In Genesis chapter 12, Abraham not only disobeyed God, sold out his wife, but then in verses 17:20, he was rebuked by the “world.” And Abraham is considered by God as the father of the faithful (Romans 4:11). The Bible never covers us up the weaknesses and sins of God’s own people and this is one of the most beautiful realities of it, it's realism. But it does show the everlasting and unconditional love God has for His people. God is betrayed, disobeyed, not believed in, not listened to, etc., but yet He still loves us so. Not only that, but often times when we don’t trust God, He will intervene in the midst of our blunders as He did with Abraham and Sarah (read Genesis 20). Just don’t put Him to the test on this.
So why did men like Abraham and King David have the favor of the Lord even when they sinned, but men like King Saul suffered harsh judgments from God for his sins, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him” (1 Samuel 16:14, NKJ)? Because Abraham and David loved God more than anything else in the world and His glory was preeminent in their lives, before their own glory. They did not love God for His benefits, but they loved God for who He was. Their following and faithfulness to God cost them much, but they were all the more joyful for it in the end, because through their suffering, God was more glorified.
Neither of them sought out victories for themselves or for their own name-sake. They knew where their victories in conquering their foes came from, they came from God Himself. They did not relish their fame, riches, victories and blessing, but they only rejoiced in that God’s name may be known and proclaimed throughout the earth through their lives. Their love and praise for God was heartfelt. God’s heart meant something to them. They cared deeply about what their actions would cause the world at large to say and think about God. They certainly were not perfect by any means in their actions, but God knew their hearts. God’s desires and purposes superseded any of their own.
King Saul was in the business of God for his own benefit only. He never cared one iota for God’s glory and never saw what his life with God was meant to be. Saul did not concern himself that he was God’s representative and ambassador to His people. Nor did he care or think about what his actions or life’s choices would bring on God’s name or character. When it was all said and done for King Saul, he could not even muster up any true remorse or heartfelt repentance that would have led to a changed heart for God.
These examples are given to us as good litmus tests for our own hearts for God. Why is it that I love God? In our daily lives, are we always cognizant of what our actions and words are saying about God? Like it or not, our lives do speak for God, one way or the other. By our lives, and the ways we choose to live them out, it will cause God’s name to be either blasphemed or praised. We may not like the fact that we do carry this responsibility for God, but it’s the way things are constituted. It’s as if God says to us, “here I am, I give you My Name, what will you cause people to say about Me- how will you cause people to remember me?” We need to take this seriously, because it is a fact in every one of our lives. May we pray that God will grant us hearts like David and Abraham’s. Hearts that are pure towards Him and for Him. May God’s name be high and lifted up by the way we live and conduct our lives. God honors those who honor Him. (See 1st Samuel 2:30).