Renewal in Twilight

Feb 25, 2024 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: Twilight Kingdom Scripture: 1 Samuel 11-12
Saul, the newly anointed and recognized king of Israel, faced the first test of his leadership when King Nahash and the Ammonite army surrounded the Israelite territory of Jabesh-gilead. When he had heard about this from his ranch home in Gibeah, “the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul” (11:6). Using threats, Saul raised up an army of 330,000 men who would demolish the Ammonites. The overwhelming victory solidified Saul’s position as king in the eyes of the people. In chapter 11 we find Saul at his best; but things would not stay this way very long. Samuel saw the military victory as an opportunity to call for spiritual renewal at Gilgal. It may have been the people’s impulse to think that their military success came because of their righteousness; but in his final speech as Israel’s Judge, the prophet Samuel makes it abundantly clear that their sin remained. In her passion for a king, Israel sinned against and rejected Yahweh, and up to this point they had not repented. Despite their unbelief, God demonstrated His severity and kindness to Israel in a powerful unseasonable storm. The storm would be used to open their eyes to the gravity of their sin (12:17), which seemed to be the pathway to Israel’s repentance (12:19). What does Yahweh do with His people when they commit spiritual high treason? Read chapter 12:20-22; here is a grace that is greater than all of our sin! Such is what renewal looks like in twilight – a tension between seeing your personal sin as great wickedness and at the same time seeing the magnificent grace and steadfast love of God. Only the latter can keep you from despairing of the former.