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Why didn't God show Saul mercy?

Discussion in 'Spirit-Filled / Charismatic' started by AudioArtist, May 24, 2011.

  1. AudioArtist

    AudioArtist AudioArtist

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    Why do you think David was granted special favour in spite of what he did, while Saul was cut off at the first hint of disobedience?

    King Saul is told to attack the Amalekites: "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." When Saul fails to do this, God takes away his kingdom. Saul's sin is arguably failing to complete genocide (which I struggle with in and of itself), whereas as we all know David sinned in a whole string of ways - and must have known he was sinning. But I understand there are heart issues here:

    “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.

    23 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.”


    On a side note, I am disturbed to find out how these genocide passages echo through Christian history. It was often used, for example, in American stories of the confrontation with Indians. During the Crusades in the Middle Ages, the Catholic popes declared the Muslims Amalekites, and in the great religious wars in the 16th, 17th and 19th centuries, Protestants and Catholics each believed the other side were the Amalekites and should be utterly destroyed.
     
  2. Alpine

    Alpine Resident Sojourner

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    I'm deprived of time so forgive me for not posting scriptures. But, the impressions I've always got of Saul is that he had a history of falling farther and farther from God culminating in the dramatic confrontation with Samuel where Samuel warns him his Kingdom will be given to another.

    David obviously had his failings but he really did have a passion and desire to please God.

    I think the fact that Saul eventually sought out a witch tells us a lot of where he was at in his spiritual state towards the end. David despite his sins never fell that far.
     
  3. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    Well, MY answer is:

    Just because God uses the Bible to speak to us, does not make it right for us to exchange His image as the Incorruptible God, for one we read in the parts of the Bible we don't understand. God reveals Himself to us as the God of Love, the God of Forgiveness and Mercy.

    When Man's belief that each verse in the entire Bible is equally inspired, causes us to see Him as the God of Genocide, or the God of unjust favor to one particular tribe of people in the Middle East; or the God of petty Jealousy and Anger, then we have IMO a failure in Man's doctrine.


    God is Who He is. I see no reason to compromise His glory for the sake of Man's doctrine or understanding. Verses of the Bible I read that do not support the revealed knowledge of God that He's given to me, I set aside for the time being and do not worry about them!
     
  4. JimB

    JimB Legend

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    This falls under the heading of “Questions I Plan to Ask God Someday.” Of course, I believe it will all be clear when we no longer see through a glass darkly, but these are troubling questions.

    Why does God behave so “badly” sometimes? That’s a question David Lamb attempts to answer in a book I just received in the mail yesterday: God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist, and Racist? (see here). Maybe he will clear things up for me. But at the moment, I see God’s imagined atrocities in the OT as evidence of how pervasive and contagious sin can be. Perhaps, like a cancer, God had to remove an entire culture or a life in order to deal with their sinfulness. If that is so, then it is God’s mercy on the rest of humanity that he had to take such drastic measures to protect the many from the few.

    ~Jim


    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen,


    not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.


    ~C.S. Lewis
     
  5. Faulty

    Faulty bind on pick up Supporter

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    Saul didn't kill the Amelakites as he was told, but an Amelakite killed him. An Amelakite also almost wiped out the Jews in the days of Esther, and yet another, known as Herod the Great, killed many Jewish children in an attempt to kill Jesus.

    He probably should ahve done what he was told to do
     
  6. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Adonai puts the song in my heart Supporter

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    Besides being the "First" hint it was also the first command that God gave Saul. Saul disobeyed from the get go. David did not. Davids intentions were to obey. Saul's was not.
     
  7. Yitzchak

    Yitzchak יצחק

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    It helps to understand the back round.








    All of this back round is the context for The Lord's instructions to Saul.





    Saul knew that he was disobeying God. It was not an accident or over site. it was willful disobedience.


