The cover up
You would have thought God's decision rather harsh, but there are no half measures with God; it is all or nothing. We must remember God is no respecter of persons. (Ephesians 6:9) As one of the compelling reasons for his disobedience, Saul had remarked: "I was afraid of the people and I gave in to them." (1 Samuel 15:24) What a blunder!
All kings, in fact all people in authority, are appointed by God; they are His canals for untainted justice and good governance of His people. Their first allegiance is to God and then to the people. Whilst the comportment of those put in authority over us may not always honour God, each will have to render account to Him for their deeds - whether good or bad. (Romans 14:12) Was it a wise idea for Saul therefore to have listened to his troops rather than to the word of God that came through His prophet? Or should we give prominence to the word of God or to human beings?
King Saul had sinned in the sight of God but he wanted to look good before his people. He had admitted to Prophet Samuel: "I have sinned. But please honour me before the elders of my people and before
Very often, we want to look good before family and friends after God has exposed our hidden sin. Our world has become callous to that feeling of guilt in the face of our flawed and depraved human behaviour. How many times have we sought to dissimulate sin by trying to keep a straight face, as if nothing has flawed our relationship with God? When we sin, it is against God, not against human beings.
Yet, it is good to know that God has made provision for a way out, to enable us to come boldly to His throne of grace and ask for His mercy. In the Book of Hebrews it is written: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
God's provision for escape
What God requires of us is a change of heart, a transformation in our attitude to sin, so that we shall turn away from it completely. God will always pardon, if we are sincere about the confession of our sins. "Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on him . for He will freely pardon." (Isaiah 55.7) Contrary to what we may think, God will always pardon our sins whatever the volume or the degree. Listen again to what God says through the prophet Isaiah. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18) But first, we would have to talk it out with Him.
King David's sin
King David, described as "the man after God's heart," was at one point in his reign at odds with God when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah, in a bid to cover his tracks. Conscious of his sin however, he travelled down the way of repentance. He had instructed: "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck and die." (2 Samuel 11:14)
That was David's plan to free his conscience. But God, who sees everything, had seen David's shameful crime, and had commissioned Nathan to convict and confront him of his sin.
Nathan met the king and recounted a story to him that appealed to his sense of justice and he straight away condemned the cowardly act. This is Nathan's story in full: "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
Now a traveller came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveller who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him." David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man." (2 Samuel chapter 12:1-7) Yes, to king David's surprise however, Nathan had pointed to him as the culprit.
It would take someone else, sometimes a stranger, to awaken us who are knee-deep in sin, to our pitiful state. God therefore sent Nathan to bring King David to his knees. King David was not only at the point of hiding his sin, he intended to bury it as well. Unconfessed sin is sin, and our relationship with God is further estranged. Some kind of wall is erected between Him and ourselves when we refuse to admit and ask for pardon.
John the Apostle wrote: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteous." (1 John 1:8 -9)