I recently read of a young executive that was constantly seen in the office restroom fiddling with his mouth. It turns out that he had a problem with his tooth that kept bothering him. To alleviate the pain, he used a numbing gel regularly to make the pain go away.
Finally, he couldn’t stand the pain any longer and he went in to see his dentist. Once the doctor had examined his tooth, he let the young man know that because of his delay, the gum surrounding the tooth had become severely infected and that in order to stop the damage, he would need to remove several teeth around the infected one and fit the executive with a set of partial dentures. All because he failed to deal with the problem when it was small!
In First Samuel 15 we see that sin is destructive and that if it isn’t dealt with right away, like a rotting tooth, it affects more people and becomes more painful. What is needed is a return to God and a spiritual heart check.
Saul was instructed by the Lord to destroy God’s enemies, the Amalekites, and to leave nothing. Saul instead chose to keep the king alive as a trophy, and to take the livestock as the spoils of war. In doing so, Saul rebelled against the direct orders of God and rejected His authority. When confronted with his sin by Samuel, first he lied, then he excused his behavior, then he passed blame to the people, then finally accepted blame but quickly moved on to save face before the people.
We can see from Saul’s rebelliousness against God that often times the effects and consequences of sin reach far beyond the sinner. It is like the consequence of a restaurant cook that does not wash his hands after using the restroom. The filth on his hands that once was personal effects all those who are around his and the innocent suffer from his sin.
The lesson that we can learn from this is that we need to deal with sin quickly and honestly. Sin is so destructive not only because the damage it does to the one wronged, but because it can spread like gangrene and hurt others as well. We need to be honest about our sins (confession) and repent of them, both before God and man.