1 Samuel 12:23 (NKJV)
23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.
Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV):
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[h]
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
God called me to PRAY. I am in situation where all I can do is pray, and God did that on purpose, so He could remind me that prayer is the most powerful weapon and the only main weapon that we have when dealing with the problems or trials. I have to remind myself that interceding prayer is a conscious effort and I have to work at it to make it effective. How do I work at it? By staying faithful to the Lord and dwelling in His word.
The main points to carry from the story of Samuel anointing the king:
1. God seeks to be our King. If only we would allow Him that place, He would deliver us.
2. If God was rejected and knows what it feels like, we have a true consolation that He knows our pain and understands it. We can share our emotions and feelings with Him, and He will guide us to the healing place.
3. We are commanded to pray without ceasing despite being rejected. Rejection is not an excuse for us to take charge and seek our own justice, but instead pray for those people and ask God to save them.
4. Lack of prying is simply a sin in the sight of the Lord. God made it very clear in many scriptures that we are to pray, and when we don`t, we sin against Him.
In this story of Samuel, who was a last judge for the Israelites before the onset of the monarchy (first king Saul), God reminded me that although people rejected Samuel (being their judge and a leader), the people most importantly rejected their Lord, who`s been guiding them and delivering them out of the hand of their enemies endless amount of times. The full account of the request for the king could be found in 1 Samuel 8-12. The people decided to imitate what other nations had: coronate a king to rule over them.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:4-5 NKJV).
So the elders of Israel came to Samuel and claimed that his children don`t follow the Lord and they didn`t trust they could be fair judges. Therefore, they requested for Samuel to appoint and anoint them a king just like the other nations had.
How sad it is to see people trusting other people instead of looking up to the Lord. If Israelites would have kept their eyes on the Lord, they would have remembered that this wasn`t their place to worry about Samuel`s sons being corrupt, but allow God dealing with them; just like He`s done with Eli`s sons. God used barren woman Hanna to conceive a son whom she promised to devote to the Lord for the ministry, and so she had Samuel whom she left with Eli at the temple when he was weaned off of nursing. Eli`s sons did evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12-17), and God brought Samuel to serve Him instead of Eli`s sons who died along with Eli.
People needed to trust the Lord would deal with Samuel`s sons just like He`s dealt with Eli`s sons for being corrupt and for misleading the nation. This is a great reminder for us to check our hearts to make sure we don`t claim God`s place and try to judge or vindicate ourselves. I`m certainly guilty of that at some point on my life, and I had to repent; I had to invite the Lord to take full control because this is no place for me to seek my own justice or defense.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord (Romans 12:19 NKJV).
This is a very important lesson for us to learn: to keep our eyes on the Lord and to allow Him place to judge and to deal with the wicked people.
Israelites didn`t do that. They demanded a king instead putting all their trust in human strength. By doing that, they rejected the Lord:
7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also (1 Samuel 8:7-8 NKJV).
People have rejected the Lord, and as a result, they would have consequences because they refuse to trust in God. This is very fascinating scripture to me because it serves as a backbone of God`s character of how much He desires to have relationships with us personally, yet a lot of times we tend to create these hurdles with our hands that prevent us from coming to Him directly. Israel had a direct rulership by God over them, yet they rejected that and chose to have a hurdle- a king who would be one more layer between them and God. So unnecessary and arrogant, so idolatrous of them, yet so many times we do the same thing to the Lord.
We have Jesus Christ as a defense and a Door for us to come to the Lord directly, yet we claim trust in people rather than coming to the Lord directly and praying for guidance and deliverance because we like to trust in something tangible.
Jesus said in the Gospel of John 10:9 (NKJV):
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Through Jesus we can come to the Father with full assurance that He will be there for us and will direct us when we pray wholeheartedly. Praying is where Samuel was a stellar performer; he continued to pray for the nation even after they rejected him and the Lord.
23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way (1 Samuel 12:23 NKJV).
This is amazing that after being rejected by the nation, Samuel makes a public statement that he will not cease praying for them even though they rejected him. This is a very important concept that we should focus on: praying for those who reject us, deject us, and betray us. The hardest thing to do is to pray for those who do us wrong and evil. I have a firsthand experience with that, yet God had to cleanse my heart to bring my focus exactly to this: PRAY for my husband, for my family, for all those who did a lot of evil to me.
