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A Tale of Two Sinners

And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.” 1 Samuel 15:28 ESV

Nearly a thousand years before the birth of Christ, two kings ruled over the nation of Israel. The first was guilty of what most would consider a few relatively minor infractions. Yet they cost him his kingdom, his family, and ultimately his life.

His successor, by comparison, was guilty of far greater offenses. In a fit of passion he committed adultery with his neighbor’s wife and then plotted to have her husband killed. Yet when the story of his life was told, he was called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14).

Why the difference?

Because the first man, King Saul, confronted with his sin, reacted by justifying himself and making excuses. He was more concerned about preserving his reputation and position—about looking good—than about being right with God. On the other hand, King David humbly acknowledged his failure to the Lord, took full responsibility for his grievous wrongdoing, and fully repented of his sin (“Against you, and you alone, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.” (Psalm 51:4)).

Those who are truly broken don’t try to cover up their sin. They have nothing to protect and nothing to lose. Once the weight of what they’ve done has settled in on them, their main concern is to see that God is vindicated, that His holiness is honored, and His Word upheld.

That’s why David’s heart was the one God honored, just as He honors ours when we come to Him with a contrite, broken spirit. He is not as concerned about the nature and extent of our sin as He is about our attitude and response when we are confronted with it.

Does pride keep you from coming clean before the Lord and others? In your response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit when you sin, are you more often like King Saul or King David?

Adapted from The Quiet Place, Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

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