Rejection and Mercy
Today’s reading: I Samuel 15-16; Luke 14:25-35
26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” I Samuel 15:26
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
God is merciful but that quality must not be allowed to eclipse His holiness.
Saul persisted in disregarding the commands of God. In the battle with the Amalekites, he spared the king and the better animals rather than carry out the orders he had been given by God through Samuel. When confronted by Samuel, Saul shifted the blame to the people, making his sin even worse by failure to own up to his responsibility. He showed his lack of heart toward God by referring to the Lord as “your” (Samuel’s) God.
Jesus called people to follow Him and be His disciples, but He was not so desperate for followers that they could come on their own terms. He told them they must hate their relatives and even their own lives if they would follow Him. [see footnote] Those who follow Christ carry their cross, ready to die for Him at any time. This would not be an easy road and one ought to count the cost before setting out.
Is there no mercy and grace for our failure and sin? Yes, of course, there is. Jesus showed mercy and grace to Peter who denied Him at the time of His arrest. Are disciples of Jesus in danger of rejection with no appeal for forgiveness? No. The Lord is forgiving and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). But remember Who you serve. He is perfectly holy and we need to take seriously our walk with Him.
Christian brother or sister, learn from Saul who barely confessed his sin after repeated promptings by Samuel. Confess sin fully. Receive mercy and grace to go on. You get a fresh start each day. Jesus paid for your sins.
Footnote “[Jesus] teaches that being His disciple means loving Him so unreservedly that all other loves seem to be hatred by comparison.” Reformation Study Bible page 1818