I find this passage remarkable:
“Pray to the LORD your God for us, or we will die!” they all said to Samuel. “For now we have added to our sins by asking for a king.”
“Don’t be afraid,” Samuel reassured them. “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the LORD with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him. Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you—they are totally useless! The LORD will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the LORD to make you his very own people.
“As for me, I will certainly not sin against the LORD by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. But be sure to fear the LORD and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.”
(1 Samuel 12:19–25 NLT)
Samuel scolds and reassures the people of Israel after they have insisted God give them a king— in the same sentence! “You have certainly done wrong” Samuel says, and he’s right. “Don’t be afraid” he counsels. That’s because of who God is: holy, so wrongdoing is not ignored, and gracious, so that even though they have committed a serious offense against God, even that is not sufficient to end the relationship of God with his people.
God neither winks at our self-centeredness nor walks off in a huff when offended. It’s a good thing he loves us and isn’t like us!
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)
Christchurch Evangelical Covenant • 1900 Congress Street • Portland, Maine 04102 • 207-775-1900 • firstname.lastname@example.org