Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 26
Key Verse: Then Saul confessed, “I have sinned. Come back home, my son, and I will no longer try to harm you, for you valued my life today. I have been a fool and very, very wrong.” – 1 Samuel 26:21
As children, we were all told at some point, “Say you’re sorry.” Followed by, “Now say it like you mean it!” King Saul suffered from an issue with false repentance. When Samuel’s announced God had rejected him as king in chapter 15, Saul at least seems to acknowledge his sin. In fact, Saul uttered these identical words three times (1 Samuel 15:24, 30; 26:21). However, Saul’s words, did not change his attitude or actions. There was no fruit of repentance. For instance, on both occasion, after David spared Saul’s life, Saul repented only to continue hunting David.
In Luke 3:7-14, John the Baptist uses the illustration of a farmer burning waste from his field. The snakes in the grass would escape ahead of the blaze, but as the fire died down, they would resume their crafty, crooked, poisonous ways, because their nature as snakes had not been changed. False repentance is all about self and not about God. It is about a momentary fear God’s judgment. It is about saving face in front of others. “I am sorry, I was wrong, but….” I’m sorry, but you don’t understand why I did it.”
True Biblical repentance is turning from sin to God. It causes our thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and conduct to change. True repentance recognizes the sinfulness of our heart and cries out to God for a new heart and a clean conscience through the blood of Christ.