Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.
1 Samuel 12:23
James will later write that the person who knows the good he should do and does not do it sins. That is much the thought that Samuel is expressing in this morning’s verse.
While Samuel is telling Israel that it would be wrong for him to stop praying for Israel and Israel’s people, I think there is a larger concept and application.
The NT tells me to pray without ceasing; to pray at all times and with all kinds of prayers. Jesus, when He taught how to pray, began with the words when you pray. Prayer, for me, should be a foregone conclusion. What’s more, I should never stop praying for people that God lays on my heart. Israel had been on Samuel’s heart for most of his life—definitely all of his adult life—and he regarded it as a sin to stop praying for Israel even though Israel had rejected God’s rule over them and Samuel as the judge appointed by God. So, too, should I regard it as a sin to stop praying for those whom God places on my heart even if they reject God’s lordship of their life; even if they reject me in whatever place I fill in their life.
Samuel also promises not to stop telling Israel the truth. He says he will instruct them in the good and right way. Samuel is the last judge. He is also a prophet. He spent his life speaking God’s truth to Israel; instructing them in the good and right way. He would not stop even though they rejected his work by demanding a king; would not stop even though they were rejecting God, their rightful King.
Likewise I must not stop speaking truth; instructing any who will listen in the good and right way.
I live in a nation that claims God was not a part of its history or a part of its foundation. My country is rejecting the God Who made her great. I need to continue to pray for my country and speak truth.
I must pray for and speak truth to those whom God places on my heart.