1 Samuel 12
What a precious picture of conviction, repentance, and restoration, of God’s abundant mercy and grace, and of our need for all the above. Despite all that God has done for us, we continue to fall and to fail in so many ways! God sends people and His Word to bring conviction of sin, and when we repent, He is gracious to forgive and restore our relationship with Him. He allows painful circumstances at times to drive us to our knees, just as Samuel’s words to the Israelites had little impact until he called down a storm that destroyed their harvest. Sometimes that loss of security is exactly what is needed to show us where our security really lies.
Samuel’s response to the people’s fear reflects God’s grace to us: “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.”
When God brings conviction, or even when circumstances threaten to crush us with pain, sorrow, or despair, He tells us, “Do not be afraid!” These hardships are not to destroy us, but rather to turn us back to the One who can deliver. The One who desires to profit us with eternal treasures rather than worldly trinkets. Our only responsibility in His plan is to follow Him. To avoid chasing after empty things. To trust His Hand in the midst of our pain as we trust a doctor’s hand holding a scalpel.
What empty things do you need to turn away from? What storms has God sent to teach you to depend on Him? Do not be afraid, but serve the Lord with all your heart!