I don’t like to be told I am wrong.  But I think most of us don’t like that.  The real question is what we will do when we are confronted with our error.  As everyone will be wrong eventually, our response is what makes all the difference.

As we come to a new surah, Saad, I see this as the main theme here.  When David was confronted about his infidelity (which is graciously never mentioned in the passage) by way of a parable involving stolen sheep, the great king quickly repented of his sin and asked for forgiveness (38:24).  David’s son Solomon is lifted up as a great example of repentance as well, an attribute that is never assigned to Solomon in the Bible nor is this specific story in there.  When his desire to own a pair of beautiful horses becomes more important to him than his devotion to God so that God punished him with a wasting disease (38:31-34), Solomon turned back to God as soon as he acknowledged the error of his ways (38:35).  Job is also held up as an “excellent servant” because he realized he dealt too harshly (or not harshly enough, depending on your interpretation) with his blasphemous wife (38:41-44).

We see none of this penitence with Iblis.  Once again the story recounts that when Iblis was commanded to bow before the newly created human, Iblis refused.  He was “too proud.  He became a rebel” (38:74).  And so punishment chases him until “the Appointed Day” (38:81).  Likewise, those who are rejecting the Qur’an with its simple reminder that there is only one God (38:1) are also described as “steeped in arrogance and hostility” (38:2).

And so it is.  Who will we be like?  When we see the error of our ways will we fight the arrogance that so easily rises up inside us telling us that we are right, that we need not bow down to anyone?  Will we respond with contrition and humility like David, Solomon, and Job?  Or will we harden our pride even to the point of self-destruction?  That is the question.

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