Saul was the first king of Israel. He struggled to obey God and accept his directives through the prophet, Samuel. Rather, he chose to go his own way and follow what the people said, choosing his reputation over obedience. Due to Saul’s overt rejection of God, God rejected him as king over Israel.
Saul was sorry he got caught not listening to the prophet. He wanted to be forgiven so that he might save face in front of the people, not because he had rejected God’s commands. This is Samuel’s response to Saul when he wanted forgiveness:
“The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to someone else—one who is better than you. And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!”1 Samuel 15:28-29
God freely forgives according to his character. But forgiveness follows genuine repentance. The Apostle John in his first letter to the church says that when we confess our sins, God forgives. I John 1:9
Repentance that leads to forgiveness says, “I’m sorry for violating God’s holy name and for rejecting his leadership in my life.” Repentance that does not lead to forgiveness says, “I’m sorry I got caught and feel bad that you might think less of me.” See 2 Corinthians 7:8-10.
God forgives me lavishly according to his character. He also knows when my repentance is genuine or if I’m simply trying to save face. God waits to lift the heavy burden off and cast it away. Are you ready to let go? Is repentance genuine?