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A Heart for God

God vs. The People

Scripture: 1 Samuel 12

I. God’s verdict is that His people are unfaithful.

A. The main complaint that God has to bring against His people is found in vs. 12. God had made a covenant with His people. A covenant is a chosen relationship in which two parties make binding promises to each other. Israel broke this covenant with God. They said, “We no longer want to be committed to you. We reject you as our only king. We want a human king instead.”

B. Did God deserve to be treated this way by His people? Of course not! Beginning in vs. 7 we read about “all the righteous deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and for your fathers.” There is this pattern in Israel’s history. Israel gets in a crisis, they cry out to God for help, and then God delivers Israel from their crisis through leaders raised up by God. See verse 11.

C. But Israel forgot God. They worshiped idols instead (vs. 10). Exodus 20:5: “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.” God is properly jealous for the love of the people that He has made a covenant with.

D. The verdict then is clear. God is faithful. Israel is unfaithful. God wanted to do some show and tell about His verdict. Wheat harvest took place in the dry season of May & June in Israel. Every Israelite knew that getting rain at this time would be exceedingly rare. This thunderstorm that Samuel asked God to send on Israel would be a sign of God’s judgment (vs. 17-18).

II. God’s verdict is that His people do not have to remain unfaithful.

A. We worship a God who not only tells us bad news when we need to hear it. We worship a God who tells us good news even when we are guilty. And the good news is that God is a God of grace. God is so good and so generous that He gives us undeserved gifts of love. That is grace. In vs. 19 the people ask Samuel to pray. Samuel says to the people in vs. 20, “Do not be afraid.”

B. There is still hope. The first step in returning to God is not doing any good deed. It is praying for God to give you a heart for Him (vs. 20, 24). God will be gracious to His unfaithful people. But who are God’s people? Those who follow vs. 24: “Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” We are full of faith in the great things God has done for us. As God’s people, it is not our actions that define us. It is God’s actions that define us. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.” We receive love from God and then we change.

There is a king who is able to defend you from the judgment of God for your unfaithfulness.

The book of 1 Samuel
Commentaries on 1 Samuel by Robert Bergen, Dale Ralph Davis and Tim Chester

Sermon Discussion Questions

1) In what ways was Israel unfaithful to God? Do we Christians today break our promises to God even after we have put our faith in Christ? We think of our need for grace at the time of our conversion to faith in Christ, but is it not just as true that we need grace constantly as we live the Christian life?

2) Do you feel hopeless when God has revealed your sin and guilt? Why do we not have to be afraid as God’s people when we are convicted of our sin? Is it my actions that save me or is it God’s actions that save me?

3) How do you know when you are worshiping an idol? Can an idol profit you for anything good or save you from anything bad?