But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. – 1 Samuel 12:24
Samuel had called Israel together and assembled them at Gilgal to reaffirm the kingship of Saul. Then Samuel addressed the people and explained to them that he was getting old and would be turning over leadership of the country to newly appointed and anointed King Saul, as the people desired. Samuel told the people that so long as they faithfully served God and did not turn from serving Him and run after idols then God would stand by His people. If they turned away from God, then He would turn away from them.
Notice the words of the prophet: But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. He told them to do three things: (1) fear the LORD, (2) serve him faithfully and wholeheartedly, and (3) consider the great things God had done. Samuel basically told Israel that success in relationship with God is putting God first. How were they to do that? By fearing the LORD, they were not necessarily afraid of God but held Him in high regard and great reverence. By serving Him wholeheartedly and faithfully, they showed that they put their trust in God to provide for them and lead them. He was preeminent in their lives. By considering the great things God had done, they were praising God and worshiping Him for his omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence.
The word for us is to do the same thing. These guidelines are timeless. God desires nothing less than an intimate, personal relationship with all of His children. He did so all through history. Ancient Israel was the first group, and we are now. God desires for us to revere Him, which for us is the beginning of wisdom. God wants us to rely upon Him and acknowledge that He is our provider. We do so by serving Him and doing what He wants. If we do what we want, then we are guilty of the same thing Israel did – rejecting God as King and installing ourselves as king. God inhabits the praises of His people. Thus, if we consider the great things God’s done, then we give praise to Him and never forget what He has done for us. By not forgetting God’s provision, we don’t become complacent that can lead to self-reliance and self-sufficiency rather than continually relying upon God for everything.
Father, help me to drive home the words of Samuel into the depths of my heart that I may never forget what You have done for me. You gave all for me. You gave me Your Son, who died for my sins and gave me new life. You saved me from the pits of hell for all eternity. You loved me when no one else would. You gave me Your Spirit to lead me and guide me and comfort me. I don’t want to do anything short of always being humble before You and revering You. Let my life be an example of one who serves his God with all that is in me. You have been so great to me that I cannot do anything but declare Your great works to the world. Thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.