The fields … are white already to harvest. John 4:35
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts and the wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
I hope that you are weathering the Covid-19 situation without too much difficulty. It is affecting each of us differently (I’m having trouble with what day of the week it is), but all in all I pray that we will come out better for it. Oswald Chambers says that we go through nothing that God does not know about. As long as God is in control, I’m not worried. He said that He would never leave me or forsake me, any of us! (Hebrews 13:5)
Most of my life I have been infatuated with the story of Samuel hearing God’s voice. (1 Samuel 3) When I was a little tyke, I would crawl up into my mother’s lap and request her to read that story over and over and over again. In fact, I believe it is the greatest blessing of the Christian after one is born again to hear the voice of God-to know God’s heart. I believe Samuel lived one of the purest lives illustrated in the Bible other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Toward the end of his days Samuel stood before the people of Israel and stated, “I am old and gray-headed I have walked before you from my childhood
to this day. Here I am. Witness against me before the LORD and before his anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.” And the Israelites said to him, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.” (1 Samuel 12:2-4)
The Bible is replete with stories of men that grew up with godly parents but then their children turned away from God. The best story is perhaps about the prodigal son. But there are other examples such as Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas; or Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah. Eli was disappointed in his boys and Samuel was disappointed In his boys. There was a period in my own life where I turned away from God also. I can remember my Dad being disappointed in me one day as I hardly hesitated driving my car through the intersection of Park and East 22nd receiving a ticket, otherwise known as a citation. My Dad had a way of catching me every time I did something crazy and he drove up just as the policeman was driving away, took my ticket and went and paid it for me. That may have not been the wisest thing for him to do for even last year I did something crazy and paid the penalty for it.
But as I sit here and ponder the Covid-19 situation I can see America like a wayward son or daughter.
Sinful, you betcha!!! Statistics in America say that there is just as much sin in the church as there is in society at large. I say there is possibly morel People continually voice the falsehood that you cannot legislate morality. You can! And you must! The more something is available to the public-the more it is used; be it alcoholic drink, drugs and marijuana, pornography, abortion-you name it.
In the situation of God’s people in Samuel’s day saying they wanted a king so they could be as other peoples, we all fall to peer pressure and want to be as other people. Teenagers and adults buy the designer’s clothes, we have to have the latest devices to play on, or the most stylish automobile to drive. It is that familiar fleshly feeling of ours. We say no to God, we want a king to rule over us. Samuel told the people what a king would do for them. He would take their sons and daughters, increase their taxes, take their land from them-but still the people wanted a king. When Samuel went to God about this, God told him that the people had not rejected him, ”but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7)
I wonder, have we wanted government to rule over us too much? Have we desired the pleasures of life and work too much-good roads, good healthcare, Social Security, peace everywhere, convenience? There is a price to pay for all we have. And our sons and daughters have suffered for it.
Samuel told the people, “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the LORD has set a king over you. If you 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.” Samuel had heard from God-he didn’t speak from his own feelings.
Samuel then showed the people the God that they had rejected. “Now therefore, stand and see th is great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes: ls today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves. So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.” (1 Samuel 12:19) (BTW I believe we are getting ready to witness a great harvest of souls!!! The fear of the Lord is coming on people).
Then the people of God confessed their sin. “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.” (1 Samuel 12:19)
False prophets only tear down; Samuel’s exhortation shows that he was a true prophet of God-to build up, not tear down. “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go afte r empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the LORD will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you His people.” (1 Samuel 12:20-22) Samuel continued strongly in a personal note, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD i n ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.” (1 Samuel 12:23)
During Covid-19 and whatever follows I want you to know that Jesus is praying for you. Read John 17. Sue and I are praying for you also. The word of God is here to teach us. God uses his word to speak to us. Those are not just our thoughts we receive in our minds as we read his word, God is speaking to you and me. Hear His voice. Will we be God’s people through all the suffering days? Or will we turn from Him to rely on ourselves or upon our government? For Samuel 12:25 says, “But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (king=government)
FEAR the LORD, Serve Him in Truth with ALL your Heart;
Consider what Great Things He has done for You! (1 Samuel 12:24)
Love you in Jesus,
David and Sue
Post Office Box 1419 • Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738 • (865) 436-7011