Chris Reid
4 min readMay 27




20. “Don’t be afraid,” Samuel reassured them. “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the LORD with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him.

21. Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you — they are totally useless!

22. The LORD will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the LORD to make you his very own people.

1 Samuel 12: 20–22 NLT

Today’s Passage begs the question, Why? Why would God Choose the Israelites only to punish them at every seeming turn? What was the point of bringing them into His fold if they could never live up to His Standard? But if you ask me, that’s the wrong question.

My point and Today’s Lesson are encapsulated within Chapter 12th of The Story of Samuel. This whole Episode illustrates the dynamic God wished to display to His people, but their recalcitrant actions in rejecting Him demonstrate why He acts the way He does toward them.

It all seems so harsh until you consider what the Israelites had been delivered from. God’s Favor had shined down on Abraham’s seed for centuries before they asked for a King. In fact, their relocation to Egypt, which would eventually become their prison, began as God’s Favor, using Joseph to save them from a terrible drought.

They waxed strong during their time in Egypt, growing from a fledgling tribe to a mighty nation, so much so that Egypt’s Ruler deemed them a threat to his authority. To deal with this threat, Pharoah enslaved God’s people, but they still thrived even under those extreme conditions. So Pharoah took his actions a step further and sent out a proclamation to drown every male Hebrew child.

The Story of Moses is well known because of what came next. After growing up under Pharoah’s own roof, the young impertinent Hebrew fled after killing an Egyptian guard for beating a Hebrew slave. When he returned years later, God would use Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

The ebb and flow of danger and protection the Israelites enjoyed over the centuries of their ascendency sprung from a Covenant God made with Abraham and his seed. He told them if they followed Him, He would Guide and Protect them, but if they turned their backs on Him, He would remove His Hand of Protection.

Despite this warning and God’s continual Blessings, the Israelites still tested God’s resolve frequently, rebelling to the extent that He allowed foreign nations to torment His people to drive them back to him. So what was the point? Why would God bother with the Israelites if He knew they would just defy Him once their zeal to serve Him cooled?

In this Chapter of The Story of Samuel, we see the Israelites faced with the same old issue they always seem to encounter. They’ve done something to annoy God, turning their backs on Him yet again, and He displayed His Anger in a manner none of them can ignore. Now they are afraid and seemingly repentant for however long that’ll last.

But how does God react? Does He bring up all the other times the people have repented and then returned to their sins? Does He rub their faces in their filth to force them to experience how their stench smells in His Nostrils? Nope. He reassures them.

Even after these repeat offenders yet again ruffle God’s Feathers, He still tells them if they simply stay by His Side, He will continue to Bless them and their new King. Despite their rejecting God’s Leadership, He still Promised them Blessings, even under their new King, as long as they followed His Laws.

So, the question posed at the beginning of this Post is answered with a single word, Love. It seems counter-intuitive, but a lot of what God does seems incongruent to us because we do not share His Mind. Love does not constitute enabling. Instead, Love recognizes the potential danger in our transgressions and demands transformation.

God will not abide sin, but He constructs escape routes even in the Trails we mistakenly Blaze that take us in the wrong direction. And here’s the thing, if we remain Faithful, even when we make those Wrong Turns, God still rides with us. He’ll protect us even from our own actions, but there is a requirement for His Favor which He reveals to the Israelites in Today’s Passage.

To stay under God’s Protection even when we fall requires Obedience to His Will. God chose the Israelites, knowing their flaws. His Punishments were goads to drive them back onto the correct path. It seems harsh, but when you consider the alternative was their utter Destruction, you begin to understand why God would spare them.

God wants a Relationship with us Today, and He wanted one with the Israelites back then too. He admits as much in Verse 22 when Samuel says, “the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” But He has a Standard, and He will not compromise it.

What seems like harsh and heartless punishments is God’s way of sparing His Chosen people and Guiding them in a direction that will lead to Paradise, not Destruction. But to reap the Blessings He’s Promised requires adhering to His Standard. That’s not harshness; that’s Love, and knowing the difference is crucial!

Have a Spectacular Saturday, And Learn The Difference Between A Gentle Hand And A Turned Back. A Little Pain Now Prevents Utter Annihilation Later!




Chris Reid

A lifelong poet and lyricist, and aspiring novelist, who’s taken to heart the old adage, “Only what you do for Christ shall last.”