“Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him” (1 Samuel 16:14).
This is one of the most frightening verses in the Bible.
The context for this verse is God’s rejection of Saul as the king of Israel due to Saul’s rejection of God’s command and Saul’s disobedience.
The frightening part of this verse is that there is a threshold to God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. You see, I just assume that God will always be forgiving, merciful, and patient with me. But what this verse tells us is that there came a point in Saul’s life where God’s patience and grace toward Saul came to an end. When God’s patience and grace toward Saul came to an end, God’s presence left Saul. When God’s presence left Saul, Saul was tormented by an evil spirit.
God’s presence is God’s favor. God’s presence is shalom. God’s presence is everything!
I don’t know the exact point of the threshold for God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. What I do know is that there comes a point when God will absolutely honor our decision regarding God. God will honor our reception of God and his promises, and God will honor our rejection of his plans.
The threshold for God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness is not a one time rejection of God’s will and a one time act of disobedience. On the other hand, should we on an on-going basis reject God’s offer of salvation and grace in this lifetime God will absolutely honor that desire on the day of judgment.
There is a limit to God’s grace. Once that limit is reached, there is judgment and a fearful expectation of God’s wrath.
The safest bet, the wisest thing to do is to receive God’s grace and plan of salvation right now when you have the opportunity.
Secondly, if you are wrestling with and are bothered by the fact that you struggle with obedience to God’s will, you need not worry about reaching God’s threshold of mercy. The fact that you are bothered and are wrestling with obeying God is a sign that God is at work in you.
If you are content with the fact that you continue to reject God’s will, if you are perfectly fine with the reality that you are disobedient, be careful. Repent and get right with God.
Finally, if you haven’t ever received God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, do so right now.