1 and 2 Samuel, Psalm 51, Matthew 5:3

Jeff Cutts believes that what God thinks of us is more important than what people think.

Jeff Cutts
Jeff Cutts

Father God speaks to us and it's good to listen; He directs us and corrects us. If God's voice is of most importance to us we allow Him to mould us to be more like Jesus.

How do we respond to God when He challenges us? Do we give more concern to what He thinks of us, or is it our reputation with other people that sways us?

Saul and David were the first two kings of Israel, and you can read about them in the Bible in 1 and 2 Samuel. Both of these men were as human as the rest of us and had some huge failures in their lives; Saul disobeyed the Lord's commands and David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed.

God rejected Saul, but David was called "a man after God's own heart." Both men had terrible sin in their lives but what was the key difference between them? Why was Saul rejected and David blessed?

A quick read of their stories and we can see that though both were confronted about how they had disobeyed God, they each had a very different attitude. The challenge for us from these stories is to think about our attitude when God speaks to us and whether He has the greatest influence over us.

The prophet Samuel confronted Saul about disobeying God, but Saul tried to justify himself. He argued that his sin was not that bad. He did not own his sin and ask for forgiveness; instead he pointed the finger at other people and was mostly concerned with what people thought of him. "I know I have sinned. But please, at least honour me before the elders of my people and before Israel by coming back with me so that I may worship the Lord your God." (1 Samuel 15:30)

The prophet Nathan came to confront David for his adultery and conspiracy to murder. David's response was quick, "I have sinned against the Lord." (2 Samuel 12:13)

David didn't make excuses; he didn't blame other people but took responsibility for himself. David's thoughts and emotions at this time can be read in Psalm 51.

He is distraught and sorry for what he has done but he is most concerned with what God thought of him. He says, "Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight". (Psalm 51:4)

What God desires from us is not self-justification but a 'broken and contrite heart' (Psalm 51:17).

Jesus taught "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3) This is the attitude and response of heart that shows God that we are serious about following Him. God blesses those who are poor and realise their need for Him.

If we were to measure what Saul and David each did by our own human judgement we would probably say that David's adultery and murder were much worse sins than Saul not fully obeying God.

Sin can be forgiven since God is gracious and merciful, but God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance.

Both kings sinned against the Lord, we all do. The difference between them is that David was heartbroken about his sin and was concerned with what God thought of him; Saul made excuses and was more concerned with what people thought of him.

David was a man after God's own heart, Saul a rejected king.

What God thinks of me is more important than what people think of me. Am I, are you, responding like Saul or David? CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.