Continuity in Service
1 Samuel 12:14
If you will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD…

It has been said that one reason (perhaps the chief one) why the late Emperor of Brazil was dethroned by his own subjects, was because he was a man of peaceful pursuits and tastes, fond of literature, science and art, and the society of learned men. Hence his government was too tame for his people. There was not enough of the Napoleonic spirit about him, not enough glitter and show, and martial array and warrior spirit, as if the chief end of a king was to assume a fighting attitude, and challenge everybody to mortal combat. The man, be he sovereign or subject, who labours in such peaceful pursuits as tend to develop the intelligence and material resources of a country, is a far greater benefactor of the race than all the despots who have ever cursed the world with their combativeness. But people sometimes, in their mad frenzy and folly, drive away their best advisers, or commit the blunder of selling their friends and buying their enemies. The clamour for a king showed deep ingratitude to Samuel, after all he had done for them, and all the evils he had saved them from. But "Memory soon, of service done, deserteth the ingrate." They had a pretext, it is true, in the bad conduct of Samuel's sons, and of this they failed not to take advantage. But Samuel had not himself abdicated the office of Judge, though his sons were associated with him as helpers. There was also in their demand a spirit of rebellion against the order of governors God Himself had set over them, and a spirit of inordinate ambition and pride in desiring to be like the rest of the nations round about them. Having equipped the vessel of the State, and arranged and settled the new form of government, he assembled all the people at Gilgal, that he might give them some counsels, cautions, and warnings as to the future. He reminds them of his own past career amongst them from his childhood. This was a glorious testimony to the justice, integrity, and humanity of the prophet's rule. Happy the ruler, by whatever name he may be called, king, emperor, or president, about whom such testimony can be borne, and happy the people, if they only knew it, who are blest with such rulers. King and people had now entered on a new career under the most favourable auspices, and what they needed most was the spirit of continuity — "Continue following the Lord your God." That is a beautiful prayer, in which we desire that all our works may be "begun, continued, and ended" in God, that thus living, and walking, and working, we may glorify His holy name, and finally by His mercy obtain everlasting life. It is not enough — though it is something — to begin well. We must continue and advance, and "not be wearied in well-doing." Sometimes a year or a day is well begun, and people resolve to "amend their lives," and determine to turn over a new page in life's book. Like the Galatians, they "run well" for a while. Continuity, or perseverance in human affairs is one great secret of success. Let the motto of the German soldier be yours, inmer vorwarts (ever forward). The influence of birth, fortune, and patronage sinks into insignificance, compared with enthusiasm, diligence, and perseverance. Inducements to evil there will be in plenty. The devil, the father of evil, will ply all his arts to succeed in our overthrow. Let us always be ready and prepared for him. "For some days past," said an eminent servant of God, "I have been unusually harassed by temptations of various kinds, and am often led to inquire, 'Why am I thus?'" So it is still: the Christian soldier is not only drilled and equipped, he is also placed in the field, and his qualities tried. Man's duty is simply to do as God tells him, neither adding to nor diminishing the Divine rule. But, in our ignorance and blindness, and presumption, we are for superseding or improving God's plan. It is not the high enterprise He desires, so much as the quiet, continuance in well-doing. Many of us would rather choose to climb the mountain side than plod along, steadily and wearily, miles of level road. Many would be willing, no doubt, to serve Him if they only might do it in their own way. But the thing God requires most of us all is to have no will but His. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." This is but an expansion by the Saviour of the warning advice of Samuel.

(J. Reid.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:

WEB: If you will fear Yahweh, and serve him, and listen to his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of Yahweh, and both you and also the king who reigns over you are followers of Yahweh your God, [well]:

Samuel's Farewell Address
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