As Samuel began to phase out of his kingship, God revealed that Saul would take over and lead the Israelites. During this time of transition, Samuel shares with his people a great reminder:
“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. 21 Do not turn away to follow after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 23 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. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:20-24
These words especially hit home for me today after a close friend confided in me about a very challenging and sinful situation their child was involved in. As we talked and prayed together, I was reminded of the times in my life I strayed from God and lived in a rebellious state through a sinful nature. Maybe you can relate too. During these times we can be afraid God won’t forgive us, that we have gone to far this time, that our sin is to big to start over. . . and we turn to idols of busyness, greed, success, fear, materialism, alcoholism, retail therapy . . . pick your poison.
BUT, no sin is ever to big for God to conquer if we allow Him into our lives and hearts to do His work. It’s never to late to turn away from useless idols and turn back to God. He is always there waiting for our return so He can restore us, heal us and make us whole again. Look at these great reminders we can pull from Samuel’s message to the Israelites and use in our lives today:
- Do not be afraid
- You have done evil things, but don’t turn God away
- Serve God with all your heart
- Turn away from useless idols that can’t rescue you
- God will not reject you, you are His child
- Consider all the great things God has done for you and serve Him with a faithful heart
If I could tell my children, friends and others just a few things . . . it would be these truths Samuel spoke so long ago. When we consider what our lives would look if we followed this wise advice it’s overwhelming. It seems to simple to be effective or real. The challenge is putting faith into action and holding onto God’s provision and promises. I’m praying with God’s strength we all begin to live our lives in the way Samuel encouraged the Israelites to live thousands of years ago.