And Samuel said to the people, “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. 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 12:20-22 ESV)
Growing up did you ever do something so bad you were afraid to tell your parents? You probably thought they would never forget you. When they found out, they were probably mad, but still called you their child and fed you and kept a roof over your head. Have you ever felt like this with God? That you did something so bad he wouldn’t let you be a part of the church anymore, you weren’t good enough for your Christian friends, or God wouldn’t forgive your sin?
The Israelites had just told God that he wasn’t good enough to be their leader. The prophets and judges he put in place to take care of them were not enough. Instead, they wanted a king. This obviously made God very angry and he explained to them all the bad that would happen because they had chosen a little king to rule over them instead of the King of kings.
The Israelites we became afraid and asked Samuel to pray for them, so that they wouldn’t die for their sin of demanding a king. God graciously heard their cry and told them to not stop serving him. He didn’t tell them that they had sinned so much they were no longer good enough to be a part of his plans. No, instead he said he would not forsake them.
So, what does this mean for us? We all know somebody (it might even be us) who has sinned in a way that they feel as though they can never make it up to God and leave the church in shame. Just as God told the Israelites to continue to serve him, he desires for us to continue to serve him and be a part of his church when we have sinned. What an encouragement we can be to those who have messed up and feel such shame! Don’t ever think your sin is so great that God no longer excepts you.
Is there someone you need to encourage, or do you need to change your thinking and start serving the King of kings like he desires you too?