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.
1 Samuel 12:19-25
These verses were covered on June 8, 2017, so why are we looking at them now instead of continuing on in Romans? Writer’s choice and because last night at Bible Study nine of us we covered 1 Samuel 12 and there we noted the importance of the heart in the above verses. So below are the remarks from June 8, 2017 along with [a few added from last night] in brackets.
What was the sin or evil of asking for a king? The answer is found in verse twelve
“But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us’—even though the Lord your God was your king
1 Samuel 12:12
Then Samuel called on the Lord to send thunder and rain to show the power of God and to show the people the error of their ways in desiring a king to save them rather than God. [The fear from thunder and rain was very real as rain could destroy the crops and they would face the prospect of possible famine Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain …—which provokes a horrified look Proverbs 25:23 and Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool Proverbs 26:1.] However, as usual God provides them a way out from His judgment.
“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.
1 Samuel 12:20
No halfway measures will work, they will have to serve the Lord with all their hearts. Number one on the list was to turn away from useless idols and number two Samuel committed to pray for them. [Using the NKJV last night it was noted verse 23 reads as Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. The key difference here it is noted Samuel would be sinning against the Lord if he ceased to pray for the people. He had been praying for them all along! And it would be a sin if he ceased to do so. The question then arose, who should we be praying for that we may have ceased to pray for?] Plus Samuel would also teach them the way that is good and right.
Even after stating he would pray for them and teach them, Samuel cautions them once again
But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart;
1 Samuel 12:24a
And just in case they may find this difficult he adds at the end of verse twenty-four
consider what great things he has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:24b
[Here, in our Bible Study, we commented how easy it is to ignore God’s blessings we have today and had yesterday because we are so focused on tomorrow or further into the future. We are often blessed day in and day out, cannot see our blessings from God because we do not live in present except to look to the future.There is nothing wrong with looking to the future, but not at the expense of being blind to all the blessing of today. I have a sign given to me by my sister which reads, Each day is a gift, that is why it is call the Present. A friend recently wrote me Life comes and goes in a blink. One minute, we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving and the next minute it’s history. One minute, we’re struggling to keep our kids safe and the next, we’re watching our kids struggling to keep their kids (our grandkids) safe.] How easy is it to become complacent and forget all the things – great and small – God has done for us. Samuel cautions against this for the nation of Israel when he adds
Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.
1 Samuel 12:25
They had a choice just as we have a choice. Our choice is to choose Jesus or to choose the world. [We can choose the blessings from God in our lives today or we can be so focused on the future we cannot see them, even as we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Jesus.] Will we choose Jesus and do our best to Walk With Jesus Daily? Or will we persist in doing our own thing – doing evil. The consequences are huge. [BTW, tomorrow we return to Romans, but I hope this has encouraged you to consider joining a Bible Study if you are not already in one.]