This chapter is Samuel’s farewell speech. I don’t know about you, but I am nervous for what is ahead now that Samuel is leaving his position as high priest and king Saul is taking over. Based on the fact that previously when the people were demanding a king, God warned them through Samuel that it wasn’t going to be good, but they still demanded one. Samuel took time to remind the Israelites of all the times the Lord was faithful in the past in hopes that regardless of having a king, that they would still remain faithful and follow the Lord. And right before our verse today, Samuel told the people that even though he disagreed with their desire for having a king that he would still pray for them. Our application makes note on this, “we may disagree with others, but we shouldn’t stop praying for them.” That little note is so powerful and so needed in our world today! That’s a hard thing to do, but Samuel shows us that not only is it possible, but that it is also important. We can disagree, but we can also pray for those we disagree with.
Let’s dig into today’s verse. First, I want to address “fear the Lord”. Not only do I think it makes the rest of this scripture more powerful, but I remember when I was first in church or reading books as a newbie in my faith, that this often was spoken or written about, but I never understood it, so just in case you are sitting there thinking the same, I’d love to try and explain using this response from Dr. Peter Wyns, “Fear has torment, and God has not given us the spirit of fear. The fear of the Lord is a different kind of fear. Disciples know it is the beginning of wisdom. It is the fear of missing God’s blessings… I am afraid to miss too much church because I cannot afford to let my heart wander. I am afraid not to pay my tithes, because I want blessings and not curses (Malachi 3:8). I am afraid to live in sin, for the wages of sin is death. I have learned that these fears are just common sense. The fear of the Lord means, I give every part of my life to Him. I want God’s best, so I am afraid to compromise.” This actually came up this week in a conversation with me and my husband. We’d gotten into talking about persecution for our faith and I said it’s scary to think that this really could happen and his response fell so in line with fearing the Lord, he said “Yes, but what’s worse, the wrath of the world or the wrath of God.” Now that is fearing the Lord! I know I’d rather get hit with the wrath of the world than Gods! After reading all that doesn’t it just put a passion inside of you? Because we don’t want to miss out on the blessings, we must serve him faithfully with ALL our hearts. Not just give him our leftovers, but be faithful to Him, fully! If we have the fearing of the Lord down and we are serving Him faithfully, I believe the next part just happens naturally, that we take notice of the great things he has done for us. Not only do we need to take notice of the great things, but we also to “consider” them. The official definition of the word consider is to think carefully about, so, we acknowledge what He has done and take it a step further and reflect on it. In the application it says, “Taking time for reflection allows us to focus our attention upon God’s goodness and strengthen our faith. Sometimes we are so progress and future oriented that we fail to take time to recall all that God has already done. Remember what God has done for you so that you may move ahead with gratitude.”
Let’s practice gratitude today. Write down three great things he has done for you, that you are so grateful for. Take it one step further and write a detail about how he showed up in those times, how you saw him.
Lord, thank you for the example of Samuel. A god-fearing man, who served you faithfully, Lord, our hearts desire to do the same. Help us to not compromise in any area of our life but to give every part of our lives over to you, to serve you faithfully with ALL our hearts and to have hearts that reflect on the goodness that you’ve already given us. Help us to live in a place of constant gratitude for your blessings to keep our hearts inline with you. We don’t want to miss out on your blessings. Guide our hearts to fear you, to serve you and to remember all the times you’ve shown up before. With our deepest gratitude we pray, Amen!