Saul was a handsome, tall man who came from a very upscale and wealthy family. He came into his reign when there was much turmoil in the nation of Israel. The people were worshiping other gods and nations around them constantly were threatening to make war. Surely this man of “greatness” could successfully lead the people to safety and prosperity. Sadly, Saul quickly began to step away from being obedient to God and decided to do things the way he wanted to. In 1 Samuel 15:3, we see God ask Saul to “go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Saul does not obey God and spares their King plus some livestock. Then on top of his disobedience, he lies about it and acts as though he did what he was told it so he could make a sacrifice to God. Samuel is so heartbroken. He states to Saul something like this. Good grief man! God doesn’t want your sacrifice! He wants your heart to love and obey Him! You are rebellious and arrogant to do what you wanted to do rather than to do what God commanded you to do! And so, due to your complete disrespect, disobedience and rejecting God; God has rejected you as King. “Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.’” (1 Sam. 15:24-25) Let’s stop here and fast forward to another story.
David was selected to be King when he was very young. He was a shepherd boy and actually gets passed up when Samuel came to his family to “interview” which young man God would select. In fact, God even warns Samuel before they get there of what to look for. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him (Eliab). The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7. Speed through David’s life after he becomes King and we see a man who is anything but perfect; he has many wives and concubines, he was guilty of murder, and he even committed adultery. And yet, God continued to forgive him over and over again. David did love God’s law though. We read in so many verses of where he clearly declares this. Repeatedly we see David cry out to God in repentance and realigning himself back into the ways of the Lord. The thankfulness is clearly spoken of by David’s words. We see a man who even though he struggles through life, he has a strong faith and love for the ways of God; never giving up.
In closing, let us now go back to compare Saul’s confession and the confessions of David. Is God unfair? Life is full of tests. We will sin. But, do we defiantly state that we did commit our sin then, twist it to excuse it? Then after we are caught, share that we are so “sorry”. Clearly, God can see the heart behind this! David had a heart after God as it says in 1 Samuel. What is that? It is when we consider our spirit; the situations that we are experiencing daily, and assess what represents Christ and what doesn’t. Then, a heart that is after God grieves over sinfulness and asks to be forgiven but most of all repents. True repentance is where we turn away from the act/sin/bad attitude/etc. and walk TO being Christ-like! This is what portrays a heart after God. After we have accepted Christ as Savior We are supposed to follow Him. It is up to us if we are going to follow Him and have a heart after Him or a heart after our own flesh.