DO NOT BE AFRAID
Living God, my soul thirsts for you. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who has created this expectant spirit within me.
Read 1 Samuel 12:16–25
16 “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! 17 Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the Lord to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king.”
18 Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel.
19 The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”
20 “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. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectLife is full of decisions; some of them turn out well for us but others can cause distress. Call them to mind, particularly where there is regret, and ask God to minister his peace and mercy.
Samuel’s farewell speech comes to a climax, the decision of the people to ask for a king (v 19), a choice he describes as evil. Chapter eight reports his displeasure at their request for a royal family and he pours out his lament in prayer. God responds to this clamor for a king by naming it as a rejection, not of Samuel but the Lord. They have substituted the kingship of God for a human despot.
Fast forward to this passage and we can hear the compassion and anger in Samuel’s voice. Yes, they made a bad decision, but God is with them and is not against them. If, however, they persist in turning away from God, they will be swept away. Ominous words, and the stakes are high for all Samuel’s hearers, including King Saul. But it’s not too late.
The situation may be finally balanced but it’s still possible for both parties to move together with blessing. This passage says to me that my poor decisions are not irreparable. There is always forgiveness and a fresh start with God. And an invitation to lead a new life in his strength.
Are there failures, attitudes, or actions in your life for which you need God’s forgiveness and cleansing? Confess them, and receive forgiveness; ask him, and he will give you power to live a life in step with his.
Lord, so often I am amazed at what you do for me. I thank you that I always have a majority because you are on my side.
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