By Benjamin H. Liles
As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way. ~ 1 Samuel 12:23, Holman Christian Standard
As Samuel prepares to leave being a minister on behalf of his people Israel, he's telling them he "prays ceaselessly" on their behalf. His full address is this:
"Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away" (1 Samuel 12:20-25).
I actually want to focus on three verses, however. "For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name...Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you." Why stress these verses? He's not just telling the Israelites they are rebelling against their LORD and King, but he's adding on that he prays for them constantly and continually: "far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you." It's his heart's cry that the people turn to the Lord.
Samuel also says that the people ought to "fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you." All of these people Samuel addresses descended from those who came out from Egypt under the leadership of Moses, brought out by God's strong hand. How can they forget so easily the strength, majesty, and might of the One who freed them from slavery and bondage. This is the reason Samuel prays for his people.
Thus, this is the point being made: why continue on living life with sin reigning over you? Those who know the Lord, Jesus the Messiah, personally and walk daily with Him not only have an audience with Him; they also have His power at their disposal. I am open and honest about my flaws and what I deal with. I have a hard time overcoming a temptation to "look" at things unsuitable for me. I also deal with a mouth that likes to utter things not true. However, I know the Lord is faithful and true. His strength is perfected in my weakness, and it's why I--like Paul--"boast in the things of the Lord" (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Is there anything too hard or a trouble for you in this moment? You don't necessarily have to share your burdens with me, but offer up those prayers to Jesus. Tell Him what you struggle with. Allow Him to grant you that same grace and mercy He's given to both Paul and myself. He overcame sin, death, and the grave on our behalf. The result is we can lift one another up. We can carry one another's burdens. In fact, I wrote a post on this in October titled Bearing Each Other's Burdens. By praying ceaselessly, taking up Paul's message to us, we can do the same:
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have full endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light" (Colossians 1:9-12, Berean Study).
May we also do that same for one another.
Lord, I ask of you to watch over everyone who reads my words here. Help them to know You. Come into their heart, into their life, showing and leading them into Your joy, love, and truth. Allow them to enter into your grace, which is Your power, as well as Your mercy that cleanses us from all filth. Cleanse and purify them. Make them holy as You are, Lord. I thank and praise You, King Jesus, for being for them what other men cannot be. You alone have authority, power, and healing for all of us. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.