Question:

Hi,

Good day to you. I hope you are well. My question is about two men from the holy Scriptures: King Saul and King David. When Saul sinned against God, God took away the kingdom away from him, but when David sinned, God did not take away the kingdom from him. Keep in mind that both of them confessed that they have sinned against God, but David was still left with the kingdom. Why? Please explain this to me.

Thank you for your time.


Answer:

In I Samuel 15, Saul was told to go to war. "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey" (I Samuel 15:3). Saul modified what God commanded. "But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed" (I Samuel 15:9).

When Samuel met Saul, "Saul said to him, "Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD" (I Samuel 15:13). When Samuel pointed out that Saul lied, Saul made excuses: "And Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed"" (I Samuel 15:15). This again was a lie, because it did not explain why Saul spared Agag. Nor is it proper to claim that it is acceptable to change God's laws in order to worship God. When Samuel condemned Saul for disobeying God, Saul continued to cling to his story. "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"" (I Samuel 15:20-21).

"Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king." Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed 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"" (I Samuel 15:22-26).

Notice that it was only when God said He rejected Saul as king that Saul tried to apologize.

"So 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. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent." Then he said, "I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God"" (I Samuel 15:28-30).

At first you would think that Saul was upset that he could no longer worship God with Samuel, but notice that at the end we learn that Saul was upset that the elders of Israel would reject him if Samuel did not worship with him. Saul was more concerned about keeping up appearances.

Now this wasn't the only time Saul broke the commands of God and then offered excuses when confronted.

"So Saul said, "Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me." And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, "What have you done?" And Saul said, "When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, "then I said, 'The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.' Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering." And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. "But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you" (I Samuel 13:9-14).

Notice that Saul offered no apology the first time. Also realize that the events in I Samuel 15 offered Saul a chance to redeem himself from his earlier mistake, which he failed to do. Thus we understand why God said He would not change His mind about Saul and his lineage being king over Israel.

David also sinned. The prophet Nathan confronted him with his sin and David's response was, "I have sinned against the LORD" (II Samuel 12:15). He offered no excuses for his behavior. He simply acknowledged the fact that he was wrong. He did not repeat his sin. He was described as a man after God's own heart, and that he remained. "He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will'" (Acts 13:22).

The difference between David and Saul are not the fact that they sinned -- all men sin. It was their response to being told they sinned that made all the difference.

Thank you. I was well edified. Most of all, thank the Lord God.