Just couldn’t move on from this text quite yet as Samuel’s final words are such relevant treasures for life. Here are the meditations on this powerful text.
1) “Don’t be afraid. Even though you have committed all this evil, don’t turn away from following the Lord” (v. 20).
What an encouragement that must be to some who feel like they’ve committed so much evil that they feel too unworthy to return. I’m not there. But I can imagine what a word of encouragement this must be for some. Also I’m not too naive to think that I couldn’t ever get to that point. I hope not. I hope I follow the Lord unswervingly all the days of my life but the last few years have brought me to my teeth in the dirt.
2) “Instead, worship the Lord with all your heart” (v. 20).
I know worship is more than just singing, but I would do well to worship Him with music, singing and song with all my heart in a much richer way. Whip out the guitar or the piano and let’s worship! Worship is the language of the soul. We need worship in our hearts more than ever to keep our soul focused in such times.
3) “Don’t turn away to follow worthless things that can’t profit or deliver you; they are worthless” (v. 21).
I’m thinking social media right now. As well as Jeremiah 2:5 – “They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” How much does social media empty our soul? Take our time? Take away from one another? How often have we seen parents on their phone while children play without them? Or times with friends that spend their time checking their messages?
I’m thinking of deleting my Facebook account. Making a new one to keep a business page open, but other than that to check out. And not sure how to handle YouTube yet.
But look at the next verses in v. 23. It’s on prayer and teaching the people. What does social media do? It takes away from our prayer time and ministering to others. John Piper noted that Facebook (or social media in general) is proof that people have time to pray, and don’t. Honestly, social media and computer time in general in reflection really has hampered my prayer time. A lot. I use it to unwind but it takes hours to accomplish that.
4) “The LORD will not abandon His people, because of His great name and because He has determined to make you His own people” (v. 22).
That’s amazing. The LORD is determined to make a people for himself. Right now that is the church. He is not going to abandon us because He has placed His name upon us.
5) “As for me, I will vow that I will not sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you.” (v. 23).
There is a sin from failing to pray for others. Especially if you are in leadership. That is disturbing. And powerful. It literally is…a SIN not to be praying.
5) “I will teach you the good and right way” (v. 23).
Even though Samuel is old, he still says he will them the good and right way as long as he has breath. Teaching the good and right way is not as easy as it sounds. We are experiencing that now as the world becomes hostile to the good and right way. Will we keep on teaching it in the midst of hostility? In the midst of people rejecting you because you teach that “good and right way”? Will I hold back?
6) “Above all, fear the LORD and worship Him faithfully with all your heart” (v. 24)
Faithfulness. Fearing Him above all else. Rather, fearing Him only. Perfect love drives out fear. Worship him faithfully with all our heart. Not just part of it.
7) “Consider the great things He has done for you” (v. 24)
The Scriptures are full of admonitions to remember what the Lord has done. We need to think on these things, record them, dwell on them. Not forget them. If you laid down on your couch, could you spend a couple of hours remembering the things He has done for you? And thanking him?
8) “However, if you continue to do what is evil, both you and your king will be swept away” (v. 25)
Of course this is Samuel talking to Israel about their evil of choosing a king and choosing to worship false gods, but does it not still apply? If we continue to do evil as a nation, won’t God remove us from our place of influence in the world? Nations rise and nations fall. Our individual righteousness or evil forms a collective in which nations are held responsible.