1 Samuel 12:24
“Only fear the Lord (reverance and awe) and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
Last week I was given this verse to speak on for a ladies tea, along with a few other ladies, this verse resonated with me all week long. I couldn't stop thinking about all the implications this verse had on my life and the life of the church. Like the church, Israel was very unique. They were called out by God to be a separate nation, a peculiar people, unlike any other nation had ever been.
The Lord had kept all His promises to the children of Israel, He delivered them out of the severe bondage of slavery in Egypt, He performed miracles before their eyes, and delivered them from all of their fears. He even brought them safely into the the promised land...all that God had done for them, yet they still reviled against Him by rejecting the Lord’s kingship over them and asking for an earthly king instead. The Lord was gracious to them and granted them the request of their hearts, and here the Lord instructs and warns them to abide in the fear of the Lord. A fear that is not that of the fear they experienced while they were slaves in Egypt, but of reverence and awe, a filial fear (that of devotion as a son or daughter) and serve Him in truth and devotion with all their hearts. They were to consider and remember all the great things He had done for them.
I love what Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary,
“The great duty here pressed upon us is to fear the Lord. He had said (v. 20), "Fear not with a slavish fear,’’ but here, "Fear the Lord, with a filial (or devoted) fear.’’ As the fruit and evidence of this, serve him in the duties of religious worship and of a godly conversation, in truth and sincerity, and not in show and profession only, with your heart, and with all your heart, not dissembling (or concealing), not dividing. And two things he urges by way of motive:—(1.) That they were bound in gratitude to serve God, considering what great things he had done for them, (2.) to engage them for ever to his service.”
In verses 20-21, Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from the the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. You must not turn aside for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit nor deliver, because they are futile.” Just like the children of Israel, as a believers the Lord requires the same of us, His desire for us is to fear Him, walk in His ways in the sincerity of our hearts, in Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 in saying,
“‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”
The Lord commands and desires for believers to be sincere in their devotion to Him, not with outward appearances or show but to be set apart from the world (Deuteronomy 6:5); not chasing after futile things as the world does, for they cannot and will not deliver. His desire is for us to delight in Him.
Through this verse the Lord has again reminds us of the very essence of what it means to be a Christian; that we are to delight in Him alone and be obedient and devoted to His Word, and His commands to share the Gospel, and as Matthew Henry says for us to be “engaged forever to His service.”
Are you delighting in Him or is your Christian walk merely a religious show?
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