God’s grace extends beyond our understanding. Despite the great sin that separates us from God, He is continually withholding judgment – waiting for one thing… repentance.
In Luke, we read of Jesus exhorting the people to repent… “Repent” is one of those words that loses its meaning due to overuse! First, true repentance can not be self-manufactured. Rather, it is a work of the Spirit. “Repentance” means: To take responsibility for sin, forsake the sin and turn humbly toward God. According to Jesus, we must repent to be saved!
…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).
The parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9) illustrates God’s great patience for our repentance… Even after the tree is barren, he refuses to allow it to be cut down – rather, he asks to give the tree just one more year to bear fruit. In other words, He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish.
Switching over to 1 Samuel, today’s reading ends in a cliff-hanger of sorts. It is fascinating to read of God’s sovereign ways as God leads Israel’s future king to his prophet, Samuel, via a search for missing donkeys! The author’s introduction to Saul is flattering. He is both handsome and seemingly humble.
Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?” (1 Samuel 9:21).
But over the next few days – as we read Saul’s story – we will see his independent spirit lead him to rebel against God – and when given the opportunity to repent… Saul refuses. Saul’s presumption and pride will be his downfall.
We must not be like Saul! We must pray for the grace to repent!