Regret. It isn’t a pleasant thing at all, is it? We all have regret at some point in our lives. It plagues us. It makes us angry, sad, depressed, etc. Would it surprise you to know the we’re not the only one show have regretted something we’ve done?
God had regrets too. He regretted creating mankind because “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was continually only evil”. This grieved God in His heart and that it was why He had no choice but to destroy the earth with the flood after giving the people a long time to repent and to stop sinning.
He regretted making Saul king because of his disobedience. Saul made a sacrifice he wasn’t supposed to because the prophet, Samuel didn’t arrive at the appointed time. And would you believe that right after he offered the burnt offering, Samuel showed up? Samuel wasn’t pleased with Saul’s sacrifice. It was an act of disobedience. He had taken it upon himself to offered the burnt offering and as a result, “… now your kingdom will not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over His people, because you have not kept that which the Lord commanded you.”
If Saul had only waited, Samuel would have shown up and everything would have been all right. His kingdom over Israel would have been established forever. Instead, he acted foolishly and it cost him his kingship.
Another incident was when Saul was given strict instructions to utterly destroy everything of the Amalekites but he and the people decided that they would spare Agag, the king and the best of the flock and oxen while destroying everything else. His wasn’t complete obedience but partial. Partial obedience doesn’t cut it. He failed to do what he was instructed to do and as a result, God regretted making him king over His people. When Samuel confronted Saul, his excuses were that the animals were to be sacrificed to the Lord. The truth was that he and the people were unwilling to destroy the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, and lambs. And why he chose to spare the life of King Agag who had made many women childless, no one knows.
As a result of his disobedience, Saul’s kingdom was torn from him. He learned that day that partial obedience is not obedience and that true obedience was more important and acceptable to God than sacrifice. God didn’t want a sacrifice. He wanted obedience to His commandment.
Regret is something we don’t want God to have on our behalf, is it? Let us purpose in our hearts to do what pleases Him and to always remember that obedience is very important to Him. Obedience is an act of love and trust. It’s telling God that He’s in charge, not us. Obedience is about Him and what He wants while disobedience is about us and what we want. We will have fewer regrets or none at all when we do things God’s way rather than our way.