Last Sunday we looked at 1 Samuel 11, in which God uses Saul to deliver Israel from the oppression of the Ammonites. After this victory, Samuel called the people to meet at Gilgal to renew the kingdom. This Sunday we will look at 1 Samuel 12, where Samuel lays out the terms of that covenant-renewal for Israel.
There is an interesting progression in Samuel’s address. He calls Israel to witness to his integrity as their judge, then reminds them of God’s covenant-faithfulness, and finally reminds them of their own unfaithfulness and calls them to wholeheartedly serve and honor the Lord.
This leads the people of Israel to recognize their need of a mediator.
“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.’ ” (1 Samuel 12:19).
Although Samuel will step away from his role as Judge now that Israel has a king, he promises to continue interceding for them through prayer.
In this covenant-renewal we see a picture of the Gospel. Despite God’s abundant kindness, we have repeatedly sinned against Him, making ourselves covenant-breakers. But God has sent us a mediator, whose integrity is even greater than Samuel’s. Jesus did for us what Samuel could not do for Israel; he died in our place, then rose again and ascended to be our great mediator.
Each Sunday our worship is meant to tell the story of covenant-renewal. We sing to the God who is perfect in all His attributes, and are reminded of the many ways we have fallen short of His glory. But through our worship in song and the preaching of God’s Word, we are reminded that God has made provision for our sin. Because we have a Savior who not only saved us, but also supplies abundant grace for the Christian life, we can renew our commitment to Him every Lord’s Day. We do this knowing that He provides all we need to live for His glory and to represent Him, as we go back into the world!