Read 1 Samuel 12
The Good and the Right Way
The people refused to heed the warnings. Frightened by the Ammonites and despite all the Lord had done for them through Moses and Aaron, despite God’s deliverance of the people through the judgeships of Jerubbaal (Gideon), Bedan (possibly a reference to Barak), Jephthah, and Samuel, despite the peace they enjoyed during times of faithfulness, Israel demanded a king. In so doing, they had rejected God.
Samuel said that the people’s “wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves” (1 Samuel 12:17). After the sign of the thunder and rain, the people finally realized that they had indeed “added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves” (1 Samuel 12:20).
Yet, God would not give up on them. Israel still had a choice to make, even after this rejection. “If you will fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers” (1 Samuel 12:14-15). God was giving them a chance to remain faithful even in less-than-ideal circumstances.
Do we not have the same opportunity today? When we sin and find ourselves facing consequences, do we bemoan our situation and wonder why God has allowed such awful things to happen? Or do we take responsibility for our mistakes and accept the outcome of our sin, and seek forgiveness and repentance and faithfulness moving forward?
What about when others sin against us? Let us not forget the example of Samuel. Even though he was demoted in the eyes of the people, he remained loyal to God and to God’s will for the nation. “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Samuel 12:23).
Yes, even when people sin against us, we should pray for them and point them toward the truth of God’s Word, which is “the good and the right way.”