“I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves.” (1 Samuel 12:17b)
When clouds gather, lightning flashes, thunder rolls, and conditions are present for destructive storms, the National Weather Service will issue a storm warning. Data is collected and analyzed, as sensitive instruments indicate dangers that might otherwise catch people unprepared. Samuel was a man sensitive to the Spirit. In chapter twelve of 1 Samuel, he issues a storm warning. God sends a literal storm to confirm the message. Israel’s first king, Saul has led an impressive victory, but Samuel warns of a storm that is coming.
Samuel had been faithful—his life an inspiring example (v.1-5). There had been a remarkable consistency from the dawn of his childhood, the brilliant noonday of his ministry, and now as evening shadows of age gather around him, he will leave a legacy of devotion to God and His people. Will this be our testimony? Will we end well? God help us to be faithful!
The Lord is the ultimate model of faithfulness. Whereas, He has been faithful to His people, they had not been to Him (v.6-11). They forgot the Lord! Even so, God disciplined them and did not disown them—remaining devoted to them and delivering them. For the blessing of God to rest on them, they must fear Him and obey Him (v.12-15). Those are still the twin rails upon which God’s train of blessing runs—the old T & O: Trust and Obey!
God drives home the point rather dramatically (v.16-18). During the time of the wheat harvest, rain in rare in Palestine. God stirs up a storm to show them who is in charge. The people had demanded a king to reign over them. In so doing, they had rejected the Lord from being their ruler. God yielded to their request, but reminded them that their decision would not go well—and that a gnat may as well try to control a rhinoceros as for them to think they could depose God.
Their future prospects would be determined by the degree of their faithful performance (v.19-21). They confess their sin and cry out for mercy—which is always a good place to start. If we are off track, the first step to getting back online is to admit it—and that we need God’s help to do so. That confession is followed by a choice—to spurn the empty wells of this world and drink from God’s fountain that never runs dry. Our Father may reprove us, but He will not reject us; He may correct us, but will not cast us out (v.22). He did not choose Israel because they deserved it, but solely by grace. That is true of us, as well.
If we would stay in touch with God, then His power would deliver us, and His hand would direct us. Samuel had such a lifestyle of communion with the Almighty (v.23). To this example here is added the testimony of Ps.99:6 and Jer.15:1. If we never become faithful in prayer, we will never be faithful in anything else. How could we fail to delight in His presence and submit in obedience in view of all He has done for us? Samuel drives home the point (v.24-25).
If God is giving you a storm warning, it is time to drop to your knees and seek shelter in Him!