Thursday, October 24, 2013

Only Fear the Lord

1 Sam. 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.  25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.
It is interesting that many modern Christians read the Old Testament as the book where God’s people served Him through a legalistic system. But in the New Testament, we serve God without any formalities but only in the Spirit.
It is true that the Old System of sacrifices is over. Those sacrifices all pointed to the One Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus. Now that Jesus has died and risen again, there is no need for any further sacrifices.
But it is untrue to say that an Old Testament saint was vindicated by his religious deeds no matter the condition of his heart. What was true then is also true now. You cannot please God going through the motions of mere religious duty. God has always desired circumcision in the heart. That is, the cutting away of the sins in the heart. We need new hearts so that our very desires are transformed into the desires that please God.
It is true that we see this more clearly now. Man could not accomplish this on his own, so God must give man a king, who is both priest and sacrifice, so that man could be completely forgiven and justified before God. Furthermore, God poured out His Spirit upon us in a superabundant way in the New Covenant.
But even in the era of the Old Covenant, all the way back to Samuel, even before King David, God desired that we should serve Him, that is, worship Him, in truth and from the heart. This reminds us of our New Testament command, “Let those who worship God, worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.” We are to worship God not just in the truth of our system but from the heart, having our spirits stirred within us by His Spirit.
The reason is given here by Samuel; because God has done great things for us. We who see Christ crucified, buried, risen and ruling, have much clearer sight to see what great things God has done for us. Thus, we have every reason to have our hearts stirred within us to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, from the heart, willingly, joyfully.
Let the warning also sound in our ears, 1 Samuel 12:25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king. This has not changed in the New Covenant, either. If we turn back from serving God in Spirit and in Truth, if we disobey the Word, if we do not worship Him only, or turn to false gods through false ideas and idols, if we do not remain steadfast in our allegiance, then we, our nation, our king, shall be consumed.
God’s people stand in the gap for our leaders and our nation. May the Lord stir us up to faithfulness to Him so that for His great name’s sake, He sends blessing to us and to our nation.

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