Monday Reflection – November 11, 2019
If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers. 1 Samuel 12:15 (NASB)
Chapter 12 relays Samuel’s farewell speech to the people. Samuel’s conversation with the Israelites depicts one who finished well. This is in direct contrast to Saul who did not finish well. It has been said that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. And how we finish is more important than how we start. It’s always great to get off to a good start, but how we finish is what ultimately defines us. The runner who gets off to a good start, but then stumbles along the way loses the race. But when we finish well, we gain the respect of the people around us.
Samuel’s speech marks the final transition from the period of the judges in Israel to the time of the kings; it is a changing of the guard. Samuel’s farewell speech to the people offers four action steps that we can take in order to finish well in life. They are: 1) Maintain a good reputation with God and man. 2) Give testimony to God’s goodness in the past. 3) Urge people to follow God in the present. 4) Never stop praying for people.
Today’s Watchword is in the context of the third step. While we must do our part to live in right relationship with God, we have a responsibility to positively impact others by urging them to follow God. This of course has to be done by word, but more so by our lifestyles. Samuel reminded the people of the consequences of obedience and disobedience. He was careful to remind them that they were wrong to ask for a king at this time. They asked for it and they got it! However, even though they were wrong to ask for a king, there is still a way forward for them. If they will fear the Lord, serve and obey him, and not rebel against his commands, it will go well for them.
The Bible is clear regarding this principle. Paul says in Galatians 6: 7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Indeed, the wages of sin is death, but the fruit of obedience is God’s blessing. We who know the right should practice the right, and lead others towards the path of righteousness. Today’s New Testament text provides this guide: “I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil” Romans 16:19. When our lives consist of urging people to follow God, we are on our way to finishing well.