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Faith And Difficult Choices

Photo credit: Kelly Marshall

April 27, 2022

Praying Friends,

Thank you for praying today for our prodigals and for revival.

Faith requires us to follow the path God has for us, not the path of least resistance. The right path is often the difficult path.

This is what the prophet Samuel discovered. His name comes next in the Hebrews 11 faith chapter. He found that walking in faith is not necessarily safe, but it is always the best. Best, because faith aligns itself with God’s desires.

Let’s look at 4 occasions in Samuel’s life that exemplified his faith:

First, we learn that Samuel told the truth. He was only a child, but he had gotten a word from the Lord. You can read the story in 1 Samuel 3.

Samuel lived in the temple of God and was under the care of Eli, the high priest. One night, while little Samuel was sleeping in his temple bunk in the next room over from Eli, God called out to Samuel. After 3 times of God calling and Samuel running to Eli, thinking it was Eli’s voice he heard, Eli finally realized it was the Lord. He instructed Samuel to respond to God’s voice and listen to what He had to say.

And when God called again, Samuel was ready. God gave an incredibly heavy message to Samuel to deliver to Eli — a message of impending judgment on Eli’s family. The easiest path would have been for Samuel to hide it or change it, but by faith he did the difficult task of telling the truth. Samuel’s example reminds us of the importance of being truthful in all our dealings with others.

Secondly, Samuel rebuked the nation. The Philistines had taken the sacred Ark of the Covenant. The people of God had turned to false gods, and the enemy was about to attack again. This story is in 1 Samuel 7.

Samuel gathered all the people at Mizpah, and told them to put away their false gods, which they did. They fasted, confessed their sin, and poured out their hearts to God.

God worked a miracle by sending loud thunder and scaring off the Philistines. It was a great victory in Israel, and Samuel set up a monument and called it Ebenezer, meaning “Till now the LORD has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12).

He took the difficult road of dealing with a national problem, and God honored his faith by sending divine help! Samuel’s example shows us how God responds to true faith.

Next, Samuel faced the monarch with his sin. King Saul had continually disobeyed the Lord throughout his life, and as a result, God rejected him as king. You can read the story in 1 Samuel 15.

Saul had a clear word from the LORD as to how to deal with the Amalekites. It was severe, but because of their past record of trying to destroy Israel, Saul was told to totally wipe out the enemy. He defeated the army but instead of listening fully to God, he brought back the best sheep, the fattened calves, and all that he deemed good (1 Samuel 15:9).

God was not happy with Saul. He regretted making him king, and that day, rejected him. Samuel had the difficult duty of telling the king that God was angry with him. He said to the king, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen [to God] than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).

If you read the story carefully, you learn that Samuel’s heart was broken over Saul’s attitude (1 Samuel 15:11). He cried all night before going to the king. Delivering God’s message in truth is necessary, but it is important that it is done in love. This is a lesson that Paul emphasized to the Ephesian believers. He said, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

Lastly, Samuel obeyed God despite the possibility of losing his life. It was one thing to give the king the bad news that the Lord had rejected him, it is altogether different to secretly anoint a new king in his place. This story can be found in 1 Samuel 16.

At the word of God, Samuel went to Bethlehem and anointed David to be the future king of Israel. This would normally be done after the death of the reigning king, but in this case, God wanted David anointed before Saul died.

Samuel was afraid for his life, but he obeyed his God. This is the courage that comes from true faith in God. Meggin Patricia Cabot who wrote The Prince Diaries said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.”

May we all have faith like Samuel and be willing to walk the challenging road with God at our side.

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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