Read 1 Samuel 12:6-25
It was time for coffee. That's what I was thinking one morning several weeks ago. I poured a nice fresh cup and got out the Mocha Mint Cream. A good way to start the day. I stirred the coffee, having put down the container that held the day brightening sweet mixture that "perks up" even not so good coffee. I sipped. Just the right amount, but where was the cream? Hadn't I set it down on the counter? Yes, but I must have bumped it just enough for it to be lying on its side. In addition to that, I evidently hadn't secured the flip top; so, there it rested, with the cream having drained out into the sink. Two thoughts entered my mind. First, I was glad I had put cream in that first cup of coffee and second, the only thing to do was to clean out the sink and move on. No crying, to change the well-worn adage just a bit, over spilled cream.
Some things simply can't be undone, and they are much more serious than spilled coffee cream. Many decisions are irrevocable. That is the kind of situation God's people faced in 1 Samuel 12:6:25. Let's look into their story and the encouragement we can gain from how the gracious Lord dealt with them because frequently, we too, need that lavish grace.
The incident we see here took place during the time when judges ruled in Israel. They were living in the land that God had promised them. The Lord was their King, and the judge who was over them was responsible to make decisions for them, guided by the Law of Moses. Can you imagine what it was like for them to have God as Monarch? The One Who created the world was their King Who had chosen them, Deuteronomy 7:6-7. Yet, there was a problem at this time. Over and over in the book of Judges, we are told that "everyone did what was right in his own eyes". In general, both judges and those they judged weren't honoring the Lord. Therefore, they were often chastised by their King, God. He would allow enemies to sweep in and raid and conquer them so they would want to run back to Him for His help. He wanted them to love, obey and honor Him. He loved them and wanted them to reverence and serve Him, Deuteronomy 10:12-13. His laws were given for their blessing and protection. Yet, the people weren't content to have the Holy One as their King. They wanted to be like the other nations. They wanted a man to reign over them, and they rejected the Living God, 1 Samuel 8:1-20. That brings us to 1 Samuel 12. We are there as Samuel reminded God's people of their history with Him as King. God had been a wonderful King, having brought them out of slavery into their land. Even when they pursued idols, if they repented and turned back to the Lord, He gave them deliverance through a judge. Samuel wanted to remind them how much more powerful their God was than an earthly king. Therefore, he asked the Lord to bring rain and thunder at a time when this didn't ordinarily occur. Thunder and rain in wheat harvest, brought about through Samuel's prayer, was a frightening thing to the people, showing the supremacy and power of the Lord. When the people saw God do this great sign, they were afraid. They were repentant, having realized that they had committed a great sin by rejecting their King. Yet, Samuel's words from the Lord to them were not only strong but also tender, reminding them of both God's holiness and love for them. They were not to live in fear because of their wrong decision. They could do nothing to undo what they had done. They couldn't put the cream back into the container. It was time to do what was right in the circumstances they had chosen. God didn't show His power when He brought the rain to destroy them, but to remind them of Who He was. It was not a good thing they had done by rejecting God's rule, but their Savior would meet them in their decision and bless them if they would honor and obey him and turn from their sin, 1 Samuel 12:24-25.
Often, when we are in situations that we can't undo, Satan tells us that we might as well stop trying to serve the Lord. He wants us to remain stuck in thoughts of our sin or mistake. He would like nothing better than to tell us that God no longer has a plan for us. When we can't undo what we have done, the Evil One wants us to live in on-going despair and shame. Yet, this isn't God's plan. It wasn't how He treated the Children of Israel, and it isn't how He will treat us. In 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, Paul reminds us that repentance brings beauty and fruitfulness. The turning away from what is wrong and the turning toward the One Who is righteous brings sweetness of life. This is not worldly sorrow that leads to fruitlessness. Instead, Godly sorrow brings about new and good actions. It shows itself in doing what honors God. Since God's mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great, Lamentations 3:21-23, God's people can live in the beauty of new fruitfulness each day. No need to stay stuck in past failure, Philippians 3:13-14. Peter's life pictures fruitfulness after repentance. He wept bitterly after his denial of the Savior, but Jesus didn't leave him there. He commissioned him to carry out the task that He had called him to do, John 21:15-17. Peter couldn't undo his denial, but he could obey Jesus, in spite of it.
Lord, help us not to wallow in any lost opportunity or in any past sin. Instead, give us the joy of repentance and afterward, new fruitfulness in you.