What Hangs in the Balance?

This is a wonderful question to ask when tempted to disobey God.

I was recently reading the account of Saul disobeying God by trying to please him (the subject of my last post), and I came across an amazing few verses.

hangs in the balance

After Saul offers a sacrifice that he was not authorized to offer, the prophet Samuel tells him:

“You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.” (1 Samuel 13:13–14, ESV)

Wow. Had Saul continued to obey God, the Lord would have established his kingdom forever. This means that not only would his kingdom have continued to his sons, but that his descendants would have had a meaningful role in the future messianic kingdom.

Some have wondered how this could be possible since Saul was not of the tribe of Judah. Commentators have shown a number of possibilities for how this could be so. Robert D. Bergen says,

“The territories of Judah and Benjamin were sometimes treated as the land of one tribe (1 Kg 11:35-36), so that promises made to Judah were applicable to Benjamin as well. Alternatively, God foresaw that in a later era Israel would have two kings, one in the north (Israel proper) and one in the south (Judah). During that time both the house of David and the house of Saul could have had enduring dynasties.”

Warren Wiersbe also provides another possible solution:

“Saul’s eldest son, Jonathan, could have served with David, which in fact is what David and Jonathan had planned (20:31, 42; 23:16–18). Of course, the Davidic dynasty would have established the Messianic line, but someone from Saul’s family would have served in court with the Davidic king.”

However you resolve the issue, the point is the same. Even if you conclude that Samuel was only talking about Saul’s family dynasty and not part of the messianic kingdom, the point is the same.

What hung in the balance was HUGE.

We never really know what hangs in the balance of our decisions. We rarely have the opportunity for God to tell us what might have been.

What might God intend to do with you in the future?
What great opportunities of leadership or influence hang in the balance of your obedience today?

You have no idea.

So, when you feel tempted today to sin, cut corners, take a second look, or do it your way, ask this question:

What hangs in the balance?

Published by

Luke Simmons

I was born and raised in Denver, CO and lived there through high school. Then I moved to Champaign, IL where I attended the University of Illinois and played on the Fighting Illini baseball team. I was married in December, 2001 to Molly, who I met at the U of I. In June of 2002, we moved to Phoenix and have been here ever since. In July of 2006, we welcomed a baby girl, Abby, into our family.

3 thoughts on “What Hangs in the Balance?”

  1. Your words certainly don’t condemn. But the idea that my actions could keep me from receiving all that God has for me is weighty – and honestly, not always in a good way. I will fall temptation. It’s inevitable. This idea taken to its logical conclusion suggests I’ll never have all that God has for me. And at my worst – because I used to think about this a lot, I conclude, ‘Why even try then?’ The only answer I can have for that is – ‘Because he says so.’ I need to pursue holiness not so I can ‘get,’ but because the one I call Lord demands this. But the idea that I will miss out if I sin – and I will sin – is a discouraging one.

    1. It is inevitable. And it’s important to remember that God is for us and is not looking for opportunities to squash us (or we’d already be squashed). I think some of what helps me too is to realize that the thing I “get” by obedience is more of him. One thing that hangs in the balance is greater closeness to God himself. That is motivating.

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