8th September 2023
Read - 1 Samuel 12:20-25
Message Alan Burke
What happens when we know we have done something or something that has been done to us that has caused hurt? It could be with a friend, colleges, neighbour, family member? I would suggest that depending on what has happened that relationship changes, once bitten twice shy is the saying goes meaning that when you’re hurt you are wary of doing it again in the fear of being hurt again. In our relationships where there is hurt depending on what it is there can be distance, things are not the way they once were. Well Samuel had just recalled to their minds their faithlessness in the past and now he seeks to comfort the people and us to “not be afraid”. But I want you to notice in the midst of this what Samuel has Said and what he now says and what he goes on to say. Look back to verse 14, were the people are told; “If you fear the Lord” and now he says in verse 20 “Do not be afraid” then verse 24 “But be sure to fear the Lord” you are to fear the Lord, while not being afraid and still you are to fear the Lord.
Fear the Lord but do not be afraid. What is going on?
Well they are to fear the Lord as the Proverbs says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, fearing the Lord is right and appropriate for he is the creator God who is far greater than we can even begin to imagine. Fear here though speaks not of terror but of filial fear, that of a child to their parent, they fear offending, fear rejection, fear causing hurt or pain by their actions. We are to fear the Lord our of love for him, it should not fill us with terror but instead deliver us from it for we have been redeemed by him recognising the truth of the LORD and all that he has done, knowing and honouring him. They need not be afraid for God has called them to himself as his people, even though they have done evil God is still their God and they are to serve him. Even though they have done evil notice what Samuel says, do not turn aside from following him, don’t look to worthless things; how he will not forsake his people v22, he wold not forsake them because of his grace, his sovereignty, they had been faithless and had done it time and time again but even so the Lord would remain faithful, they could have confidence in his great unchangeable promises, his character, his faithfulness, he would not allow his purposes to bring salvation to the nations though their own failure, for he was using them as his chosen people to bring salvation though the true king the Lord Jesus Christ.
For all of us it reminds us the way of life in the Kingdom of God that we should be motivated because what the Lord has done for us, how he has brought salvation to us, it should stir us to remain faithful to him with all our hearts, trusting him, serving him, obeying his commandments, not relying on our own reason or the ways of man. We are to submit to the LORD just as Israel was reminded to do for the kingdom of God has now come into this world in a much more powerful way than in the days of Samuel, Jesus Christ is the Lord’s anointed, the kingdom of God has been revealed with a fulness and clarity not known to Samuel’s hearers. we now wait for the day that the kingdom will come with power and glory. we may find ourselves drawn and attracted to the ways of human reason, the way our culture has gone but whenever human power or reason replaces the Lord as either or moral guide or Him as the object of our trust and obedience we need to hear this call to faithfulness and to serve him with all our heart! When we mess up, when our relationship suffers with our Lord because of our own sin know his grace is sufficient, that’s not an excuse to keep on sinning but a comfort when we are confronted with our sin. In the midst of failure, God graciously calls is people to be faithful, let’s hear the call to our faithful God.
Q39 What is the duty which God requireth of man?
The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will. (Mic. 6:8, 1 Sam. 15:22)