As the story continues to unfold Samuel confronts Saul, and once again Saul asserts his view that he was obedient to God. Saul even goes farther and does not admit his wrong-doing when given the chance. He then blame-shifts by assigning guilt to his people for his own disobedience as follows,
“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.” (1 Samuel 15:19-21, NKJV, emphasis added)
What Saul should have done was admit his failure, confess it to the Lord, and repent (which means to turn and go the other direction). But Saul was too prideful for that – he was the king. There was a part of him that wanted to please God, but self was the ruling influence in his life. Saul is now far removed from poor in spirit. What was the end result for Saul?
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.” But 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.” As Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you. Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” Then he (Saul) said, “I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.” So Samuel went back following Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD. (1 Samuel 15:24-31, NASB, emphasis added)
The following can be learned from this last passage:
(1) Confession is not enough; repentance is needed. Saul confessed, but he did not repent. Repentance means a reversal or change of mind and actions. Saul did not change his mind in this matter – he still saw nothing wrong with what he did. He only confessed because he was caught and wanted Samuel to restore the blessing to his life. Where there is no change of heart, there is no repentance.
(2) Blame-shifting is not repentance. Saul is still blaming the people and his own fear. The people had an impact upon his decisions, but it was still Saul’s choice – he was the king; he was calling the shots. Take responsibility for your sin and call it sin. Take the event before the Lord and get it resolved.
(3) If God has called you to a mission, or has something He has called you to do know this – you are not indispensable; the Lord will get someone else to finish the job if you refuse to be God’s instrument as someone being poor in spirit. Be obedient to the call of God on your life by being poor in spirit and in complete submission to His will.
(4) If you desire the praise of man you are not what God needs to bring glory to Him. In all we do we are to glorify our Father in Heaven; that is part of gaining the kingdom of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:20).
(5) Worshipping God is not enough. Saul worshipped God, but his life will be a mess. He was still a believer, but he lost how to be poor in spirit and will never have God’s blessing and guidance again. Do not be satisfied with your Christian experience; move forward as the Spirit directs.
Why live a life less than you are called to? God wants to do so much through each and every one of us. We all have a unique calling and can play a part in building the kingdom of God for His glory. Like Saul we have a choice presented to us every day. Will we humble ourselves before our maker and be poor in spirit or live life less than abundant?
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10, NKJV)
When the Holy Spirit reveals to you that you are being led by the self-will respond in submission to His Holy Spirit and go through the five points above and deal with your sin.