Worldly Sorrows

Part one of Two: Saul and the Amalekites

Kill them all! Do not spare anyone or anything. If it breathes, kill it. If anything is left, destroy it. This is the command given to Saul [1] from the prophet Samuel through God concerning the Amalekites [2]. Therefore, Saul gathered 210,000 men and utterly destroyed the Amalekites [3]. . .except for King Agag [4], and the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs, and all that was good. The only trouble is, there are no exceptions to God’s direct command, and Saul sinned. To make a long story short, Saul repented of his deception and sin [5]. Samuel, speaking for God, rejected Saul’s weak excuse of better worshiping God with the sacrificial animals thereby and saving their own animals [6].

Many of us today are truly repentant but sometimes it can look like a pity party [7]. I’ve done it myself. Repentance means to turn or to reverse the direction in which you are going. It does not mean to beat up on the dead man [8]. Neither does it mean to repent because of the consequences of sin like Saul did when he saved Agag [9] and all of the best that was good [10]. He was selfish and only worried about his reputation among the people. Saul asked Samuel to honor him among his people, because he wanted to avoid any public reproach [11]. Therefore Saul repented because of the consequences of his sin and not the possibility of change or losing fellowship with God, just like many of us do today, including yours truly. Worldly sorrow leads to spiritual death.

v10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
[2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT]

Worldly sorrow, or worldly grief, boils down to the repentance from sin in the form of a pity party. This repentance focuses on self and the consequences of our sin as in self-pity, regret, and guilt. We leave God out of the picture, and by NOT going to Him, we risk a continued loss of fellowship with God. Worldly sorrow (grief) not only points to self and the consequences of our sin, but the unwillingness to effect change by going to Christ in grief (sorrow).

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Stay tuned next week for the final installment titled The Godly Sorrow, when we’ll learn of this week’s sharp contrast of repentance with David, his sin, and Nathan the prophet.


[1] 1 Samuel 15:2, 3
[2] Give short history of Amalekites and lying in wait for the Israelites as hey exited Egypt through God’s salvation
[3] 1 Samuel 15:4, 7; There were three things the Israelites were obliged to do when they came into the land of Canaan; 1) to appoint a king over them, 2) to build the house of the sanctuary, and 3) to blot out the name and memory of Amalek, and God reserved this work Saul, Israel’s first king.
[4] The Bible does not give us a reason why Saul spared Agag so it is open to conjecture
[5] 1 Samuel 15:24
[6] 1 Samuel 15:14, 15, 21
[7] 2 Corinthians 7:10 (Describe process — sin, repent, promise not to do again, go back to sin)
[8] All of mankind is dead to their sin until our salvation through Christ who died for our sins. When we sin, we lose fellowship with God and are spiritually dead in our sin, until we repent of that sin.
[9] 1 Samuel 15:8
[10] 1 Samuel 15:9
[11] 1 Samuel 15:30

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