Read – 1 Samuel 15
Focus on verse 26-28
One of the most dangerous questions every man should learn to navigate is when his wife asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?” It is a question that will, first of all catch you off guard, and because you will invariably hesitate to answer — because you realize this is a trap — you will then realize that if you say no, she will think you are being kind and not believe you, and, if you say yes she will think you are cruel, and if you say, “I don’t think it’s the dress dear” your in the doghouse for at least three days — any way you play it, these situations rarely end well. I suspect that if women could eliminate this one question from their vocabulary it would likely reduce marital stress around the world by at least fifty percent.
It is always hard to tell the truth when you know that the truth is not what the individual to whom you are speaking wants to hear. In today’s reading Samuel must deliver a message to king Saul informing him that because of his refusal to obey God’s instructions in regard to the destruction of the Amalekites, God is rejecting him as king of Israel.
But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”
As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. (v. 26-28)
One of the most difficult, as well as the most necessary things a person can do is to tell the truth to a person who cannot see it. Particularly if that person is a close friend or relative. It would seem that Samuel considered Saul somewhat as a son, at least in the spiritual sense, so when the Lord informed Samuel that He had rejected Saul, Samuel was angry. Angry that Saul had failed to obey, angry that he now had to deliver this terrible message to Saul, angry that things had not turned out differently for Saul. In the end the text says “but Samuel grieved over Saul.” (v. 35) Perhaps that is the best description…grief…of the kind that breaks the heart of the one who grieves.
There are times when things happen which are beyond our control, but they affect our lives. Parents divorce each other, children make poor choices that have life altering effects, friends choose to drive while under the influence, these are all effects of sin. While God may allow these things to happen because He gives us the freedom to make choices, He in no way causes these tragedies to happen. In fact, I believe God is grieved just as we are when people close to us make choices that hurt themselves and others. Most of all it breaks God’s heart when people choose to reject Him and in so doing choose an eternity in hell rather than heaven. I believe it is also important to be clear in this that God does not “send” any person to hell. He has in fact, done everything possible to give every person the opportunity to say yes to heaven, but because He committed to giving us the freedom to choose, He allows us to choose to reject Him. In other words, some people choose to reject God despite His best efforts to show Himself to them. The good news is that everyone also has the opportunity to choose to accept Him and those that do find that it transforms their lives in ways they could never have imagined.