Keep Going – 1 Samuel 12

What happens after we sin and find ourselves on the other side of where God wants us to be?  Sin always creates a separation from God – how can we get back into His presence?  The prophet Samuel tells us to confess our sin and turn back to God as quickly as possible.

20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.  1 Samuel 12:20 (NKJV)

If we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that there are times we do the wrong things.  We each have our areas of weakness.  My weaknesses may be totally different from yours, but we all have them.  Only Jesus was able to live His life without ever giving in to temptation, not even once.

Samuel was on earth long before the death and resurrection of Jesus, who is the source of all grace and forgiveness for those who would reach for Him.  But God spoke through Samuel, assuring us that if we humble ourselves before God, we can freely confess our sins to Him and experience His complete forgiveness. We can then turn back to walking in the way that God wants us to go, and to keep walking, serving the Lord with our whole heart.

21 And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing.  1 Samuel 12:21 (NKJV)

We want to return to God as quickly as possible because He is the only One of true value.  Every treasure in our hearts, be they loved ones or pets or precious memories, was a direct gift of love from Him.  Spending our life chasing after empty things is a waste of precious time, spent in vain. Turning away from God to pursue selfish desires can never deliver long-term peace or contentment. They leave us with nothing.

Samuel also reminds us how important it is for us to continue to pray for each other.  In fact, he even implies that it is a sin if we do not pray for those who God has put in our lives!  

23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. 1 Samuel 12:23 (NKJV)

Thus, God has given us the responsibility to help care for and instruct those around us, especially those who are new or fragile in the faith.  As Jesus is the Good Shepherd to us, we have a debt to be a good shepherd to those around us.  As He said in Luke 12:48, to whom much is given, much is required.

To help us pray for others, many believers find it useful to use a prayer list.  Some keep one on paper or in a journal book, others on an electronic device, such as in a Notes application.

By keeping a prayer list, we can regularly lift people up before the Lord, especially those who He has put on our hearts.  We can pray for specific things for that person, or just ask that God’s Spirit to descend upon them to bless them, giving them faith, encouragement, healing and protection, providing whatever they need.

It is especially powerful to pray for those we may not particularly like or have a resentment against.  By praying for them, we are honoring God’s will to love our enemies, and will find that our hearts often soften towards them over time.

Samuel encourages us to quickly “close the sin gap” we may have created with God, and to quickly get back on track in service to Him.  He gives us assurance that, even though we have sinned, forgiveness is freely available to us through God’s grace, which would come due to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in our place. He tells us plainly that, no matter the circumstances, “Keep going”. God is on our side.


Is there a sin from my past that needs to be confessed to the Lord today?  It may be recent, or it may be from the distant past. As a fellow believer says, “We are not sinless, but we want to sin less”. Confession before God makes that possible.

Samuel reminds us of our responsibility to pray for our fellows and for all who touch our lives, be they friend, acquaintance, or even a perceived enemy. Who can we be praying for today?

Father God, we thank You for completely forgiving the sins we confess to You and Jesus for taking our penalty upon Himself at the cross. You have promised to remember our sins no more. Help us to quickly get back into Your service when we fall, and to walk faithfully in Your light. We lift up those around us in prayer, and ask Your Holy Spirit to come into their lives to bless them and draw them unto You. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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