• Rev. Mark Tews

God’s Grace to Us

“’Do not be afraid,’ Samuel replied. ‘You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.’” (1 Samuel 12:20).

God’s Grace Overcomes Our Evil

We usually make a huge mess out of things, but God’s grace is sufficient not only to save us but to use us for His glory. One of the most persistent misconceptions in this world is that God’s grace is because of our behavior. This faulty thinking lies that as long as we are good and as long as we behave ourselves, then God will be gracious to us. It also lies that if we misbehave, God’s grace will stop. Often when something good happens, you might hear someone say, “God is so good.” What is said when something bad happens? Isn’t God still good, even during the bad times?

The context of today’s verse takes place when Israel made a huge mistake in insisting on an earthly king, like the nations around them, rather than being content with God as their king. According to the false and persistent misconception above, that meant that Israel should have expected God to disappear, right? Such thinking would fully expect God to leave, slamming the door behind Him on the way out. Yet, what follows their sinful choice is nothing short of His amazing Grace. The good news for us is that the same amazing grace of God prevails in our lives as well; especially when we give into our own sinful desires. We can find great encouragement from the actions and words of God because His grace is always available.

God Graciously Cleans Up

There is no doubt that Israel blew it with their insistence on an earthly king. And like a good father God took the opportunity to teach His children. God chose and anointed an earthly king for them by allowing them to think they knew how to best determine who should be king. Saul had one thing going for him; he looked like a king. God knew the kind of man they would choose and He knew what the people would like. He was the kind of king the people had envisioned. However, spiritually speaking, Saul was probably like most of the rest of the nation: spiritually dead that is. But God would see to it that things would not go completely awry, at least at the outset.

Samuel anointed Saul to be king in a private ceremony and something very powerful happened. A change took place and Saul experienced the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy! God had graciously empowered Saul to do right, to serve God, and to lead the nation righteously. At the beginning, Saul did so, rescuing the city of Jabesh from the Ammonites. Here is the principle: God is gracious by nature. Our God is the God of the second, third, fourth, and so on chances. We don’t deserve it, but He loves us so He extends His grace. With that opportunity comes the power to obey and trust God. The sinful failures we encounter throughout this life are not with God, but with our refusal to accept His grace, His governance, His Lordship, His kingship, and His direction over our lives.

God Graciously Supplies Godly Leaders

Samuel was at the end of his ministry, so he gave the people a history lesson to remind them of how God’s grace had carried them. Since Moses, for 500 years, God had supplied godly leaders to deliver them. However, Israel’s consistent response had been to forget about God and worship other gods. Finally, they have rejected God and asked for an earthly king. In light of this, God reminded them of an important principle. Whenever God picks a leader to bring grace to His people, he prioritizes that person’s spiritual character. Moses was a prime example. Moses needed some serious reconstruction before he was used, but he delivered God’s message because he was deeply spiritual.

Moms and dads, remember that you are God’s chosen leaders for your families. Your godliness or ungodliness will have a huge impact on your family. This is God’s design. Those who are leaders in our world today are God’s gracious gift to us. However, when they do not follow God, watch out! A good deal of damage is done to the kingdom when leaders fail to be the godly leaders God intended them to be. The later history of Saul and his governance over Israel bears this out. Due to the sinfulness of Saul, Israel was eventually split apart. Saul showed himself unworthy to be the king and Israel suffered for it.

This may sound like law, but it is grace. Israel had to learn through the failure of their choice of turning away from God to trust God instead. Trust in God eventually saw God’s choice of a truly spiritual King to lead Israel; the shepherd boy, David. God has graciously revealed truth to us and calls us to respond with faith-based obedience. David was God’s obedient king, always seeking after God’s own heart and was humbly repentant when he sinned, leaning entirely upon God’s mercy and grace. God revealed the pathway to a restored relationship; to trust in the provision of God for our salvation, and not in our own plan.

Oftentimes you hear people say, “I made Jesus my Lord.” No, they didn’t. Jesus is the King already. We either submit to that reality or not. Submitting to God and trusting in Him is always the only true option we have for eternal happiness. No matter how deep of a pit we have dug for ourselves, God is the only one who can and will deliver us. God calls us to trust in Him, to serve Him, and to receive His blessing.

Moms and dads, none of us are perfect, yet we become a blessing to our family when we ourselves follow the pathway of submission to God and serve as the godly leaders He has called us to be. Wherever we are, whatever mess we may have made, today is a new day and God’s grace is more than sufficient to bless us in it. “’Do not be afraid,’ Samuel replied. ‘You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.’” (1 Samuel 12:20).