I love truth that is simple and easy to remember. Today I was struck by something that Samuel said in his farewell speech to the Israelites that is found in 1 Samuel 12:24 which says, “Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.”
Samuel warns the people to do three things or the implication was their continued disobedience would lead to God’s judgment. The first thing they were to do is “fear” the LORD. This word is describing the respect and honor that God is due because of who he is. The respect God wanted to see in his people was demonstrated by obedience to his will.
The second thing they were to do is “serve” God with a “whole heart.” The scholar Omansion points out that the heart “was considered to be the innermost part of a person. It was regarded as the center of one’s will, rational activity, and moral choice.” From the inner most being of each person, they were to give God undivided loyalty. They were to serve him faithfully and not pursue other gods which Samuel described in verse 21 as “empty” which means “nothingness.” All other gods are nothing compared to the LORD!
The third thing the people were to do was “consider” or “see” all that God had done for them. This third statement gives the reason for the first two. God had been amazingly good to his people! They should be able to see it all around them! The people had forgotten about God’s many blessing and were living without consideration of God’s favor which allowed for their very existence.
Why would Samuel want the people to remember these three things? Robert Bergen summarizes it well when he says, “Taken as a whole, these three obligations required a total involvement of each person; they mandated external, observable activity as well as internal motivations, attitudes, and perceptions.”
Commitment to God was not designed to be segmented or half-hearted. The Jews were to live out their faith in all of life. In fact, we could say, they were to “be the message” and not just talk about it.
Father, thank you for this simple yet profound reminder of your expectations of me. My life should show that I respect you by my obedience. My heart should be undivided as to its loyalty to you and I should be a very grateful person because of all that you have done for me.
Following Jesus with you,