“Yes, Mom, I hear you! I’ll get my homework done and unload the dishwasher before I watch TV.” Brent looked his mom straight in the eyes and repeated her instructions. Marlene had to work the third shift this week, and she wouldn’t be around when Brent got home from school. Later, when she inspected her son’s work, she realized he hadn’t followed all of her directions. When she confronted him, Brent rolled his eyes and said, “But, Mom, I didn’t think you meant all of it!” Walking away in disgust, she muttered, “Where did I go wrong?”
Marlene sounds a little like Samuel when he expressed God’s grief over Saul’s misbehavior: “I regret that I have made Saul king.” Samuel, God’s messenger on earth, had given Saul clear instructions: Wipe out all of the Amalekites and take no plunder. No exceptions.
But Saul’s actions revealed his self-willed heart: “But, Lord, I didn’t think you meant all of them!” God’s commands didn’t fit Saul’s plans, so he tweaked them to fit his convenience.
We’re all a little like Saul. We all fall into the “but, Lord” trap.
I know your grace is sufficient, but, Lord, I think I’ll take the easy way out.
But, Lord, why can’t I tell five of my best friends about what happened?
But, Lord, surely flirting isn’t cheating.
But, Lord, this “friendship” helps me escape my boring life.
But, Lord, overeating isn’t hurting anyone else, is it?
We dig ourselves in deeper when, instead of squelching temptation, we turn toward it. The turn starts when, like Saul, we respond to God’s promptings within us with “But, Lord . . .” and we then reject “the word of the Lord.” The more frequently we make that turn, the more we fool ourselves that we are innocent.
Our daily lives present us with ample opportunity to choose God’s leading or to reject it. Saul chose to disobey, and it cost him the kingdom. Jesus chose to obey, and he gained the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The only “but” believers should utter is the one Christ taught us to pray, “Not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, emphasis added).
1 Samuel 15:11
Taken from NIV Women’s Devotional Bible