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The Hand of the LORD Against You

1 Samuel 12:15 (ESV) – But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king.

Cause and effect. We see the principle of cause and effect all over the universe. We see it in aspects of how the universe operates. When the moon is in certain phases it affects the tides of the sea. We see it in human interactions. If someone neglects a relationship, the effect is they grow apart, or the relationship ends. It is present in work environments. The individuals most gifted and hardest working reap the larger benefits and climb the ladder. Cause-and-effect lives around us every day.

Our passage today demonstrates a cause-and-effect relationship. It is the relationship between God and man. We read in 1 Samuel 12:15, “But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king.”

In this passage, the prophet Samuel is speaking to the people of Israel. He is an old man and nearing death. He gives these instructions as final words to the people. Saul resides as king over the people. Samuel now believes his time of leadership in Israel is over, and his final words serve as a closing charge to them. He re-ups the covenant principle of cause and effect with them. If they do not obey the voice of the LORD, but choose to rebel instead against His commandments, then God’s hand will be against them and their king. 

God should never be trifled with. Nobody should ever conclude that He isn’t watching or doesn’t care about our actions. His holiness and righteousness require Him to be just. He doesn’t look the other way at our sins. No, as Samuel reminds them, if they choose to live in rebellion against the LORD, the hand of the LORD will be against them. What does this mean? It means He will not bless them. His protection may not remain. He may bring judgment and justice against them for their rebellion. Samuel reminds them of God’s expectation of obedience. 

The same remains for us.

Through Christ we have been reconciled to God. But if we want to remain under the favor of the LORD and walk in nearness to Him, we should obey His commands. When we live in opposition to Him, it does not go well with us.

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Nobody wants the hand of the LORD against them. But that is the cause and effect of disobedience. Repent today of all disobedience, and turn again to His Word, seeking His grace to obey it.

Reflection & Journal: 
- Why does Samuel lay out this reminder to the people of Israel?
- What are some examples in the Bible of this cause-and-effect principle playing out?
- How does this passage remind us of the importance of obedience? How do grace and obedience relate to each other?

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