1 Samuel 15:10 Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying,
vs 11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.”
vs 26 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”.
vs 27 And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.
vs 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.
vs 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”
vs 35 And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
The word for regret, relent, and repent is the Hebrew word nacham (pronounced na-kham – emphasis on 2nd syllable). Strangely enough it does not mean “to change one’s mind” or “to wish we never made the decision” but it appears to be more like “I grieve that I had to make that decision”.
Translating is not easy, not even for scholars, so I won’t say for certain since I’m not one, but the idea here is like when you appoint your child over a task, knowing in advance he is going to mess it all up, and boy, did he ever! For his sake and for the sake of the family, he was the one to do it if it weren’t for that rebellion in him. So you tell him “This is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you” right before the whooping comes.
Okay, that’s an easy picture but vs 29 says “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent.” The word “relent” is the same word.
This is a conundrum. The English language has many.
I sat with a good friend of mine yesterday who owns a business. She put her kids in charge. It was the best thing and it was the worst thing she could have done. She doesn’t regret doing it because it was necessary not only for the strength of the family to work together, each according to their own gift mixes and strengths, but also to create a positive structure and family-style environment where serving the community is possible and seeing the rewards of doing good may have influence in shaping their lives. But, the rebellion! One thinks he can come and go as he pleases, another isn’t in uniform when she arrives, still another thinks she can make her own rules as she goes. My friend grieves over this yet it is not a decision she would have made any other way.
While that is not the best picture, it is a real, down to earth example of the same idea.
Rejecting Saul as King is not rejecting Saul the man. The Lord’s BEST plan was for man to rule and govern himself, but because of the demand for a king, demand for change, a mighty loud outcry by the people, the Lord yielded because it is His primary plan to work with His people to govern.
What does this look like today? Saul (the era) was necessary in order to wake up the people of God. Leadership that served self was necessary in order to create outcry and motivate. It is a matter of historical record that persecution in the church has driven the church to be so united, but when all is at ease, people divide and go their own ways.
The era of Saul is dead, but it was necessary. The era of Saul grieved the Lord but His plan is for His people to become a people after His own heart – people who pursue Him with every bit of their heart, mind and soul.
It is happening. Can you see the army of God rising up?
The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the Lord
A Psalm of David.
Ps 15 Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
2 He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
3 He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.