We learn in 1 Samuel that the Israelites wanted a king. They had a King, God, but they wanted a man as their king. They rejected God in favor of Saul. When Saul was confirmed as king, Samuel reminded the people of the things that God did for Israel in the past and how they would turn from Him and forget His faithfulness. Samuel reminded them of all the times they cried out to God for mercy telling Him that though they had sinned they would come back to Him and serve Him, only to sin again. Samuel reminded the people of all the times God delivered them from their enemies.
The people knew they had sinned against God in asking for a king. They were afraid because of their wickedness. Yet, Samuel told them not to be afraid.
And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet, do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.”
1 Samuel 12:20-22
Notice that Samuel does not just tell the people what to do but also what not to do and why;
- Do not be afraid and do not stop following the Lord
because He will not forsake you.
- Serve the Lord with all your heart,
because it pleases Him that you are His people.
- Turn away from empty things, idols,
because they are useless and cannot save the people
How like the Israelites we are. We sin, ask forgiveness, and say we will sin no more, only to sin again. We ask for things that will replace God in our hearts, empty things of no real value. Yet, He is ever merciful because He is pleased to have us as His people. Pleased! Does that not make your heart sing?
Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart.
Consider what great things He has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:24
Not a lot was asked of the ancient people of God and not much is asked of us. Only to fear Him and serve Him whole-heartedly. We do make it seem like a great sacrifice on our part; to worship Him and serve Him without reservation. But is it when we remember all the great things He has done for us?
When I think of all He has done for me–I am filled with wonder…