God’s Regret

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #7:

1 Samuel, chapters 15-16
Psalm 101
Mark 11:27-33
2 Corinthians 6

Sometimes I do a quick Google search when I come across a passage that I don’t understand, but tonight I’m just going to pose the question here. Does the “regret” issue present a glaring inconsistency in 1 Samuel 15? Both verse 10 and verse 35 clearly state that the Lord regretted making Saul king, but verse 29 says this: “The Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”

In 1 Samuel 16 we read of David being filled with the Spirit, and in Psalm 101 we see the kind of mentality that being filled with the Spirit produces. Verse 3: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” How difficult this task is in the 21st century!

Note that the Pharisees, in Mark 11, tell Jesus that they “don’t know” the answer to his question about John’s baptism. But their deliberation prior to answering has nothing to do with whether they know the answer. They are instead concerned with which answer will help them achieve their goals.

In small group tonight we were talking about Paul and his steadfast commitment to maintaining a strong separation between believers and unbelievers. Clearly, for Paul, this separation DID NOT equate with avoiding unbelievers or behaving condescendingly toward them. He did, however, unswervingly hold to a vast difference between the status and identity of unbelievers and believers. In 2 Corinthians 6, he says it this way: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (vs 14-16).

Daily Scripture readings for October, set #8:

1 Samuel, chapters 17-18
Psalm 102
Mark 12:1-12
2 Corinthians 7

1 Samuel 18, as with chapter 16, contains a reference to an evil spirit coming upon Saul at the direction of the Lord. “The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, ‘I will pin David to the wall.’ But David evaded him twice” (vs 10-11). Here the spirit is called “harmful,” but chapter 16 plainly calls the spirit “evil.” My question is this: is it sin for God to send an evil spirit to someone? If so, why… and if not, why not?

Psalm 102:18 speaks clearly regarding the intention of recorded Scripture, even from the perspective of the human author: “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”

Mark 12’s parable of the wicked tenants shows very clearly the state of the Jewish people with regard to God’s promise in making them his people. “What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others” (vs 9). This parable is a helpful accompanist to Paul’s teachings in Romans 9-11, and this is another reason why I so enjoy these parallel 4-part reading tracks.

Paul’s delineation of two very different kinds of grief: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2Cor 7:10). Avoiding grief should not be our goal in life, but rather we must avoid the wrong kind of grief.

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