So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. - Colossians 3:12-17
From the Worship Leader
By studying these historical narratives, we can learn what to do from the lessons of great Bible characters and also learn what not to do from the not-so-great characters. And most importantly, we can learn about the nature and character of our heavenly Father and how He deals with His people, Jew and Gentile alike. I have heard some preachers and teachers say that the Old Testament is irrelevant for a “modern” society, but I would strongly disagree. The Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament, it’s impossible to disassociate the two. You wouldn’t need the grace and mercy of a New Testament Christ without first understanding the law and judgement of an Old Testament God. From Genesis to Revelation, it is absolutely beautiful and stunning to me the way God’s word completes and fulfills itself.
“19 Then all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.”
20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.
21 You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile.
22 For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased 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; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.
24 Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.
25 But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.”
1 Samuel 12:19–25 NASB
For instance, in the verses above, Samuel the prophet and judge of Israel, speaks to the Israelites about the great evil they had committed when they desired a flesh king “like all the other nations” and turned their backs on the true Kingship of Yahweh. They had placed their trust in the idea of a human deliverer and forgotten that it was God who had delivered them from bondage and the surrounding pagan nations. (For full context I encourage you to read 1 Samuel Chapters 8-12.) God confirms Samuel’s judgement on the people through the unusual occurrence of a thunderstorm during what is normally a very dry season in that geographical area. The Israelites immediately repent (verse 19), but Samuel knows the wishy-washy hearts of the people and reminds them once again what they are to do if they want to be a nation who is blessed by God.
I think what is so exciting is how much we can learn about the character of God from these verses. This small piece of historical narrative, that some would consider irrelevant, clearly shows us a picture of God’s faithfulness amid their unfaithfulness and what He desires most from His people. We can glean practical wisdom from the warning of Samuel’s words in verse 21. Just like the Israelites, we will immediately begin to chase after the futile things of this world when we take our focus off Christ. But every time I read verse 24, the solid truth of those words always jumps out me, especially the last sentence, “for consider what great things He has done for you.”
I have heard my pastor’s wife, a very wise and insightful woman, say many times that believers suffer from a memory problem. When holding grudges and denying grace, we forget how much forgiveness and grace we have received. When we receive tragic news, go through seasons where nothing seems to work out, or we are disappointed and hurt by people we love, we forget that our God is still good, regardless of the things that may happen to us. It is incredibly unfortunate that we sometimes forget the truth of His goodness and allow our perception of Him to be tainted by the sinful actions of others and the state of this fallen world.
Israel had disregarded God’s sovereignty, His power, and His purpose. They thought the flesh king, Saul, could offer a security God could not. Samuel’s words in verse 24, are especially timely for the believer in the face of what’s happening in our nation and Covid-19. We, as the church, must not forget it is God who is sovereign over every germ, molecule, and atom. We must not forget it is God who has appointed a time for man to die (Ecclesiates 3:1-2, Hebrews 9:27) by whatever means He chooses to use. And it is God who has delivered us in times past and will do so again, in His time and in His way. I am by no means suggesting we discredit the advice of medical experts and our government or be reckless. But I am attempting to remind the church, that while the world may offer solutions and advice, it can never and will never, be able to give us the security the believer has in Christ.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, consider the great things He has done for you. Consider the salvation He has so graciously bestowed on our undeserving and wicked hearts. Consider the gift of His word and the truths He allows us to understand. Consider His provision, past and present. Consider the faithfulness in which He has continued to care for us, even when we are unfaithful. Don’t forget the God whom you serve and rest in His truth.
Our Praise Team:
Worship Leader: AJ Vissage
Pianist: Gloria Sampson
Drummer: Cody Carpenter