1 Samuel 12:10
And they cried unto the Lord, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.
Samuel had just done a roll call of sins and doubts of the people of Israel to remind them that although again and again they had failed God, but now and always He had delivered them. At this time they fail God again by asking Samuel to choose a King among them so that they would have a leader as the other nations around them did… as if God wasn’t enough. So God provided a king and another promise to His people; one that we too can cling to today.
And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.
If you read this full chapter you’ll see that Samuel had called upon God for a light show just to remind Israel again Who it was that controlled the world; should they forget and get some vain notion that a man actually did. (Hello America!) So, his point was well proven and he goes on to tell them that even though that wasn’t God’s plan, God’s still going to take care of them. It had pleased God to make them, therefore He thought He’d keep them.
That struck a chord in my heart this morning. Oh! I am ever so glad that that promise is alive and well today through the blood of Jesus Christ for an unworthy sinner such as I. Even though I’ve failed Him, I’ve allowed other things in my life to rule and reign over my decision making, God will still send a lightning bolt from Heaven once in a while to remind me that He loves me still. I doubt, I question and I complain and God waits silently for me to shut up and then speaks peace back to my soul.
And as for Samuel the leader, there is a reminder for those of us who lead those who fail (just like us). God forbid that we should sin in failing to pray and teach the good right way. As church leaders it’s so easy to get frustrated when the congregation of the Lord treats the sanctuary more like a library. That’s a place of praise and worship, lest we forget.
In the beginning of chapter 12 Samuel asked the congregation a rhetorical question as to whether or not he had defrauded or oppressed them as a leader. They said no. So he began to give them a list of other leaders who God had used to deliver them, yet were not harkened to either until the children got in trouble; then they were willing to listen. Sure enough this congregation would regret having Saul as king. But now…Samuel must still pray and lead. And that’s what we’re called to do. Pray and lead by example.
I cannot make the congregation of the Lord shout! But I can shout. I cannot make them listen, but I can listen. I cannot make anyone else get excited, but I can cause that excitement to bubble up from within their soul when they feel the Holy Spirit blessing me. And He will… if I stay faithful.
But now… He’ll keep us.