“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” – 1 Samuel 12:24 (ESV)
Ever tested the word ‘only’ in a sentence to see how different positioning makes for different emphasis? Here is an example: “Only fear the Lord…” might read, “Fear only the Lord…” or, “Fear the only Lord…” or, “Fear the Lord only…” Each arrangements represents a true instruction and each has a slightly different emphasis of why we are to “Only fear the Lord…” The people of Israel had just crowned their first King, Saul, the son of Kish. He was handsome, taller than all others and must have had a wining personality. Samuel the prophet and judge cautioned the people to remain faithful to their true King, the Lord God. It was going to be easy for the people to begin to view their king and admire him too highly. Saul easily let it all go to his head and went astray, disobeying God. Let’s remember what Samuel said to the people for God has done great thing for us also. He provides for us salvation, gives us wisdom, comforts us, guides us, and blesses us abundantly. Plus much more – He is worthy of our awesome praise and worship. Great things in our past, present and future.
“For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself” – 1 Samuel 12:22 (ESV)
What is in a name? Especially the name of God? Foremost it is the guarantee of an unbreakable promise. When God promised ancient Israel those with faith believed them and trusted in their fulfillment. Samuel was the last prophet/judge of God’s chosen people. The people demanded to have a king and God chose Samuel to anoint Saul to be Israel’s first king. Demanding a king, the people rejected God as their true King. As King Saul is crowned, the people are warned to not forget their God and to serve, obey and not rebel against His commandments. God’s promise that He will not forsake His people is renewed. He established the promise on His name, “for His great name’s sake.” God’s promises to us are also given to us in His name. That means the promises are unbreakable and even when we disobey, God keeps His promises. God promised to make Israel a people for Himself based on His name. His promises hold true no matter how far the people stray. We have the same promise. All faith believers are given promises of God for salvation, which include justification, sanctification, glorification. God will be with us forever.
“To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” Luke 1:74-75 (NASB)
The singing at Christmas time reminds us of the great things God has given us through His Son Jesus. This is in line with the songs recorded in our Bible before Jesus was born as well as when He was born. We look today at a song which Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist sang when his son John was born. A few days ago we looked at a portion of Mary’s song, The Magnificat. Today we select a passage from the prophecy by sung by, Zechariah. This, of course was just six months before Jesus was born. Our verses for today remind us about what God was doing in sending His Son to earth. Jesus came to earth to serve God in holiness and righteousness. He came to help us live pleasing to God through all our days. Jesus came to be our Savior to make our lives different so that we will bring glory and honor to God the Father and Jesus our Savior, God the Son. If He is your Savior, my Friend, He will help you live today in a way that pleases God. That is a promise.