    One reason why Saul was judged more harshly was that he was not just being judged for his personal sin. he had been given a responsibility to represent and act in the name of God. In other words , the issue was a lot bigger than just Saul. I believe we see a similar thing happen with Moses not being allowed to enter the promised land. This was a key moment and God had selected Saul to play the key role. He acted in the name of God and under the anointing of God as a leader over all of God's people.


    This was not just any old side issue either. This came at the end of centuries of God patiently waiting to bring his wrath and judgment upon Amalek. This was not an assignment to be taken lightly.
     
  8. JimB

    JimB Legend

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    This explanation doesn't make sense. David's sin with Bathsheba resulted in the death of an innocent man and child, not to mention his selfish adulterous act with Bathsheba, and his last recorded sin resulted in the death of 70,000 Israelis (2 Sam. 24.10-15). IMO, Saul sparing Agag and a few livestock pales by comparison. There has to be more to this than what you have offered.

    I wish I knoew what it was. :)

    ~Jim
     
  9. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God. Supporter

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    With David v. Saul. it comes down to the heart. When David was first anointed, the Lord had to explain to even Samuel that "man judges by outer appearance, but God looks on the heart". Saul disobeyed, lied about it, and then had no faith and presumed to make himself a priest to God. When caught, all he cared about was how he looked before the people, not how he had offended God. He never truly repented. Later, Saul even prophesied, even naked, yet it still did not effect heart transformation. David fell to lust, and even murder, but his repentance was genuine (Ps 51, et al). He paid dearly for his sin, but he was reinstated with the Lord because his heart was right. The contrast between the two is classic.

    As for the genocide, God has chosen to work with man and his structures throughout human history. Since the Cross, under the Kingdom dispensation, He does not "officially" involve himself in theocracies, and he has not invested his name in only one people. But under the Mosaic covenant, he did exactly that. He deigned to work through human agencies - as very imperfect as they were - primarily in order to bring his Son into the world in the fullness of time, in order to save the world from just these kinds of horrific things. And He still works through very flawed vessels of clay, in order to establish His kingdom.

    Also, recall that the nations of Canaan were exceedingly depraved, and were given to such things as offering their infants to the flaming belly of the detestable Molech. When the Lord cut the covenant with Abrahm, he told him it would be four hundred years before his descendants would enter their promised land:

    As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” -Gen 15:15-16
    Here the Lord is actually delaying the Israelites entering their own land because He did not want to destroy a people (the Amorites) that did not yet deserve it. This shows His fairness, and also the detail with which He weaves His way in human history. By the time of Joshua and then Saul, we can conclude that the error of the Canaanites was indeed complete. Once again, the Lord is proven innocent in all His judgments.
     
  10. AudioArtist

    AudioArtist AudioArtist

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    Thanks for this - I found it helpful. :)

    I know David didn't write all of them, but I believe he did write many of them...I am often taken aback by the Psalms. They are the biggest case for intimacy with God and are a beautiful revealing of the power of worship. When I was very young in the faith, I would ask - 'where does the Bible really point towards an 'intimate relationship' with the Lord? Where is it played out?' I was attacked with the silly doubt that this was a modern invention!

    Well, like the epistles of Paul and John, the psalms are so self-authenticating that I find it impossible not to accept their Divine origins. They are the inspired overflow of someone enamoured with the real, living God - someone deeply involved in intimate and reverent relations to the Lord and Saviour of the universe. I find it amazing one could real the Psalms and not be challenged about an exclusively theoretical, academic, information-laden 'relationship' with Christ. Thanks to David's God-breathed words, we have a glimpse of what is possible, and thanks to Jesus Christ's blood, all of us have access to the same reality today!
     
  11. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Compassion is the basis of the teachings . Supporter

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    The old testament was on a different basis than the new . the king of Israel represented something that would be characteristic of Jesus Christ .

    so all the metrics back then were particular . that's why David was chosen, his way of life read (almost) like the sermon on the mount .
     
