|BACKGROUND: After Saul's victory over the Ammonites, Samuel called the people together to reaffirm Saul's Kingship. At the ceremony Samuel confronted the people about the evil of asking for a king and even prayed for a thunderstorm to reveal God's presence. This is what happened after the storm. |
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."
"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 be swept away (1Samuel12:16-25)
We think that we've "blown our chances".
Our passage today is a beautiful reminder of God's grace and love...
Upon witnessing the thunderstorm that Samuel had prayed for, the people recognised God's power and authority and the magnitude of their failure. Their repentance was immediate and desperate. They feared that they had "blown their chances."
But God offers Amazing Grace. He forgives those who reject Him.
But grace can/should/will transform those who truly receive it...
I'm fascinated by what follows: (Each of these points is a message in itself, but today I'll just mention them...)
- "Do not be afraid." Our relationship with the Lord should never be based on fear. ("Perfect love drives out fear" 1John4:18)
- "Serve the Lord with all your heart." This is what God wants - ALL of us. And we have to steer clear of idols. Whether idols are statues or materialism or fame or whatever, the point is that they steal parts of our hearts. If there is a part of our heart that doesn't belong to God, we will find an idol there...
- God's love for us is based on His goodness and His name and not our achievements. His love and grace glorifies Him and gives Him pleasure.
- Samuel commits himself to praying for the people and teaching them. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit who prays for us (see Romans 8) and teaches us (see John 14). We don't have to struggle on our own, the Spirit will guide us.
- "Consider what great things He has done for you." Gratitude is the best posture for spirituality.
- Persistent evil will have consequences. If we don't let grace work in us, then destruction will work in us.
Which of these points speaks to you today?
Make it your point of reflection and action for the weekend!