The two books of Samuel record the history of the Israelites during the time when they had come into the Promised Land, were not yet a well-established society, and were ruled somewhat loosely by leaders known as judges. Judges were considered called and anointed by God and were essentially prophet, priest and king to the populace.
At a time when the people had greatly erred and things were in a mess Samuel their judge has this to say to them in response to their request for his intervention:
And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; [1 Samuel 12:20]
What is rather great about this passage is that it reveals a number of things about God’s nature and how He views and handles our (blow-its) and what the final goal of his intervention invariably is. I found great encouragement in just this single passage.
First of all, notice that there isn’t condemnation pronounced when perhaps it was expected or felt due. The fact that the people have erred, that they’ve blown it, is acknowledged and pointed out, but amazingly Samuel their judge tells them ‘Fear not’ rather than the familiar, ‘Man, you’ve really blown it this time, there’s not hope and you might as well just give up and quit, because, you see, you are just too bad, too far gone.’ There’s none of that in this passage.
Instead Samuel’s tone and council is ‘yet turn not aside from following the Lord’, in other words, ‘its true, the situation is a mess and you’re to blame, but don’t look at the mistake so much, don’t let it get you down. You know what you’re supposed to do so just get in there, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, or better yet, let God pull you up, and get back in their and ‘serve the Lord with all your heart because this is what He’s after, your heart and your obedience. He doesn’t and is not expecting your perfection, He is expecting your willingness and your determination to be and do what’s right. That, in essence is his message to them.
Equally, Oswald Chambers shares the following:
The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” ‘Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.”
From In 52 Bible studies series
© Copyright 2015 John Hislop