Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Path to Pitiful...

Imagine being the best and most respected person in the United States. Think of how it would feel to know that you had a 100% approval rating and public support with almost no opposition. That is essentially how Saul's reign began in Israel. He was crowned king by God at the request of the people and there was no reason to expect that he'd enjoy anything less than enormous success.

Today's chapters, 1 Samuel 28 through 31 bring to a conclusion the story of Saul's reign in Israel--and contrary to what seemed likely, he did not finish well.

The lesson of Saul's life is that even someone who enjoys every conceivable advantage can fail to achieve their potential if they do not stay the course with God.

In chapter 28, God tells Saul that he and his sons will die the following day. It had been 20 years since Saul had heard the prophet Samuel's judgment against him as a result of his disobedience to God--and during those many years since, he had not taken any opportunity to demonstrate Godly sorrow or repentance. Even when he knew that he had less than 24 hours to live there is no indication that he used the remaining time to prepare his soul to meet his Maker.

Saul's heart was apparently so hardened by his sin that he had no desire to repent. What a sad reminder to us that delaying the chance to get right with God is dangerous. We should never assume there will be a future opportunity to plead for God's mercy--the path to pitiful is paved with many shoulda's.

Today is the day of salvation. Today is the time to repent--which simply means making a U-turn and going in the opposite of self-direction toward God-correction. What a blessing and how amazing the grace of a God who forgives the worst sins if only we are willing to admit our failure and turn to Him in surrender.

Thank you Father, that you are are slow to anger, patient beyond comprehension and forgiving and merciful to all who trust Jesus for salvation. Have mercy on me and please bring my little loves to the place of transforming grace as they seize the gift of repentance at the earliest possible time in their lives. In Jesus' Great Name! Amen.

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