Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for March 19-27 are provided by Cami King of Journey Community Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 26:17-25:
17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18 And he said, “Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? What evil is on my hands? 19 Now therefore let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is the Lord who has stirred you up against me, may he accept an offering, but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day that I should have no share in the heritage of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.” 22 And David answered and said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and take it. 23 The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. 24 Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.
Do these verses sound familiar? Well, if you’ve been following along with us in our study of King Saul, then they should. This is not Saul’s first time pursuing David only to come to his senses and relent. In an almost verbatim repetition of what we just read, Saul acknowledged his wrong and repented.
Yet with all the emotional language of apology and remorse, here again we find Saul doing the same thing, in the same place, offering the same apology for the exact same behavior. Saul is the definition of a repeat offender. But before we condemn him for his knuckle-headed behavior, let’s think of all the times we ourselves were repeat offenders. How many times have you fallen victim to the exact same sins? To whom have you offered apologies so many times that you now sound like a broken record?
I’m sure we can all empathize with King Saul in this way. Even with all our greatest efforts and with God’s grace to make the truth clear to us, we are prone to wander from the truth and fall back into our old patterns of sin. In the Hillsong song “All for Love” the songstress asks of the Lord, “How many times have I broken your heart?” If we were to stop for a moment and think about the times we’ve returned to the sin from which Jesus died to free us and the broken heart of God as a result, it may be too much to bear. But the song quickly follows this pondering with the powerful truth, “But You still forgive me if only I ask.”
And that is true for us today. We, like Saul, are repeat offenders. But our heavenly Father is faithful even in our persistent struggles. May this truth empower and compel us toward a different course of action and lead us back to the arms of our loving Father whose grace is still sufficient for us.
Gracious Father, I am sorry for the times I’ve wandered away from Your truth and returned to my life of sin. Please forgive me and help me to take hold of the freedom from sin that I now have in Christ. Thank You for Your covenantal love that is everlasting, for Your mercy that is new every morning, and for Your grace that is sufficient even in my weaknesses.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 25
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 4:14-16.
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean to “hold fast to our confession”?
- In what ways does verse 15 comfort you in light of your struggle against temptation and sin?
- What keeps you from confidently approaching the throne of God? Why is it so important that you overcome those things and go to Jesus in your times of need?
- The writer of Hebrews encourages us not to waver in our faith, but to stand firm in what we claim to believe. We do this in response to and because of the faithfulness of Christ to us (as our High Priest). And bound up in our faith is not merely belief (cognitive ascent) but faithfulness to what we believe (the actions that follow).
- Jesus understands our struggles. It’s always more comforting to come to someone who understands what we are facing. Not that he excuses our sin (obviously that’s not the case), but he does understand experientially the temptations we face.
- Most people are kept from God, especially in situations of sin, for one of two reasons. First, they feel too guilty to come to Him (sin has become bigger than the cross). Second, they have misappropriated grace so much so that they don’t even bother to repent anymore (the weight of sin and what the cross actually overcame has been lost). No matter what, we have to come to Jesus because He is the only one from whom we can receive the mercy and grace we so desperately need.
What are the areas in your life where you struggle with being a “repeat offender”? What are those sins and habits that you struggle to overcome? Spend some time surrendering these areas to God. Repent of the sin in your heart (be specific) and ask for the power of the finished work of Christ to help you to overcome. Consider seeking accountability and being proactive with the Holy Spirit in receiving help in your areas of need. Above all, remember our High Priest, Jesus, who has already walked the path we must walk and made a way for us to live in victory over sin.