I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and drink in the flood of love he is pouring out towards me.
”My Love is the most powerful force in the universe – manifested in My grace towards My creation. My common grace which keeps the universe running and My special grace which fills each one of my precious children giving them a sense of My presence and My power, enabling them to live remarkable lives despite the difficulties which face them and are common to all men. As you look out over My creation and see different people in different positions, some flourishing some struggling, know that they are under My common grace, but only those I have chosen and sanctified through the death of Jesus have the privilege of experiencing My love through My special grace. May that motivate every part of your life as I empower you to live the gospel life.“
Now to 1 Samuel 12. The chapter opens with Samuel’s farewell speech, in which he presents his life, a life of righteousness, as he sees it. He challenges the people to speak out if they have found any fault in him. He ends with vs 5 calling the Lord to witness that they had not found fault in him or his behaviour.
He then turns to remind the people of everything God has done for them vs 7 “I am going to confront you with evidence before the Lord as to all the righteous acts performed by the Lord for you and your fathers.“
Against this background he turns on them and puts his finger on their great shortcoming vs 9 “But you forgot…” In their forgetting all that God had done for them they forgot God Himself and turned to their own wicked and selfish ways. I am afraid this is a constant human problem, this forgetting. In the warmth of receiving God’s blessings in whatever form, it is easy to remember, but when the reality of life returns it is just as easy to forget. That is why Jesus instituted the whole communion service, as a reminder to us of the centrality of His death to our faith, who forget so easily.
A symptom of their forgetting that God is their real king they are demanding a king like the tribes around them to rule over them. So Samuel gives them God’s promise of a king. with this great proviso, vs 14,15. To receive the blessing of God’s king both the people and the king have to be totally obedient to God, otherwise God’s hand will be against them. What a terrible prospect, which they don’t seem to take too seriously.
To emphasize his words God sends rain in the harvest time, a sign of His judgement and power. The people, who may not have taken Samuel’s words too seriously respond in terror at the Lord’s power when He shows it practically.
To end the chapter Samuel again reiterates the promise that God will not abandon them, but this is dependent on their continuing to fear the Lord and demonstrate this by remembering all He has done for them vs 24. The chapter ends with a final warning of what will happen if they persist in doing evil. vs 25.
Just one or two more points. The fact that God will never completely abandon them is not because of their value as such but because God will defend His own name at all costs vs 22. The focus of our lives is not on us it is on our Lord who has created us and redeemed us. He keeps us going primarily for His Name’s sake.
The second vs which really convicted me was vs 3 “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you…” Not remembering to pray is here pictured as a sin in itself. quite a challenge!
This chapter is a summary of the repeated story of the whole Old Testament which is shown repeatedly playing itself out in the same circle. God acts, the people respond, yet they soon forget and turn away making it necessary for God to act in judgment to bring them back to Himself. This powerlessness lays the whole platform for the coming of Jesus and the New Covenant where His selfless act on the cross deals with our sin and empowers us to live gospel lives. But our sinful nature is nevertheless still lying there and we still tend to forget so easily, hence God’s desire to keep us remebering.
God bless for this coming week and keep remembering all God has done for you and us and the whole world.