In today’s Bible reading* we once again see the command for God’s covenant people to fully obey God and receive His blessings or disobey and reap the consequences. (1 Samuel 12:14-15) You would think that by now God’s covenant people have heard the Word and finally “get it”. But it isn’t to be.
Samuel tells the people that in asking for a king, they have sinned by rejecting God as their King. When they witnessed God’s response of rain and thunder to Samuel’s prayer, the people begged Samuel to pray for them so they wouldn’t die for their sin.
Samuel allays their fears and reiterates the need for the people to fully worship God and not turn to idols. He reminds them that God is true to His covenant.
“The Lord will not abandon his people because of his great name and because he has determined to make you his own people.”
1 Samuel 12:22 CSB
Samuel’s comment reminds the people that God is concerned with His reputation. Although the covenant is between God and His people, it’s really about God Himself. However, God’s people tend to be very egotistical. We tend to approach God and His covenant anthropocentrically (man-centered) rather than theocentrically (God-centered). For that matter, we tend to approach everything from our point of view rather than God’s!
We tend to see our obedience to God’s Word in a transactional way. By this, I mean that we think that if we will do x, then God is obligated to do y. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. God isn’t into transactional religion. God is God. He owes us nothing. And God is never obligated to do anything outside what He has revealed in His Word that’s consistent with His character.
Having said that, let me say that you can always take God’s Word to the bank! Just make sure that you’re fully understanding what God actually said and that you aren’t twisting what you think God said. Be careful about “receiving a word from God”. Yes, God speaks outside the Bible through circumstances, through the church, and other people. But mostly God speaks through His written Word. Ask Him to speak to you. And commit to listen and obey what you hear. Compare what you hear with what God says elsewhere in the Bible. Ask Him for wisdom and know that He will honor that request. (James 1:5)
You’ll need humility. You’ll need to read and study your Bible with integrity, submitting yourself to God. You’ll need to do all you can to read from the Bible and not read into it. Let God’s Word speak for itself.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
1 Samuel 9
1 Samuel 10
1 Samuel 11
1 Samuel 12