That was Saul.
And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve probably done it ourselves at least on a smaller scale. Our natural reaction to the feeling of conviction we get when we sin is to point the finger elsewhere. It started in the garden, when Adam pointed to Eve, and Eve pointed to the serpent. We see it in our kids shouting, “He started it!” — or maybe that was just my childhood.
We see it in courts of law with defendants justifying their own behavior because someone else tempted them, coerced them, or threatened them. All those things may be true, but the greater truth is that we always have other options. I saw a meme the other day that said, “If you want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t want to do something, you’ll find an excuse.” My addendum to this truth is, “If you do something you know you shouldn’t have, you’ll find someone to blame.”
The really sad part about our propensity for blaming others is that it points us away from the resolution that would bring healing. When we look at others and blame them, we fail to look at ourselves, accept the truth about what is in our heart that led to the action, and repent. Ask God to put to death the sin that lurks in us, seeking to destroy us and those we love. Turn away from the sin and embrace God’s standards (see yesterday’s post) and many of the painful consequences will dissipate. A few are likely to remain, as unwelcome but necessary reminders to keep us from returning to the same trap.
Saul never seemed to grasp his own responsibility for his predicament. In blaming David, and then blaming the priests for helping David, and exterminating them, he only heaped more judgment and condemnation on himself. Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” but there are still consequences for those refuse to learn from their mistakes. Hebrews 12:11 confirms, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”