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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Living a life of integrity can spare us the shame caused by exposure.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Samuel 13:12

“I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down on me at Gilgal and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt obligated to offer the burnt offering.“”

1 Samuel 14:36

“Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines at night; we will rout them until the break of day. We won’t leave any of them alive!” They replied, “Do whatever seems best to you.” But the priest said, “Let’s approach God here.“”

1 Samuel 15:12

“Then Samuel got up early to meet Saul the next morning. But Samuel was informed, “Saul has gone to Carmel where he is setting up a monument for himself. Then Samuel left and went down to Gilgal.“”

1 Samuel 15:15

“Saul said, “They were brought from the Amalekites; the army spared the best of the flocks and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD our God. But everything else we slaughtered.“” 

There is something about being questioned that can bring out the excuses in all of us. Much like Adam and Eve blamed someone else when they were questioned by God, we can try to put our shortcomings on someone or something else. Excuses are kind of in our DNA. Any parent can attest to this reality being evident in children who try to escape their guilt by creative excuses or flat out lying. They can become experts at it and start to believe their own fabrication, except for the grace of God.

Living a life of integrity can spare us the shame caused by exposure. There’s nothing to hide. That does not mean perfection, but it means we don’t have to try to conceal anything when we walk uprightly – what a place of freedom!

We all make mistakes, though, and it is in those moments that our character is revealed. Will we humble ourselves and admit our error, or try to hide our error, due to pride or shame?

Saul was such an impetuous individual. He made rash decisions that ultimately caused him his position, but most importantly, impacted his relationship with God. He tried to reason with God and with Samuel as to why he made the choices he made. I am sure we can all relate to that. Dressing up our actions or decisions to make them look more attractive might remove the temporary stigma of embarrassment, but it won’t remove the enduring conviction that comes from placating our wrongdoing.

From outward appearances, Saul did the right thing. He offered a burnt offering after doing what God told him to do. Only thing was he did it his way, then tried to make an excuse when questioned later about the “baaing” of sheep that Samuel heard which were supposed to be slaughtered. Saul took that moment of disobedience and tried to turn it into an acceptable offering – he spared the sheep to worship his God with a burnt offering that the Bible says he “felt obligated” to offer.

Wow. What a moment of worship – stale, forced, empty of genuine awe. Like Saul, we can try to serve God our way, or make excuses, then try to ask God to bless it.

It is a defining moment in our lives when we are confronted with our shortcomings – whether by the Holy Spirit or by an individual or circumstance. What will be our response? Will humility cause us to admit our weakness, or pride cause us to turn a blind eye?

Looking at the fruit from these defining moments can help us to stay on track. None of us are beyond making painful mistakes. We all fall short of the glory of God. Knowing that God does not condemn us, but convicts us to help us choose rightly can help us. But further, thinking through the consequences of our actions can also serve as a motivation to steer away from deceiving ourselves and others.

Saul built a monument . . . for himself . . . spared sheep . . . for himself . . . fought battles without seeking God first. Keeping up with appearances is not fun. Eventually, our motives are revealed and if we just own up to our hidden faults, peace overwhelms our souls once again.

As much as it hurts to have our failures exposed, unknown and known to us, it is a kindness. Perhaps not always expressed that way by man, but the beauty of God’s correction is that He always has a benign purpose – we are being freed from something that is harmful within us. God’s correction is always redeeming – He corrects us with the purpose of restoration and keeping us aligned with His word. There is no fear in His correction – unless we try to hide from the reality of our sin.

Making excuses is overrated. Ultimately, God can’t bless disobedience or deception. Walking in the light exposes our hidden sins and frees us to live worthy lives for our LORD.

God, thank You for showing us where we fall short. You are merciful and Your grace is enough. Help us to receive instruction and open our eyes to see our hidden sins that we may glorify You with upright lives.

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