This morning my Bible study led me to 1 Samuel 12. After reading the first four verses, my mouth hung open in astonishment. At this point, Samuel has served Israel for some time. He has just appointed his sons as judges over Israel but they no longer want God’s plan for them — to be led by judges. They want a king. So Samuel calls all Israel together.
And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.”
1 Samuel 12:1-4
Two things stand out to me. First that Samuel was willing to stand up and ask, “To whom have I done something wrong? Tell me and I’ll make it right.” And he didn’t just ask his best friends. He asked all Israel! Second, all Israel were able to say that he hadn’t wronged any of them!
I cannot begin to imagine standing before my whole nation and asking what wrong I have done. I would be afraid of those who would say that I did something wrong just to get something out of me or make me look bad before others. I would be worried that someone might genuinely have something to hold against me! I can’t recall ever actually taking something from anyone, but what about my words? Did I steal someone’s dignity through something I said? Did I ruin someone’s good reputation and possibly future opportunities by some comment I made?
Samuel was more concerned with living a holy life, pleasing to the Lord, than he was about the people liking him. He was able to stand and ask those questions because God was his priority. I want to be like that. I want to fear God more than I fear man. By His grace, I will, but every time I walk in my flesh, I begin to worry what people think.
Not only did Samuel’s concern for living uprightly before the Lord give Him the strength to ask the questions, it meant that he had nothing to fear in asking the questions! The people found no fault in him!!! I don’t know that I can honestly say that would be true of me.
It is my prayer today that believers everywhere, myself in particular, would seek the Lord so fully that we could stand before this unbelieving nation and ask Samuel’s questions. “What have we done to wrong you? Tell us and we will make it right.” Can you imagine what the impact would be on our nation if all those who claim to love the Lord walked so uprightly? Can you imagine the impact on our children and grandchildren? May we all submit humbly to to Lord in everything that we do and say!