King David was known as one of Israel’s greatest kings. His greatness was not because he was sinless, but that he was quick to repent when he did sin. David was successor to Saul, Israel’s first king. Saul began much like David in humility. But pride soon took over. Saul disobeyed the Word of the Lord through the prophet Samuel. Samuel’s instruction to Saul was to wait in Gilgal seven days for Samuel to arrive to offer up burnt offerings to God. But after seven days, Samuel had not arrived so Saul went ahead and offered up the offerings himself. Not only was Samuel displeased but so was God. But we don’t find Saul repentant of this disobedience. Saul went on later to disobey again by sparing King Agag of Amalek and the best of their flocks when he was clearly instructed to destroy everyone and everything. This time Saul did admit he sinned but he tried to explain (justify) his sin. There is no justification for going against God’s word. Any reason we could think of to explain why we sinned would be to say it was more important to us than what God said. David, however, knew there is never a justification for disobedience to God. Psalm 51 clearly conveys David’s agony over his sin with Bathsheba. We find no excuses, no justification – only brokenness, humility and repentance. David knew that, when he sinned, it wasn’t the offerings or sacrifices that God wanted – it was a heart broken before Him.
8 Then go down to Gilgal ahead of me. I will join you there to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. You must wait for seven days until I arrive and give you further instructions.” 1 Samuel 10:8 (NLT) ……… 7 ……Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. 9 So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. 1 Samuel 13:7-9 (NLT)
22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)
24 Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the LORD’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded. 1 Samuel 15:24 (NLT)
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT)