As Samuel neared the end of his life, he delivered a speech to his people (1 Sam. 12). He exhorted them to remember God’s faithfulness in delivering them from their enemies. Yet, the Israelites were prone to forget the Lord. Sound familiar? Living a life of praise and thanksgiving helps us to remember God. As we acknowledge his faithful involvement in our lives in the past, we are more likely to recognize His activity in the present and to trust that He will work out His plans in the future.
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Steve Farrar, in his book “Finishing Strong,” bemoans the fact that many Christian leaders start well, but do not finish in the same way. Samuel rose to prominence as a leader in Israel at a very young age. Near the end of his life, he asked the people if he had done anything wrong during his years as their leader (1 Sam. 12:1-5). They acknowledged that he had led with integrity from start to finish. Wow! What a testimony! I strongly desire to run each lap of the race well.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).
When I think of a biblical example of righteous anger, I typically think of Jesus clearing the temple of those who had turned a house of prayer into a place of business (Mark 11:15-17). Another example of righteous anger is recorded in 1 Samuel 11:6. When King Saul heard about an Ammonite siege on an Israelite town (see the “Getting Peoples’ Attention” blog), “the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger.” Notice how Saul became angry over the plight of his people after the Spirit came upon him. This kind of righteous anger can often stir us and others to courageously address an unjust situation. In Saul’s case, it led to the mustering of 330,000 soldiers and the defeat of the Ammonite invaders. What is a situation or cause that deserves our righteous anger today?