Disobedience Brings Distance and Despair
I love working at the check-in desk in the children’s area every Sunday morning. My favorite thing is to ask the kids questions and hear their unedited answers. They make me laugh. They remind me of when I was a toddler and lived in New Jersey.
One day my mom came looking for my twin sister and me. We were being way too quiet. Jenny had opened the door of the laundry room and gotten into the dog food. When my mom found us, Jenny was giving me some “food” to eat. When she asked who opened the door, we both pointed to each other, ready to blame the other for our misbehavior. We were both promptly put in separate time outs.
There are consequences to our sin. And while this story may seem trivial, we can’t belittle sin and disobedience. Sin is severe. Our sin is what cost Christ His life. Because of our sin, we cannot enjoy fellowship with God. Our disobedience creates distance from God until we confess our sin and seek forgiveness.
Saul found himself in a similar situation in I Samuel 28. Let’s take a look…
“When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was absolutely terrified. So Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him.” (I Sam 28:5-6)
“The Lord has torn the kingdom from your hand and has given it to your neighbor David! Since you did not obey the Lord….” (I Sam 28:17-18)
The story reads like an exciting novel. The strong, powerful army versus the little one. Only this is a true story based on actual events. And God gives us the play by play in His Word.
In the previous chapter, we find David taking refuge in the land of the Philistines with King Achish because Saul kept trying to kill David. In this chapter, the big, bad Philistines were gathering forces to fight Israel. David faced a dilemma. King Achish expected him to fight with the Philistines. How would David get out of fighting against his own people? (Find out in I Samuel 29.)
And now, back to Saul. He was terrified of the Philistines. He prayed, but the Lord did not answer him. So he disguised himself and snuck away under cover of darkness to consult the witch of Endor. Saul wanted her to conjure up Samuel from the dead. Maybe he would tell him what to do, since God had turned away from him.
Samuel’s message to Saul? In your pride and arrogance, Saul, you chose not to obey the Lord when God told you to completely destroy the Amalekites (Chapter 15). And now you will lose, you and your sons will die, you will no longer be king, and you and Israel will be handed over to the Philistines. That seems pretty severe, doesn’t it? With that horrible news Saul, filled with fear, slinks back to camp.
When I was a child, my biggest fear about doing something wrong was getting caught. Time outs, spankings, or being sent to my room were not fun. I still don’t like the consequences of my sin. I fail too many times. But now my deep sorrow and regret is that God grieves over my disobedience. When I choose to disobey God, it’s not until I come to Him and seek his forgiveness that the distance disappears. God graciously forgives me and offers fellowship. He allows me to draw close to Him once again. Distance from God is turned into closeness to God. Despair is transformed into hope.
Something to think about: Has what happened to Saul ever happened to you? You plead with God for an answer to your request, but all you hear is silence. Spend some time with God and confess any unresolved sin. If there are not any sin issues, continue trusting God by being diligent in prayer.