1 Samuel 12:16-25 Restarting Life with An Untainted Future
1 Samuel 12:16-25
16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. 19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” 20 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. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 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. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.
Samuel having admonished the people with warnings against disobedience authenticated his prophetic word with a heavenly sign. The people upon seeing the thunder and the rain unheard of in early summer came to realize the severity of their sin and asked to be spared for their rebellion. The persistent love of God refused to let go of a people who have rejected Him in favor of a human king; He remains ever near to guide and to protect His people should they call upon Him. God through his response towards a rebellious Israel displays His infinite capacity to leave the fait accompli and start with an untainted page. With God, we can restart life with an untainted future.
I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain – Finally, Samuel called for a heavenly sign of thunder and rain so as to authenticate his message as coming directly from God. The sign indicted them before God due to their rebellious demand for a king, though He would grant it, was still an evil request because it was premature and wrongly motivated. When the people witnessed the display of thunder and rain, they came to realize the severity of their sin and turned to Samuel in earnest penitence hoping that God might forgive their rebellion in wanting to replace God with a human king.
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 – Samuel being confident of God’s gracious nature is quick to assure the people of God’s forgiveness in this instance. That God would bless them despite their rebellion if they would only be steadfast in their obedience from this point on. Even with a human king, they must continue to serve God with all their hearts, which means to fulfill God’s plans and His calling for them as a nation. The past could not be undone but their future was untainted and if they are not to be distracted by empty things and be detracted from their calling. God continued to love and feel for His people: it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself, which is a marvelous display of God’s infinite capacity to love.
Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way – Samuel reassured the people of his continual support through his prayer and his prophetic teachings. Although, Samuel was upset by the people’s rebellion, he would put aside his own grief to start afresh with Israel’s new king.
- Some times an external sign is necessary as concrete indication of God’s will for people’s lives – God speaks clearly and distinctly through the inner voice of the Spirit. However, for some who are yet accustomed to the intuition of truth and communion with Him, the Spirit seems unresponsive. Hence, when a believer grows in maturity and in obedience to God’s instructions, he will learn to discern in increasing clarity the Spirit’s voice. Nevertheless, external signs still has a role when making decisions of great importance as signs provide an unmistakable and concrete word from heaven. Samuel has been telling the people concerning their evil in demanding for a king, but not until when they witnessed the cosmic phenomenon that is unheard of in early summer did they finally come to realize their grave error. Not to say that external signs are for the spiritually insensitive but signs are a valid request for those seeking to “substantiate” the inner voice of the Spirit so as to decipher God’s will more convincingly. God granted Gideon an external sign even though God spoke directly to him (Judges 6:16-17). In 1 Samuel 3, God used Eli as an “external sign” to teach young Samuel to hear His voice. External signs act as “hearing aids” while we learn to communicate with God.
- To change the world, we must learn to love and to bless even when rejected – We barely scratch the surface of evangelism and charity work until we learn to love those who reject and hurt us. Jesus teaches,
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36
Unless non-believers test and proved the mettle of our love, they will not know what God’s love is like. God displays His perfect love and meekness in that He forgives the Israelites for rejecting Him as King and continued to be their Lord and God. As followers of Christ, we must frequently bring to mind how God displays His persistent love towards us in our days of rebellion. In doing so, we are apt to love others in the same persistent manner.
- For bad decisions that are already a fait accompli, we must with a big heart restart life with an untainted page – When people make bad irreversible decisions that have far-reaching and wide-ranging consequences, one cannot help but grieve for their loss and the hardship that may ensue. However, we must emerge from grief and learn to start anew with an untainted page. The appointment of a human king has been made, and there is no turning back from that decision. However, God saw their decision not as an irreversible disaster; He looked into their future with renewed enthusiasm in hopes that they may prosper as a nation. Similarly, we must learn to let go of our insistence of protecting others from their own follies and let them determine their own future. At the same time, having a big heart to still pray for them that they may walk in God’s ways and prosper; being near to instruct and encourage should they stumble.
- Above all, ministers must invest the bulk of their time in prayer and teachings in the ways of truth. Having relinquished the role as administrator of the nation, prayer and teaching of the word remain pillars of Samuel’s prophetic ministry. Teaching is to the mind as prayer is to the heart, and both work hand in hand. The ministry of teaching conditions and saturates the mind with truth which is the foundation of new life. The ministry of prayer quickens the Spirit in regenerating the heart based on the truth. Without prayer, teachings remain as mere knowledge devoid of the power to transform. Without teaching, prayer is ineffective in transforming lives as truth is absent.
- Are you in the midst of making a major decision? Learn to hear God’s voice by first fully submitting your plans to Him? You will not be able to hear with clarity if there is no readiness to obey when He speaks. Clarity of divine guidance begins with full submission to God’s will.
- Have you lost some of your desire and enthusiasm to serve because you are not being appreciated for your work? Or because things are not done according to your preferences? We must put on God’s persistent love to serve and pray for them even when we may not be appreciated or when things do not go according to our way.
- When people make wrong decisions and suffer the consequences. Do we remind them of their folly or do we cry with them in their loss?
Dear Lord, I thank you for your persistent love towards me even when I strayed from your ways. Help me be a constant encouragement to those who have similarly strayed from the truth. In love, I will offer my time, energy and finances to serve the community even though I may not fully agree with the way things are being run. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.