“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you…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 12:23-24.
After God’s chosen people demanded a king, they were given what they asked for. God used His servant Samuel to anoint Saul as their leader. It wasn’t that God agreed with them, but rather allowed their desires to play out. Make no mistake…God saw their desire for a king as complete disobedience and rejection of His Lordship. Samuel was aware that the only way for them to be successful in their circumstances was to never lose sight that it was God who set King Saul before them. Samuel goes into a farewell speech to the people basically reminding them of how many times they had rejected and forsaken God. His words echoed the many messes they had gotten into through the generations and how God had rescued them each time. Samuel basically ended the speech with ‘Heaven help you…I don’t agree with you…but here are the things that must be done at a minimum.’ The most interesting nugget from this passage is his promise to pray for them not out of concern for them, but to keep him from being responsible for sinning.
Interesting…I know the power of praying for those who are not living according to our opinions. I have just come out of a season where I continuously prayed for someone who had hurt my family. My motivation of prayer for him was not out of my deep love for him, rather out of my desire to see the situation become more stabilized. Never in my mind, did I consider that to not pray for him would be a sin. Samuel, God’s mouthpiece, unapologetically assigns failure to pray for others as being a sin. Notice that his part in the process was to keep himself clean before God, while their part was left between them and God.
When dealing with people in our lives, our part is to pray for them without judgment, and God’s part is to justifiably deal with them on His terms. When we do not have a heart of prayer for everyone, we set ourselves up to be justifiably dealt with also…just for a different sin.
So let us live a ‘far be it from me’ life and lift a prayer for both friends and foes.