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1Sam 15:24, 25
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.”
Saul's story is tragic and painful. It breaks one's heart.
God had sent Samuel to Saul to tell him to go and utterly destroy the Amalekites. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt the Amalekites resisted them and fought against them, and they never put it right.
When Saul returned from the victory over the Amalekites, he met Samuel and told him that he had performed the commandment of the Lord. He was blind to his own disobedience.
Saul killed off the worthless lifestock and that which was despised, but the good and precious he held back.
He also let Agag, the most evil of all the Amalekites live. He dealt friendly with him and made friends with God's enemies.
But when Samuel saw the brazenness of Agag, he took the sword himself and hewed him in pieces before God.
Samuel showed Saul his folly of befriending evil men.
Samuel confronted him about the lifestock and people he had kept alive and told him what the Lord had spoken to him the night before.
However, Saul still contradicted Samuel and told him that he had obeyed the Word of the Lord.
Those who are truly repentant do not excuse themselves but acknowledges their sin as it is. God is not looking for explanations or excuses but the acknowledgement that you have sinned.
In your confession, confess with godly sorrow or do not defend and excuse yourself.
Finally, when Samuel told him that the Lord had rejected him from being king, then it touched him deeply. It showed what was in his heart - position and honour. However, even as he finally acknowledged his sin, he still blamed the people.
True repentance entails true confession.
His repentance went as far as his lips, and never reached his heart. He passed the buck to the people.
Matthew Henry says that Saul arrived with a garment of repentance - it wasn't true repentance.
He didn't see that he was on the way to destruction, heading straight towards death.
What had brought it about that Saul fell into this sin? Samuel told Saul that there was a time when he was still small in his own eyes, but now he became great in his own eyes.
Saul couldn't repent as he should because there were evil things in his life. In his repentance he still asked Samuel to honour him before the elders and children of Israel. What was really important to him was his position and pride. His disobedience and rebellion was as witchcraft. Saul asked Samuel to honour him so that he doesn't lose his reputation. He didn't consider his transgression serious. He couldn't wait upon the Lord's answer.
Saul was the king but God was the one in charge, with true power. Today we live in a time of human rights, but you still have no right to disobey God.
See to it that all of your past sin is made right. When you confess your sin, do not put on a garment of repentance to impress people, but go deep and humble yourself in God's sight.