Persevere Regardless

1 Samuel 12:19-20 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.” “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.

Summary: God wanted to be the king of Israel, but Israel wanted a human being in front of them leading the way–they did not have the faith to follow a God who was not flesh and bone.  When Samuel rebuked them and showed them that they were wrong…again…for asking for a human king, Israel realized that they should not have asked for a king, but it was too late because Saul had already been appointed by God as their king.  Samuel’s advice was that it was too late to change it, but regardless, to do what was right knowing what they were now convinced of.

Point 1: Samuel is a picture of God to the people.  He never changed.  He always told them the truth and always prayed for them even though they continually failed to submit to the Lord.  In vs. 23 Samuel says “ 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.”  Israel was God’s people and no one was going to change that, not even the people themselves, not Samuel and he knew that.  Therefore, instead of abandoning Israel, Samuel prayed positively for the nation and continued to attempt to mentor them in the right direction.

Lesson 1: There is something in your life that God has granted you the ability to guide and lead in the right direction.  Whether they do or not is not up to you.  Even if they choose not to do the right thing, you should follow Samuel’s example and continue to develop, instruct, and shape that situation/person/group in ways that you believe God would really want them/it to be–that is, until they get rid of you!

Point 2:  Israel had forgotten God.  They were not spiritually minded and did not follow the prophet (Samuel) who truly spoke the words of God.  If they would have had faith, then Samuel would have been enough for them because he stood in the place of God as his mouthpiece.  They would not have idealized Samuel, they would have recognized he spoke from God and been concerned with the truth he spoke.  Instead, they wanted to conform and be like everyone else around them who had a king.  Except, they weren’t like everyone else.  They were different from everyone else because they were the only people who had God as their true king.

Lesson 2:  The pastor, the king, the president, the leader…whoever is in charge, is not the person to be worshiped.  These are all human beings who unfortunately we idealize and often rely too heavily on when what we should be focusing on is the equipping they are attempting to do with us through the power and words of God.  These people can be encouragers to us and we should submit to their authority as they represent Christ’s statutes, but they do not take the place of God in our lives.  Even Paul said “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)” Paul was not concerned with anyone knowing who he was.  What he wanted was for people to only see the power of God when they looked at him and think of Paul as just a broken shell of a human that was submitted to the Lord.  The only celebrity that we should be concerned with is Jesus.  Everyone else is in the same boat we are!

 

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