It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. 1 Samuel 15:11.
While Saul and his army were marching home in the flush of victory, there was deep anguish in the home of Samuel the prophet. He had received a message from the Lord denouncing the course of the king.... The prophet was deeply grieved over the course of the rebellious king, and he wept and prayed all night for a reversing of the terrible sentence.
God's repentance is not like man's repentance. “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” Man's repentance implies a change of mind. God's repentance implies a change of circumstances and relations. Man may change his relation to God by complying with the conditions upon which he may be brought into the divine favor, or he may, by his own action, place himself outside the favoring condition; but the Lord is the same “yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Saul's disobedience changed his relation to God; but the conditions of acceptance with God were unaltered—God's requirements were still the same, for with Him there “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
With an aching heart the prophet set forth the next morning to meet the erring king. Samuel cherished a hope that, upon reflection, Saul might become conscious of his sin, and by repentance and humiliation be again restored to the divine favor. But when the first step is taken in the path of transgression the way becomes easy. Saul, debased by his disobedience, came to meet Samuel with a lie upon his lips. He exclaimed, “Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” The sounds that fell on the prophet's ears disproved the statement of the disobedient king.61Ibid., 629, 630.
Saul denied his sin even while the lowing of the oxen and the bleating of the sheep were publishing his guilt.62Letter 12a, 1893.
From Conflict and Courage - Page 157