God, through Samuel, commanded King Saul to destroy the Amalekite people. 1 Samuel 15:3; 13-15; 19-23 “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Saul attacked the Amalekites and destroyed them. But he spared king Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good. “Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, ‘Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.’ But Samuel said, ‘What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?’ And Saul said, ‘They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.’” Samuel responded to Saul. “’Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?’ And Saul said to Samuel, ‘But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.’ So Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.’” There were at least two sins that Saul committed. He was rebellious and did not completely obey the word of the Lord; he also justified and excused his disobedience. When confronted by Samuel, he finally confessed his sin, but it was not enough; the Lord rejected him from being king.
David succeeded Saul as king over Israel. In most areas, David did what was right before the Lord, but not always. One day he saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing herself. Her husband was Uriah, one of King David’s mighty warriors who was away at the battle. David sent for Bathsheba and was intimate with her and she became pregnant. He recalled Uriah from the war to have him sleep with his wife, but Uriah was loyal and did not go home to his wife but slept at the door of the king’s house. So David sent Uriah back to the battle with instructions to the commander to allow the enemy to kill Uriah. With Uriah dead, David took Bathsheba as his wife. 2 Samuel 12:1-7a; 13 “Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: ‘There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.’ So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!’” David had effectively done the very same thing to Uriah. “So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” David committed adultery with Bathsheba and effectively murdered Uriah. These were great sins. When David saw what he had done, he did not seek to justify himself but confessed his sin and the Lord forgave him. Even so, David suffered many consequences for his sin.
In the case of Saul, he sinned and the Lord rejected him from being king. In the case of David, he sinned and the Lord put away his sin. Why the difference? I see a difference in their hearts. Saul was rebellious and sought to justify his actions. David sinned but readily confessed his sin and repented for what he had done.
I am sure you have seen others sin and do wrong. Perhaps they have done wrong to you. When they are confronted with what they have done, how do they respond? Do they justify themselves, make excuses, or maybe blame someone else? If they do, it is difficult to forgive them. But if they are contrite in heart and confess their sin and ask for forgiveness, it is much easier to forgive them. It is similar with God. 1 John 1:8-9 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we sin, God does not want us to hide our sin, justify ourselves, blame others, or make excuses. Instead, he wants us to be contrite in heart, confess our sin and ask for forgiveness. When we do that, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Jesus gave a parable in Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” The tax collector was contrite in heart and confessed his sin. He was justified.
I encourage you to humble yourself before God. Be quick to confess your sin and be contrite in heart. Then He will forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.