To Live in The Fear of the Lord
May 5, 2022
“Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
In 1 Samuel chapter 12, the prophet Samuel had just anointed Saul as the first king over the nation of Israel. Up to this point in Israel’s history they had been led by God, first through Moses and then through a series of judges, Samuel being one of those judges. Here in chapter 12 Samuel is addressing the nation and he is reconfirming that Saul is to be the king. Samuel is giving them the expectations that God has for them now that they will be ruled by a monarch. These expectations were for the people and for the monarch.
Verse 24 comes at the end of the chapter, and it is the last command Samuel gives them before the narrative shifts to the war with the Philistines in chapter 13. The first part of the admonition, the exhortation, the command which he gives them is that they are “fear the LORD.” We live in world today where there is precious little of this, even within the church. What does it mean to “fear the LORD?” Many people mistakenly think it is the fear that we all feel when we are in a dangerous or frightening situation. There is an element of that in this fear, because there is an understanding of the power of God and that He is also a God who does not tolerate sin. But the “fear” of “the LORD” that Samuel commands here goes beyond that. To “fear the LORD” means to love, to respect, to have a deep and abiding reverence for Him, and for His Word. It means one has a deep desire to please Him and to glorify Him in all they do.
Part of fearing “the LORD” is to serve Him “in truth with all your heart.” We as Christians, just like the ancient nation of Israel, are to be a people consumed with the understanding of God’s truth. We are to study it, learn it, make it a part of who we are so that we can serve Him not in the ways of the world but in the ways God has prescribed to serve Him.
Samuel concludes this command with a reminder about why we serve God. “For consider what great things He has done for you.” One of the primary reasons that a genuinely saved believer lives an obedient life centered around the truth of God is because they are grateful for the “great things” God has done for them, namely saving them. When we have a heart full of gratitude to God, we have then a deep desire to please Him. As Biblical Christians lets have hearts full of thankfulness to Him for His mercy and grace that is then borne out in living lives that are pleasing to Him.