None of Samuels three sons was fit to be the next judge of Israel because all of them did not follow his steps. But He was getting old. The Israelites knew it. So they began to ask for a king to rule them. They envied their neighboring countries that were ruled by kings. Thus it ended Samuels job as their judge. And he was hurt.
But God told him, 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. 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)
Was the setting up of a king against Gods will? Some Bible scholars say that it was a choice God had approved to go against His will. Others say that though God had approved it, He opposed the reason behind such request. And that was to become like all the other nations that knew not God.
But Samuel loved Israel with all his heart. He chose to trust that God knew what He was doing. So he installed their king. But he reminded them about Gods love for them and His hate against sin.
He went on to say, Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things He has done for you. But if you shall still do wickedly, you shall be consumed, both you and your king. (1 Samuel 12:23-25)
Samuel had a deep love for God. He valued what matters to God. God would not let go of Israel and so he would not. Not even if they trusted the rule of a king more than Gods.
Samuel feared God. He knew that God is worth all worship. He would not want Israel to become hardened toward God. He would not want his nation and people to forget God. Thus he committed himself to pray for it. He promised he would support Israel in prayers no matter what.
The command to pray for our nation is not something that the lawmakers can put into law. We might run out of jails for those who will not obey. To love our country is something that can only start in us. It must spring from within.
How fervent are we in praying for our country? How do we see the plight of our countrymen? How do we view the neverending crises that beset our nation? We will only see these with hope when we pray. Let us continue to pray to God who has all the answers.
Paul said, I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
1. How do you respond to the corruption and lawlessness that prevail in our society?
2. God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you. What do you think went on Samuels mind when he said this?
To pray for the nation is not an option. It is a command.