Here is another entry for Our Daily Journey. As always, I appreciate any constructive feedback that might improve it before I submit it.
read > 1 Samuel 15:1-35
“Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.
I was walking through a museum exhibit on America’s Civil War when I came across a chilling item. It was a receipt, like what you might receive from a store, though this was for a slave named Sally, who had been received in good health from a slave trader in Richmond, Virginia. We are horrified by the buying and selling of human beings, but these people were so oblivious to the ugliness of their sin that they kept the receipt!
I shook my head in disgust, not only for the despicable thing they had done, but also for the many times we brandish the receipt for our sins. We illegally download music or movies, then refuse to delete them from our playlist. We lust after someone who is not our spouse, then savor what we saw and felt as we replay the moment in our minds. We lose our cool and belittle a coworker, then brag to our friends how we “put him in his place.” Rather than feel embarrassed for our sins, we wave our receipt in the air and say, “See what I did!”
Real repentance eliminates look-at-me moments, but gladly gives up any profit from what was done. Saul initially hedged when Samuel asked him why he had saved the receipt from his sin. Saul said he “spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle” so he might “sacrifice them to the LORD” (v. 15). When Samuel refused to play along, Saul finally admitted, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the LORD’s command…please forgive my sin” (vv. 24-25).
Saul’s repentance came too late, as Samuel replied “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to someone else” (v. 28). It’s not too late for us. Turn from sin, and tear up the receipt.