1 Samuel 15:2 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared:
I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek
for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. (NLT)
Do you, like me, have a tendency to beat yourself up over fresh sin? I know I’m forgiven by the blood of Christ, but continuing to sin can be frustrating. We can be confident God will finish the good work of sanctification which He started in us. (Philippians 1:6) We are aware of how God hates sin, so likewise, we hate sin. God is Holy, set apart, high and lifted up. Sin offends God, and makes Him sorrowful for the unsaved who are separated from Him by sin. As a believer, I must rest upon knowing God remembers my sin no more, for He see’s Christ in my place.
God is our refuge, so we take cover in His word.
As my ‘glow in the dark’ Bible (the Bible app on my phone) read to me in NLT, I followed along in my pocket NIV. I love reading different versions to gain extra depth of understanding, as God’s Word speaks to my heart. I noticed ‘I will punish’ in NIV, was translated ‘I have decided to settle accounts’ in NLT. WOW! This reminded me of how Jesus settled our account with God, by taking our punishment for sins. What mercy! And by grace, He credited us with His righteousness.
In today’s verse, God declared payback against the Amelekites for what they did to Israel. The descendants of Amelek waylaid the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. This was an Old Testament illustration — literal history, that showed God’s system of ‘returning on their own heads’ the trouble they caused. (Psalm 7:16, Joel 3:7, Nehemiah 4:4, Joshua 2:19, 1 Samual 25:39, Ezekiel 9:10)
According to Mosaic law, Israel was to purge the sin from among them. They were to carry out God’s vengeance on Israelites who sinned, and on the nations who inhabited the promised land as God called them to. (Deuteronomy 17:7, Numbers 33:52)
Praise God we no longer have the burden of carrying out God’s vengeance on anyone while here on earth. Instead, He instructs us to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:43-48) He wants all to come to trust Him for their eternal salvation. (2 Peter 3:8-10)
“Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay” is one of my favorite verses when dealing with sibling rivalry between my kids. But it also applies to much more sinister grievances anyone can inflict on humans. We must forgive as God forgave us. (Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32) Yet, our God is ’the God who sees’ (Genesis 16:13). He knows our deepest pain and suffering. He HATES the sin against us, as it’s really sin against Him (Psalm 51:4). And most of all, He pains for the sins we ourselves have committed against our Holy God.
This is where John 3:16 comes in. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God hates sin, but loves the sinner. We all deserve death for sin, and we know Jesus took that death for us, once and for all (Hebrews 10:1-18). Fully man, Jesus bore our sin in His body, though He Himself was sinless. (1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:21) Fully God, Jesus could not be held by death, for He is eternal. (Acts 2:24) God did what we could never do for ourselves.
God settled our account:
-Jesus paid our debt, which we incurred for our sin. A debt we could never pay ourselves. (Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:13, Hebrews 9:28, Isaiah 53:5)
-God credited us His righteousness. (Romans 3:22, 1 Corinthians 1:30) A perfect righteousness we could never earn by our own effort and good works. (Romans 1:17, Philippians 3:9)
Our Sovereign LORD, the One who saves, Thank-you for paying a debt we did not have the worthiness to pay. Our generous God, you credited us with Your righteousness. What eternal blessedness! Free us also in our understanding and actions that we may be free to live for You~Amen.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ~ John 8:36
For another glimpse at God’s holiness, see ‘A New Cart’
Picture from Hymnary.org