When Faith Stumbles

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FROM THE MIND OF WEBSTER

Enough – to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary.

Time – an opportune or suitable moment.

Conquered – to defeat through the use of force.

Kingdom – a politically organized community or major territory.

BACKSTORY – A TALE OF TWO CONQUERORS

Both Had A Calling

SaulSamuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel.”

David – I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.

Both Had A Mission

Saul“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

DavidIn the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.

Both Had A Strategy

SaulSo Saul summoned the men … and went to the city of Amalek.

DavidBut David remained in Jerusalem.

Both Had A Great Sin

SaulHe took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs– everything that was good.

DavidFrom the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful…then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her…David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

Both Had A Confrontation With God’s Messenger

SaulWhen Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

DavidDavid burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”

Both Had An Accusation Leveled

SaulWhy did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?”

David“Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.”

Both Had A Response

Saul“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”

DavidThen David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Both Had A Judgment

SaulBecause you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”

DavidNathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin.”

OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSINGS

In the time of the Judges Israel “asked for a king.” In response “God gave them Saul the son of Kish.” Described simply as “a man of the tribe of Benjamin.” Later, God “rejected [him] as king” and in his place “raised up for them David as king,” described as “a man after My own heart.” While God gave them Saul (as a response to their misguided request), He raised up David. In contrast to His rejection of Saul, David was commended, because David reflected God’s own values for the kingship in contrast to Saul’s self-directed values.(1)

David’s sin seems much greater than Saul’s. How is it then, that David is as “a man after [God’s] own heart?” Israel had looked at Saul’s height and build—there was no one like him among all the people. Although God had chosen Saul, he knew what was in his heart. Human beings might look at appearance and height, but God saw David’s heart.(2)

MY MUSINGS

Both David and Saul made poor choices and sinned against God. Because Saul’s heart was not right with God, he made excuses for his failures and shifted the blame. David, on the other hand, because his heart was right with God, immediately took responsibility for his sin and repented. Thus, the measure of each man was not so much the depth of their fall, but their response confronted and convicted of their sin. True faith responds to God, whereas faith that is baseless resists God.

MY ADVICE

Making excuses is never a sign of good character.  We should lay aside whatever excuses that we might otherwise offer up and take the road less traveled by admitting our failures.

References

  1. Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Acts of the Apostles. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 551). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.
  2. Dillard, R. B. (1996). David. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., pp. 144–145). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

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