I Samuel 12:-13:23
Do we fear God? Do we reverence him? Will we serve him, no matter what the circumstances? It seems that we wrestle with the same issues that the Children of Israel wrestled with all throughout the Old Testament. I Samuel 12 is no exception. Verse 10 shows the people crying out to God because they feared their enemies who were coming against them.
God delivered them, but they later forgot his faithfulness. When they saw King Nahash of Ammon in the east and the Philistines in the west, they became fearful. They asked Samuel to appoint a king to reign over them. How quickly they forgot about the other times that God had rescued them! They sought security in a human king, rather than God. I can hear God’s “ugh” of pain at their actions. Imagine your son or daughter being afraid and running, not to your arms, but to the arms of someone else. That would smart!
God granted their request, but not without expressing his disapproval. He sent thunder and rain and they were terrified of him. His power displayed, left them standing in awe. Samuel tells them to fear the Lord. The Hebrew word translated terrified and fear in these verses is yare. It can mean to revere, to frighten, or reverence. Samuel warned that if they did not fear the Lord, they and their king would be swept away (vs. 12:25).
Our reverence for God is required. If we love and serve him, then we will also reverence him. We will walk in obedience and trust him even when we see the enemy to our east and to our west. This means trusting God with our future, our present, and even our past. When we see our enemies crouching to our left and to our right, our first act of defense should be to cry out to God instead of running to man.
God’s plan and timing are always right on track. How impatient we often get! In I Samuel 13 Saul got impatient and offered the sacrifice himself instead of waiting for Samuel. His blatant disregard for God’s law and impatience cost him the throne. In John, we see Jesus’ brothers’ being impatient. “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this!” There are many things that can be said about this, but I like Jesus’ response, “Now is not the right time for me.”
God always has a time-table and plan for everything, but it often requires our trust. Several years ago, I sought a teaching position in Visalia, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t even get an interview. I was frustrated and complained to God, but finally gave up and resigned myself to continue teaching in a nearby town. Then one summer, I got an unexpected call from Visalia Unified requesting an interview. I interviewed for two positions and was offered one at a year-round school. I took the job and ended up with two paychecks that June; one from my previous position and another from the new one. I was pregnant with my first child then and had no disability insurance to cover my time off. The combination of the year-round schedule with time off in January, and the extra pay check in June, afforded me the ability to take a three-month maternity leave with no financial worries. Wow! God had a plan all along. I just needed to trust his timing. Prior to God providing the job in Visalia, I wasted a whole lot of time being angry and unhappy with him over my circumstances. If only I had trusted instead of complained!
Here we see why David was a man after God’s own heart. Remember Saul and his disobedience with the sacrifice? It cost him the throne which David filled. Here we see a different man. David sings of his confidence in God and praises God for his unfailing love and faithfulness. He then asks God to rescue his people from their enemies. He acknowledges that it is only with God’s help that they can trample their foes. Will we be like Saul and lose patience, or will we be like David and cry out to God, trusting his timing and power rather than our own?