by Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday August 11, 2006
The Pain of Bitterness
Bitterness is never a legitimate response for a child of God. It poisons the mind, the emotions, and the spirit. When did this resentful attitude take root in King Saul? Let’s look at two events in his life for clues.
Saul couldn’t go to battle until Samuel the prophet arrived to offer the burnt sacrifice as God had commanded. During the wait, Saul’s men became terrified of the enemy and started to leave, so the king took action and made the sacred offering himself. He may have thought, This has to be done right away. Why shouldn’t I do it? He failed to see the necessity of obeying divine commands to the letter. God viewed this
as a serious act of rebellion, which would lead to judgment: Saul’s kingdom wouldn’t endure. God would one day appoint someone else to take over as ruler instead of Saul’s descendants. Imagine Saul’s reaction to hearing the kingdom would not belong to his family.
During the war against the Amalekites, King Saul once again failed to follow the Lord’s instructions fully. When confronted by Samuel about his misdeed, he lied and claimed that he had obeyed; later, however, Saul attempted to justify his disobedience. His unrepentant heart grieved the Lord and resulted in further judgment: he, the king, was now rejected by God (1 Samuel 15:10-11, 26).
I believe Saul’s descent into bitterness began with the news that his disobedience would cost him the kingdom. Be sure to take your disappointments and anger immediately to the Lord. Pour them out before Him, and ask Him to help you let them go. Your spiritual health depends on it.
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