Summary: The difference between one human being and another is the heart... that only God can see.

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Title: The Slight Problem

Text: I Samuel 15:34-16:13

Thesis: The difference between one human being and another is the heart... that only God can see.


In his book Blink, which is a book about thinking without thinking, Malcolm Gladwell told about the bias of those who judged classical musicians who auditioned for symphony orchestras. They believed their ears were unbiased until proven otherwise.

For the last thirty years prospective musicians have auditioned behind a screen which has resulted in many musicians being admitted to the orchestra who would previously have been rejected because of an unconscious bias with regard to appearance or gender.

At the time when Julie Landsman auditioned for the role of principal French horn at the Met in NYC, no women had been admitted to the brass section of the orchestra because everyone knew that women could not play brass as well as men. She played well and at the end of her piece she held the last high C for a very long time, just to leave no doubt in the minds of the judges.

The judges were impressed and amused and immediately declared her the winner. But when she stepped out from behind the curtain they gasped in surprise. It was not that she held the high C for so long or the fact that her sound was as macho as any man’s macho. It was because they knew her. She was a substitute player… it was not until they listened to her with their ears that they realized just how outstanding a musician she really was. (Malcolm Gladwell, Blink, Little Brown & Company, 2005, pp. 250-254; submitted by John Beukema,

All those years they could have had this outstanding musician in their brass section, but everyone knows women cannot play brass as well as a man. The judges experienced both a bit of embarrassment and regret.

We often have regrets. So does God.

I. Even God has regrets about some people.

And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul King of Israel. I Samuel 15:35

The bible speaks of two instances in which God actually expressed regret over a decision he had made:

1. Before the flood in Genesis the bible says, “The Lord observed the extent of the people’s wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry [or grieved, NIV] he had ever made them. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will completely wipe out the human race that I have created… “ Genesis 6:5-7

2. After Saul failed to obey God as the first King of Israel the Lord said to Samuel, “I am sorry [grieved, NIV] that I ever made Saul king for he has not been loyal to me and he again refused to obey me.” (I Samuel 15:1) Later Samuel confronted Saul and told him, “Since you have rejected the Lord’s command, the Lord has rejected you from being king of Israel.” Then a few verses later the bible again says, “The Lord was sorry [or grieved, NIV] he had ever made Saul king of Israel.” (I Samuel 16:35)

God did not create human beings for the purpose of failure. God did not set Saul up as King of Israel so he could fail. In fact Samuel told Saul that it was God’s intent to bless his reign saying, “Had you obeyed, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.” (I Samuel 13:13)

I know from my own experience as a person and a pastor that we can only regret a decision when the outcome is other than what we had hoped.

A passenger flying from Philadelphia to Seattle on US Airways convinced airline representatives that her pig was a “therapeutic companion pet” – like a see-eye dog and was permitted to sit with the pig in 1st Class. However eventually the pig became restless and began to wander about. One passenger said the pig kept rubbing his nose on people’s legs trying to get a handout or a back scratch. Other passengers described the pig as “enormous, brown, angry, and honking.”

When the plane landed in Seattle the pig panicked, running up and down through economy class squealing.” It was reported that passengers were standing in their seats, screaming.

It took four attendants to escort the pig from the airplane and to the terminal where the pig escaped squealing through the concourse.

Later, US Airways spokesman David Castelveter said, “We confirm that the pig traveled, and we can confirm that it will never happen again.” (Linda M. Gehrs, assistant editor of; from AP story, Chicago Sun Times, 10.30.00)

We have all done something that seemed right at the time but later said, “I regret that things have turned out this way. It was not what I intended or hoped would happen.”

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Bill Scott

commented on Jul 21, 2015


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