You’re going to miss me when I’m gone…
Oh, how we wish we could hear those small whispers before the fact rather than after.
How I wish I had savored Almond Dream Praline Crunch ice cream before they stopped making it. How I wish I had been grateful for Take the Money and Run before it got cancelled. I wish I had valued those zero stress childhood days, or even the way it was so much easier to make friends at college than it is as an adult.
How I wish I hadn’t taken all of those things for granted. What about you? What did you take for granted?
And how scary would it be to take something more precious, more valuable for granted? Like your parents? Your partner?
A huge mistake
Our friend Saul got to know that pain up close and personal.
1 Samuel 13 starts simply enough. King Saul, the brand new first edition of Israelite kings, has gathered his army. He’s making war against the Philistines. And he’s raring to go.
So much so, that when Samuel takes his time coming to make the traditional sacrifice of blessing over the army, Saul takes things into his own hands.
God won’t mind, he reasons. I’m the one in charge here, anyway, aren’t I? He was king, after all, and his men were getting scared. His army’s numbers were dropping drastically. He had to do something.
So he breaks God’s law, and offers the sacrifice himself.
Literally two seconds later (verse 10), Samuel appears. And he’s angry. Remorseless, Saul defends himself. He insists he was in the right.
And then it happens.
“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Your kingdom will not endure. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people.”verses 13-14
It’s shocking. Saul has barely been king for one chapter, and already it’s as good as over.
How did this happen?
Slowly, and then all at once
In the beginning, it was all good vibes. God gave Saul miraculous signs to show His favor. He gave him encouragement when Saul was afraid. God gave Saul strength when he was timid. He gave him victories when Saul faced his enemies.
But what about Saul? What did he do?
Did he thank God? Did he ask God to guide him? Did he spend time in prayer, asking God for wisdom? Did he surrender and dedicate his decisions to God?
We don’t know. We don’t really know how much or how little Saul valued his relationship with God in the beginning.
But what we do know is that somewhere along the way, Saul got things twisted. He started thinking too highly of himself, too little of God. He got used to good things happening. He assumed he was doing extremely well, and would keep doing well for years and years to come.
He took God and His goodness and His mercy for granted.
And it caused him to lose everything.
“Please do not forget how much you need Me.”
If we find it easy to take for granted things we can touch and people we can see, then how easy is it for us to take for granted a God we can’t see?
Answer: Extremely easy. In fact, we do it all the time.
We pat ourselves on the back for blessings God graciously gave us. We make decisions on our own, as if it was us, not God, who gave us life. We treat ourselves to a vice here, a small sin there, assuming it doesn’t matter much because God will forgive us anyway.
We live our lives, leaving God as an afterthought, a last priority, Someone we’ll get to once we finish, accomplish, feel like it.
Yet the entire time the only reason we breathe in and out is because He allowed us to.
We have nothing without Him. We are daily sustained by Him. We are in desperate, constant need of Him. We would be helpless without Him.
And when we forget that, we are in danger. Because one day we just might be without Him.
God loves us. His forgiveness is ready and instant. His patience is insurmountable.
But this world and this life has an expiration date. One day Jesus will come back, to save us, to annihilate sin and evil.
And if we are still taking God for granted on that day, we will have to die along with the rest of sin.
He’s warning us. The story of Saul is a warning. The tugs on our hearts are warnings. The consequences of our sins are warnings.
We cannot afford to be without Him.
So why can’t we make today the day we wake up? Can’t today be the day we stop taking God for granted?
All it costs is a simple prayer, a little honesty, and a willingness to change.
But the rewards? Those are eternal.
What do you think? Do you think Saul has blown it or does he have another chance to rebuild his relationship with God?