March 24, 2022

In Awe of the Lord

1 Samuel 12:16-25

Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel.

—  1 Samuel 12:18

Samuel was Israel’s prophet at the end of the period of the judges (which lasted about 300 years after the time of Moses and Joshua—see Joshua 1). In our reading for today, Samuel gives a speech after confirming Saul as Israel’s king.

Samuel walked closely with God and was a faithful leader. But the people had often turned to worship the false gods of the nations around them, and they now insisted on having a king like the other nations, even though the one true God was their King. In his speech Samuel reminded the people of their sins. He also asked the Lord to use a storm to prove his point. And the Lord sent a storm.

In that society many of the people were farmers. They were always watching the weather, especially at the time of harvest. If the crops became wet, mold would grow on them, and they could not be harvested and stored. So this rain was very disturbing for Samuel’s audience.

Yet God’s mercy is always available. The people now understood how great their sin was in asking for a king, and the Lord and Samuel now had their attention. But Samuel also reassured them that he would pray to God for them and continue teaching “the way that is good and right.”

Dear Lord, please forgive us when our hearts are drawn toward the things of this world rather than you. You are the only true God. Amen.

About the author — Jason Zuidema and David Rozeboom

Dr. Jason Zuidema is executive director of the North American Maritime Ministry Association ( and an elder in the Église réformée du Québec. David Rozeboom serves as chaplain at the Montreal Ministry to Seafarers of the Christian Reformed Church ( The authors thank Kevin Walker, NAMMA director of programs, for editorial assistance.

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