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Daily Bible Readings

God's Mercy Increases When We Mess Up

Posted by Dan Sullivan on

18 So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” 20 And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.

1 Samuel 12:18–22 Read More

This is a pretty awkward moment for Israel. Samuel is in the middle of ordaining Saul as king. Saul has just unified Israel to fight against the Ammonites and had a great victory. God has just given Israel a king, although He was their true king and He has warned them about how troublesome a human king is going to be. While Samuel stands up to anoint Saul king, he is telling the people how much they have sinned by asking for a king that God is going to give them anyway. 

It sounds like soap opera or something you need to diagram. 

The most beautiful thing is what is going on with the Lord’s love for His people. When you are confused about a scripture, follow the love. 

God cares for Israel very much and He desires that the whole nation grows in their faith in Him. At the same time, they are coveting the kings of other countries and are oppressing them. God knows that if Israel doesn’t have a king they can see, they will go get one. Rather than let that happen, He obliges them and gives them a king. 

God is a Generous Giver

The powerful thing to see here is that God so often gives the highest desires of peoples’ hearts. God let Adam and Eve choose the knowledge of good & evil, and gave them that full knowledge. 

Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. It is in freedom that the Lord let Israel have a king even if it wasn’t the best thing for them. After some miraculous, out of season thunder and lightning, the people are cut to the heart and fear God over their sin. This is Samuel’s big chance to really let them have it and lay the guilt on thick, but he doesn’t. 

You Have Sinned, Now Let’s Move On

”Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord but serve the Lord with all your heart.”
Samuel doesn’t hide the fact that they sinned. He doesn’t say that it’s no big deal, but he also doesn’t give up. It’s like he is saying “You have sinned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still follow the Lord! You are still His people! Come on!”

So many times we carry around our sin like we are a hopeless mess, like we are doomed forever. Samuel would say to us now, Come on! Don’t you know what side of the cross you are on? If the Lord wouldn’t forsake Israel after all the stuff they did, how much more so is He going to keep you?!”

God’s Pleasure in Showing Mercy

The fact is, from page one to page 1342 (if you have an awesome study bible) God shows off the most when He shows mercy. Samuel tells the people “it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for Himself.” It is out of God’s joy that He has mercy on us. So many people think God gets joy from punishing the disobedient or getting revenge against people that hurt Him. It’s true that He has wrath, and it’s true that there is going to be a judgment, but glory and mercy are always traveling together in the scriptures. 

If you’ve got some awful sin that is beating you down today, Come on! You have done all this evil! But don’t turn aside from following the Lord. Serve Him, even with your record of evil, with all of your heart. It pleases Him to make you a person just for Him.

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Tags: faith, forgiveness, holiness, salvation, sanctification, sin