Yesterday, we looked at our acceptability to God to be used by Him. Over the next three days, we will look at different aspects of that acceptability; abilities that we must have not just to be acceptable to Him, but to be greatly used.
Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. (1 Samuel 15:3&4,9-15)
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (2 Samuel 12:7-8,13)
In these two verses we see two different men, in two different circumstances, committing two different sins, with two completely different outcomes seems to make sense, right? The problem is that the man who seemed to commit the greater sin is actually given more grace than the other is. So what is the story? In the first passage, we read the story of Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul had been chosen by the people and by God to be king and, for a while, things went well. Saul was obedient to the Lord; he was following the direction of God’s man, Samuel. Then Saul grew prideful. He began to “get a little big for his britches.” The first major sign of the end of Saul’s reign was in I Samuel 13. Saul was getting ready to go to battle with his army, but he was waiting for Samuel the priest to come and make an offering to God for the people. Saul began to get impatient and decided to make the sacrifice on his own, a job commanded by God to be performed only by the priests. Right after he finished sacrificing Samuel arrived and questioned Saul why he had made the sacrifice. Saul responded that he forced himself to do it because of the people. Then we look at this passage and see again Saul’s problem. Saul just could not admit when he was wrong. He had been commanded to destroy everything from the Amalakites, the sheep, goats, cattle, people… everything, but when Samuel arrived after the battle, he heard animal sounds. When he asked Saul why they did not kill everything, Saul again played the blame game, “the people did it for your God.” Saul was willing to blame everyone but himself. Because of Saul’s inability to be responsible for his actions, Samuel tells him that God has taken the kingdom away from him and given it to a neighbor. Saul was the first king of Israel, and the only person in his family to serve as king. God did as He said He would do and took the kingdom from him and gave it to a man named David.
In the second passage, we see a glimpse into the life of the new king, David – definitely not at the high point in his life. David has committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed to cover up his sin. If God was so harsh with Saul for not killing some sheep, then surely he must have killed David, right? Well that is not what happened. God did not kill David or take his kingdom away from him or his family until much later. So what was the difference? We can see the difference in God’s dealing with David when we look at his response to Samuel. When Samuel came to David and confronted him about his sin, David did not try to blame anyone else and he did not get angry at Samuel. He simply said, “I have sinned.” David acknowledged his sin and took responsibility for his own actions, and because of that, God gave him the mercy that Saul did not receive.
This ability of responsibility, accepting responsibility for our own actions, is what the idea of confession is all about. It is paramount to our ability to be used by God. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” The word confess means to acknowledge. it is the idea of coming to God and telling Him the things that you have done wrong; taking responsibility for your own actions. If you will be like David and be responsible for the things that you have done, God will be willing to use you.