April 12 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.” ~1 Samuel 12:22

God chooses a king to lead the people, and He sends His Spirit upon the man to empower him as the new ruler. It is the dawn of a new era. The people of God have been led by priests and defended by judges, but now the government of the people of God transitions from a theocracy (rule by God via priests under the law given by Moses) to a monarchy. Even though this is tantamount to a rejection of God, Samuel does his best to reconcile the two political systems. He anoints Saul as king and urges him and the Israelites to fear and follow the Lord. At the same time, God does what He can to accommodate His people, even though they are stubbornly determined to do things their own way.

Many people misrepresent “the God of the Old Testament” as a tyrant. But a careful reading of the narrative helps us understand just how patient He really is. Yes, God often became angry, but look what He had to deal with on a daily basis. The people He loved so much were just plain stubborn! He was constantly forgiving their sins, rescuing them from enemies, and accommodating their unorthodox wishes. The Lord was truly compassionate; not only because of His love but also “for the sake of his great name” (1 Sam. 12:22). God was kind to His people, even when rejecting them seemed the more obvious choice, because He was true to Himself! He was true to His own glory. To reject His people would bring harm to His name.

And here is a great truth: one of the most powerful ways to appeal to God for forgiveness, patience, and blessing is to appeal to Him on the basis of His great name. Lord, forgive me for the sake of YOUR name. Or Lord, be patient with me for the sake of YOUR name. Or Lord, bless me for the sake of Your name. God’s undying devotion to His people and His unending devotion to His own name are bound up together. May the Lord forgive you, be patient with you, and bless you for His glory, and your good.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.