Devotional: ‘Regret or Repentance’ part 1

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Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”  (Matthew 5:4) God comforts His children who mourn over the tragedies of life. But even more, God comforts His children who mourn over the sin of this world. To fully understand what it means to mourn over sin, we turn to two men found in the Old Testament: Saul and David.

Saul was the first king of Israel. He was chosen, not because of his godliness, but because of his physical appearance. Scripture says that Saul was – “an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.” (1 Samuel 9:2) As soon as the Israelites saw Saul, they knew that he was the man for the job. But unfortunately, all they could see was Saul’s physical appearance. They could not see what was in his heart.

Though Saul sometimes pretended to be righteous, his heart was far from God. On one occasion, God sent him on a mission to destroy wicked King Agag and his people. The command was for Saul to – “go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have.” (1 Samuel 15:3) But Saul did what so many of us do, he tried to compromise in his obedience. It didn’t seem logical to Saul to destroy healthy animals, so he spared the best of the sheep and cattle. In addition, he brought back wicked King Agag as a trophy of war.

After Saul’s return from battle, the Lord sent the prophet Samuel to confront him over his disobedience. “When Samuel came to him, Saul said, ‘May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” Samuel replied, ‘Then what is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear?’” (1 Samuel 15:13-14) The sound of the sheep and cattle were evidence of Saul’s disobedience. Saul quickly tried to make excuses, but Samuel stopped him and said – “…Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:23)Now Saul was in trouble. God was angry with him. What could he do? The Bible says “Saul answered Samuel, ‘I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord’s command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord.’” (1 Samuel 15:24-25) On the surface, it seemed that Saul had a change of heart. But it was all a pretense. Saul’s sorrow was not genuine repentance over his sin, but regret that he had been caught.

When Jesus said – “Blessed are they that mourn…”; He was not referring to those who regret that they might have to suffer the consequences of their sin, but to those who regret the fact that they are sinners. Those who truly mourn over their sin hate their sin. They abhor sin’s filth and they desire to be cleansed. As we will see in tomorrow’s study, David prayed, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” David not only wanted to be forgiven. He also wanted to be clean.

Join me again tomorrow as complete our study for this week. God bless you my brethren.

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