The people of Israel were stressed and cried out to Samuel for help. Scripture provides a picture of the moment in Samuel 12:19-25 NIV:
The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”
“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. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 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. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
When people are stressed, they often seek God. Often, we, or others, have already set in motion a disaster, or situation where we will reap the consequences of sin. Turning to God is the natural reaction of many. When they do, we, as CEN needs to be there, available to step in with the hope of Christ.
Samuel did not ignore the sin, he confirmed and confronted the sin in saying, “You have done all this evil”. He went on to tell the people what needed to happen next, “serve the Lord with all your heart”. When sin occurs, we need not sugar coat, but to confront directly and appropriately, confess and then turn from that sin.
Perhaps a family becomes trapped because they failed to head the warnings to evacuate. Possibly a family was warned to stockpile water, or test the generator, but failed, then struggled with the aftermath of a disaster.
God’s word goes on to confirm His promise to us, we will not be rejected. Samuel promises to pray for the people. James wrote, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) When we know we have fallen short, this is a good model, seek out a righteous person to intercede on our behalf.
Samuel continues, “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully” After confession, we must then turn to the Lord. Further, even in the middle of a disaster Samuel reminds the people, “Consider what great things he has done for you”, we are to have a grateful heart.
However, consider Samuels final words in the passage, “Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” Ultimately, if we fail to turn to the Lord, and stop doing evil, we will pay a very high price. Not even the king is exempt.
- Do we feel the Lord has sent us a warning?
- Are people turning to God at this time?
- What steps can CEN take to help lead the way back to God, and as a result safety for many?
- Are we personally grateful? Are we grateful as CEN? Are we a grateful nation?