November 21, 2007
1 Samuel 12:24
Serve the Lord
“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.”
Introduction: It could be said that Samuel lived and served during a time of transition. He was the last judge to serve Israel as the nation desired to be ruled by a king. Although he resisted a monarchy nevertheless the Lord instructed Samuel to give the people a king. By divine appointment Saul was brought into contact with Samuel, and Samuel was directed to anoint him as Israel’s first king.
At king Saul’s inauguration Samuel called the people to renewed faithfulness to the Lord who not only had given them a king but who had carried them through many perils.
As we gather together this night to celebrate yet another Thanksgiving Samuel’s words are quite fitting: “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.”-1 Samuel 12:24
At this time of Thanksgiving Samuel reminds us:
I. Consider what great things He has done for you.
A. Just consider the blessings God has showered down upon you. These blessings come indeed without our prayer. Luther in His explanation to the 4th Petition reminds us that He provides for us daily. Each and every day the Lord has made it His business to provide for His children – just as you provide for your children. Our daily bread includes; “everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.”
Interesting enough, Luther also encourages us that in our prayers we should ask the Lord to lead us to know and understand this reality – namely - that He is the one who supplies our needs and then to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
B. What follows the 4th Petition? Naturally it’s the 5th Petition. The Lord provides for our physical needs. He alone provides for our spiritual needs as well.
When we petition God to forgive us Luther again would reminds us; “We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them; but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment.
So will we also heartily forgive and readily do good to, those who sin against us.”
We need the Lord’s direction in our life for only with His strength are we able to heartily forgive and readily do good to those who have sinned against us! By ourselves we cannot do this. By His grace it becomes a reality in our lives.
Transition: Once we have considered the wonders of His love we are moved to serve Him with our very lives.
II. But be sure to fear the Lord…
A. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” is the way wise King Solomon instructs us in Proverbs 1:7. Samuel and the wise king reach the same conclusion; - we need a loving reverence for God that includes submission to His lordship and confidence in His promises.
B. Conversely, we are to reject any sort of foolishness. The fool; by definition - is that individual who hates knowledge and correction of any kind.
Furthermore they are quick to quarrel, they are complacent, and they trust in themselves rather than in God.
Transition: Luther explains that proper respect for God is attained when we are to fear, love and trust in Him above all things. With a proper attitude toward God we can now help and serve our neighbor.
III. Serve Him faithfully with all your heart.
A. Best applied with the acronym - “JOY” - Jesus – others- you. Easy to put to memory – it takes a lifetime to live it daily in our lives.
B. Thus we have the call to faithful service. God has given you a vocation to serve God and your neighbor faithfully in this generation. Each has a divine mission to serve God as we serve our neighbor – no one can be called to any higher service – what you do for Jesus as you serve your neighbor is your mission field!
Conclusion: With sincere and thankful hearts we consider the great things the Lord has done; we fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully from the heart.
When we begin to do this thanksgiving become a habit – it becomes thanks living. A blessed thanksgiving - to each of you - in Jesus’ Name.
+Soli Deo Gloria+