S (Scripture): 1 Samuel 12:12 Samuel says to the people of God: “When you saw that King Nahash of the Ammonites was advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No! A king will rule over us’ – even though the Lord your God is your king! 13 Now look! Here is the king you have chosen – the one that you asked for! Look, the Lord has given you a king! 14 If you fear the Lord, serving him and obeying him and not rebelling against what he says, and if both you and the king who rules over you follow the Lord your God, all will be well. 15 But if you don’t obey the Lord and rebel against what the Lord says, the hand of the Lord will be against both you and your king.
16 “So now, take your positions and watch this great thing that the Lord is about to do in your sight. 17 Is this not the time of the wheat harvest? I will call on the Lord so that he makes it thunder and rain. Realize and see what a great sin you have committed before the Lord by asking for a king for yourselves.”
18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord made it thunder and rain that day. All the people were very afraid of both the Lord and Samuel. 19 All the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God on behalf of us – your servants – so we won’t die, for we have added to all our sins by asking for a king.”
20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. You have indeed sinned. However, don’t turn aside from the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You should not turn aside after empty things that can’t profit and can’t deliver, since they are empty. 22 The Lord will not abandon his people because he wants to uphold his great reputation. The Lord was pleased to make you his own people. 23 As far as I am concerned, far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you! I will instruct you in the way that is good and upright. 24 However, fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Just look at the great things he has done for you! 25 But if you continue to do evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”
O (Observation): God’s people have to be reminded – AGAIN – that God is their king. And to ask for an earthly king is to shift allegiance from GOD to an earthly ruler. Now…God is NOT about to go against his promise to be with His people forever and to see his people through thick and thin…but this sure does test the limit, no? God is saving His people NOT because they are good and holy, but to keep God’s reputation pure…to show that God will NOT go against His promise to keep the Hebrew people.
Samuel calls out to God to bring thunder and rain as a sign AGAINST God’s people, and they start shakin’ in their boots and ask Samuel to hold off God’s anger. They want to live! This sign helps them to put their choice into perspective. Samuel holds up the mirror to the people, and they are ashamed of what they see.
And to Samuel’s credit, he keeps praying for the very people who have slighted God. Samuel says he will continue to pray for God’s people, for to NOT pray for them would be a lack of grace…and Samuel knows…we all need a bit of grace.
A (Application): I relate to Samuel AND the people. I relate to Samuel, because at times I feel confident that God wants one thing, and the church / individual people of faith choose the opposite. And yet, as certain as I am of being like Samuel, I then find myself on the other side…being blind to God’s will and choosing out of selfish, worldly desire.
The deeper point in this text is that God does NOT give up on God’s people. God corrects and chastises the people, but then also backs it up with a chance to show them grace and mercy. Boy, do I need God!
As I struggle through the daily Moravian texts every Monday-Friday, I become more and more humbled at the grace and mercy of God. Even in times when we are chastised by God for stumbling off the path, I still am drawn in by the promise of God, made clear here by Samuel:
1 Samuel 12:21 You should not turn aside after empty things that can’t profit and can’t deliver, since they are empty. 22 The Lord will not abandon his people because he wants to uphold his great reputation. The Lord was pleased to make you his own people.
I pray that you may come to know God more dearly…and realize that you need not be perfect, just believe that God wants you to be a part of shared journey called Life.
P (Prayer): Lord, you are great and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Wow! We don’t deserve you, and yet are very grateful for you this day. Amen.