  12. AudioArtist

    AudioArtist AudioArtist

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    How so? Please expand. :)
     
  13. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Compassion is the basis of the teachings . Supporter

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    The way all the poor and destitute would flock to him in his distress and how he mourned the death of his enemies . it was very much an emotional version of the spiritual message . i said almost because his lust problem was spoken to in matthew 5 28 . but damn near close . as i read it .
     
  14. therebelprophet

    therebelprophet Senior Member

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    How about some disturbing scripture for everyone to casually peruse?

    Exodus 33:19
    19 The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose."

    Paul references this in Romans 9 and speaks of God choosing Jacob over Esau i.e. "Jacob I have loved and Esau I have hated" BEFORE THEY WERE EVEN BORN. Paul further explains and expounds on this idea in this manner:

    14 Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! 15 For God said to Moses,

    “I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
    and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”

    16 So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

    17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”[j] 18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.

    19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”

    20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? 22 In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. 23 He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. (Emphasis mine)

    So, basically, God wiped them all out because it was His prerogative to do so. He rejected Saul because of the same reason. Remember, it was GOD that chose Saul to begin with and HE chose him because He knew that Saul was the type of King the PEOPLE wanted. So if God chose Saul then He had every right to reject him. Funny that we have no problem with God showing mercy to people (sometimes) but we nearly always have a problem with him rejecting people or judging them.

    For example, I have no pity for the "victims" of Katrina or of any of the natural disasters that have been wrecking this nation. We deserve it. If the righteous get caught up in it, then they should give glory to God for judging righteously. Even if I myself were to get destroyed in something that was God's judgment, I would praise Him for judging the wicked, not berate Him for killing a few righteous as "collateral damage".

    He is God. I am not. He can do whatever He wants to do and we have to trust that He is doing what is just and right and good. From a worldly perspective it is unfortunate that people have to die for sin. From a Godly perspective it is necessary to preserve the righteous and to preserve creation even. Wickedness destroys everything in it's path. Everything. I would much rather God wipe out 20,000 people or even 20 MILLION people and save the other 6.58 BILLION people on the earth than to preserve the few and end up destroying the many.

    How Great is our God, indeed. :bow:
     
  15. AudioArtist

    AudioArtist AudioArtist

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    I can see your point, therebelprophet. It is good to be reminded not to take God's mercy for granted.

    My question was more to do with the comparison between Saul and David (and others). I am trying to work out why Saul was rejected while people far "more sinful" than him weren't. I suppose "just because" is one answer, since it is God's right to do what He wants with his clay pots, but the Scriptures also clearly declare that God will reward each person according to what they have done and that God is a God of justice, impartial to all.
     
  16. lismore

    lismore Legend

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    The messiah (king) was to come from Judah's line. Saul was descended of Benjamin. David was descended from Judah.

    Edited to add: God did not want to make Saul king, the people did and God allowed it, but God said he himself had been rejected by his people's request.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  17. therebelprophet

    therebelprophet Senior Member

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    I would say that the Amalekite situation would definitely be part of it. Also, Saul was haughty. His sins were sins of the heart for sure. He thought he didn't need God. But God also sent an evil spirit to torment Saul, too, so iono...mebbe God did it all to set up David to be King. :shrug:
     
  18. JimB

    JimB Legend

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    But, don’t forget, God chose Saul to be king.
    15 Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to Me.” (1 Samuel 9)
    ~Jim

    I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen,
    not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
    ~C.S. Lewis
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  19. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Compassion is the basis of the teachings . Supporter

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    it was more of a choice based on what the people asked for .

    But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
     
  20. Simon Peter

    Simon Peter 14th Generation Protestant

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    Sometimes people want to know the answer to this sort of question because they expect God's actions should fit into some sort of idea they have about fairness and justice.

    Innocent children die every day.

    In WWI 900,000 Brits were killed from a country with a population around 30 million. A whole generation of young men wiped out, and most of them were better men than me.

    I could go on, but I expect you get my point.

    In the context of God's favour, God said:

    And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
    Exodus 33:19b ESV

    God is sovereign, which is one reason we should fear Him.

    peace,
    Simon
     
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