s wife, then had the man killed in order to cover the resulting pregnancy.
When he was confronted with his sin by Nathan the prophet, his response recorded in 2 sam. 12 was, “I have sinned against the Lord.” He did not say, “man, she was hot, I couldn’t control myself,” or anything like that. He simply responded as a man should respond, “I’ve blown it, no excuses, it was me.”
The full scope of David’s repentance was recorded for us in his masterpiece of contrition Psalm 51.
If you have never read it thoroughly and thoughtfully, I suggest you do that.
Learn how to say I’m sorry, both to God and to one another, this lesson will serve you well.
Against You, You only, I have sinned And done whatis evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. –Psalm 51:4