I have to confess that there have been days when I would honestly come to the Lord and just tell Him flat out the truth that I don`t see the point in praying for those people, and I didn`t feel like praying for them on some days, yet our God was graceful to direct me to the core issues and problems that could be corrected only through praying.
17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 NKJV).
Paul is reminding us that we need to pray without ceasing and give thanks to the Lord for everything.
It all comes down to us trusting the Lord despite the circumstances. If we trust that God has a plan for us despite the suffering and betrayal, than we should have no problem praying knowingly that we are grateful to God for leading us to the end to see the victory.
This is definitely easier said than done because only by rationalizing this concept can we come to this conclusion, and this is only possible through bypassing our emotions. The problem is that we are not robots, and God intended us to be full human beings with feelings and free will to make choices.
That`s what makes this idea so hard to realize that although people reject us and betray us, we still have to look to the Lord and stay obedient to His word. His word states clearly to pray without ceasing, and Jesus makes it clear commanding us to pray for those persecuting us and those cursing us.
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[h]45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV).
Listen, we have no choice but to surrender our emotions and feelings to the Lord. If we don`t, they would prevent us from praying for those who betray us and persecute us. Samuel was honest that he was admitting to the people that it would be a “sin against the Lord” if he ceased praying for the people despite the fact how he felt betrayed by them. That`s all there is to it. When we don`t pray, we commit sin against the Lord.
Jesus made it clear that Father makes the sun come up and go down for the wicked and for the righteous because he sees the wicked as lost, whom He still loves and wants to see saved. If He thinks of them that way, He commands us to pray for them as well. This is a commandment from the Lord for us to pray for those who betray and reject us.
It`s tough for me some days to remember that and to pray for certain people, but I refuse to commit sin against the Lord. I`d come to the Lord and share honestly with Him my true feelings, so He could direct me to the place of healing, which He does every single time. I`d rather do that, than allow myself to harden my heart through the disobedience to His word. This is not a crime to share your emotions with the Lord, and as a matter of fact, that`s a sign of a true and genuine relationships with the Lord when we can come to Him and share everything that`s on our heart. That`s what I do. I refuse to be a hypocrite and sugarcoat things only to make myself look good in His presence because it never works anyway. That`s what Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees did, and I don`t want to be like that. I`d rather share my true feelings with the Lord and ask Him to deliver any wrongful thoughts or motivations rather than pray a deaf prayer that would be ineffective.
If you feel rejected, you can look to the word of God to know that He Himself was rejected more than once, yet He continues to love us and to make every attempt possible to reconcile with us, so we could have that closeness with Him that He desires so much since the day He created a human being.
If you feel rejected, please know that God understands what`s in your heart, but that is not an excuse for us to stop praying or to stop praying for those who offend us and hurt us. It`s on the opposite, we are commanded by Jesus to pray for those who deny us and persecute us.
If you feel like you don`t want to pray or can`t pray, I urge you to repent and seek the Lord to direct you to the place of surrender. This is God`s will that we pray, regardless of how we feel about certain people. I have to admit that He`s done a mighty redemptive work in my heart for me to come to the place and state that I was able to forgive certain people against whom I harbored hatred and pain for many years. That was done through the honest confessions before the Lord and desire to seek His will.
Israelites chose to trust in their own strength when they asked for a king, and that`s what was so detestable to God. He wants us to come to Him regardless of the feelings and share with Him how we really feel. Some days I feel like failure, but then I realize that Jesus seemed like a weak and failed person when He was crucified. Everyone thought that He was a complete failure because they thought the Messiah would take charge and defeat Cesar. Obviously they didn`t know the scriptures because the Old Testament made endless amount of prophecies for Jesus being rejected and humble. Nothing grandeur or marvelous in the sight of the world, and that is because God sees everything differently than the way the world perceives it.
I encourage you to pray for those who reject you and hurt you, and you will see the difference that your prayers would make. You would be surprised one day to see them saved and repented before the Lord. True prayers make a difference. Praying for those who reject us make us Sons and Daughters of our Father (Matthew 5:45). This is the characteristic that we, as children of God, have to have: praying for those who betray us, reject us, and persecute us.