1 Samuel 12:24
Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he has done for you.
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1 Samuel 12:24. Only fear the Lord, and serve him with truth, &c. — Otherwise neither my prayers nor counsels will stand you in any stead. Thus we see that amidst all the changes of the Hebrew state, their prophets steadily inculcated one and the same great principle, namely, that of fearing and serving the one true and living God, in spirit and in truth. Whether Moses or Joshua, the elders, or judges, or kings, were their governors, this great point was kept in view, and pursued still. And this indeed was the end of the Divine Providence in selecting this people: to preserve and spread among mankind the knowledge and worship of the true God, and obedience to his will, was the great point in view, in the divine counsels, in all that was done to and for the Israelites. And this great purpose, notwithstanding all their revolts and rebellions, was still carried on, at least in a measure, and accomplished. 12:16-25 At Samuel's word, God sent thunder and rain, at a season of the year when, in that country, the like was not seen. This was to convince them they had done wickedly in asking a king; not only by its coming at an unusual time, in wheat harvest, and on a clear day, but by the prophet's giving notice of it before. He showed their folly in desiring a king to save them, rather than God, or Samuel; promising themselves more from an arm of flesh, than from the arm of God, or from the power of prayer. Could their prince command such forces as the prophet could do by his prayers? It startled them very much. Some will not be brought to see their sins by any gentler methods than storms and thunders. They entreat Samuel to pray for them. Now they see their need of him whom shortly before they slighted. Thus many who will not have Christ to reign over them, would yet be glad to have him intercede for them, to turn away the wrath of God. Samuel aims to confirm the people in their religion. Whatever we make a god of, we shall find it deceive us. Creatures in their own places are good; but when put in God's place, they are vain things. We sin if we restrain prayer, and in particular if we cease praying for the church. They only asked him to pray for them; but he promises to do more, to teach them. He urges that they were bound in gratitude to serve God, considering what great things he had done for them; and that they were bound in interest to serve him, considering what he would do against them, if they should still do wickedly. Thus, as a faithful watchman, he gave them warning, and so delivered his own soul. If we consider what great things the Lord hath done for us, especially in the great work of redemption, we can neither want motive, encouragement, nor assistance in serving him.Wheat harvest - Between May 15 and June 15. Jerome's testimony (that of an eye-witness) "I have never seen rain in the end of June, or in July, in Judaea" is borne out by modern travelers. 1Sa 12:17-25. He Terrifies Them with Thunder in Harvest-time.

17-25. Is it not wheat harvest to-day?—That season in Palestine occurs at the end of June or beginning of July, when it seldom or never rains, and the sky is serene and cloudless. There could not, therefore, have been a stronger or more appropriate proof of a divine mission than the phenomenon of rain and thunder happening, without any prognostics of its approach, upon the prediction of a person professing himself to be a prophet of the Lord, and giving it as an attestation of his words being true. The people regarded it as a miraculous display of divine power, and, panic-struck, implored the prophet to pray for them. Promising to do so, he dispelled their fears. The conduct of Samuel, in this whole affair of the king's appointment, shows him to have been a great and good man who sank all private and personal considerations in disinterested zeal for his country's good and whose last words in public were to warn the people, and their king, of the danger of apostasy and disobedience to God.

Fear the Lord, and serve him; otherwise neither my prayer nor counsels will stand you in any stead.

He hath done for you, or, among you, both at this time and formerly. Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart,.... Fear him not with a servile fear, which is before dehorted from, but with a filial fear, a reverential affection for God; and includes the whole of religious worship, internal and external; explained further by serving him according to the truth of his word, and in a cordial, sincere, and affectionate manner; and if this was wanting in them, he suggests that his prayers and instructions would be of little avail, and not to be depended on:

for consider how great things he hath done for you; in bringing them out of Egypt: settling them in the land of Canaan; giving them his laws, statutes, commands, and ordinances; sending prophets unto them, and raising up judges for them, and bestowing all good things on them, in nature, providence, and grace; though some restrain this to the great thing he had done that day, to convince them of their sin, and by which they were returned to the Lord, namely, the violent storm of thunder; which wonderful instance of the power of God, and token of his displeasure against them, they were to lay up in their minds, and not forget, that it might be a means of preserving them from sin for the future.

Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your {o} heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

(o) Unfeignedly, and without hypocrisy.

24. how great things he hath done for you] Lit. with you. The reference can scarcely be limited to the recent storm as a display of God’s greatness, but includes all his gracious dealings with His people. Samuel concludes his speech as he began it (1 Samuel 12:6-7), with an appeal to these as the motive for loyal obedience.Verse 24. - For consider, etc. Samuel concludes his address by appealing to the mighty deeds wrought in old time by Jehovah for his people; literally, it is, "For consider how grandly he hath wrought with you."

This miracle therefore inspired the people with a salutary terror. "All the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel," and entreated the prophet, "Pray for thy servants to the Lord thy God, that we die not, because we have added to all our sins the evil thing, to ask us a king."
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