WORD STUDY – A SIN TO THE LORD
1 Samuel 12:23: “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:”
“He who loves God does not demand that God love him.” Baruch Spinoza
Ok, we all know that God loves us, it has been pounded into us from earliest childhood. But like children who just take their parents love for granted, they will one day in their adulthood suddenly realize just how awesome parental love is. They will think of the many times they rebelled against their parents, taken advantage of them and even selfishly used their love for their own gain. How many children said to their parents: “If you really loved me you would…” How many have even said this to their spouses? Somehow in our culture it is all about us being loved.
How many times have I heard someone say they left their mate because they did not feel loved and they deserve to be loved and they wanted to find someone who would love them. Baruch Spinoza was a philosopher in the seventh century who lived and studied among Jews although he himself was not Jewish. His teachings were picked up by the Catholic Church although as he developed his philosophies he was not welcomed among the Jews nor the Catholics. Yet you can find in his philosophy a very Jewish flavor. Never is that Jewish flavor so evident than in his quote: “He who loves God does not demand that God love him.” After my many years of studying the works of Jewish rabbis and sages I believe this quote is at the heart of Judaism, to learn to love God with no expectation of any reward or anything in return. That is hard for us in our culture to understand. I mean we expect some sort of reward for our efforts, even if it is volunteer work to make us feel good about ourselves and useful.
During my time of silence, by the third day I was having a problem distinguishing between the natural and supernatural. It was during this time that God showed me things about my life, my writings, my attitudes and motivations. He also spoke to me about my lack of intercessory prayer. I didn’t think about it much at the time but now that I have returned from the mountain top, so to speak, it is becoming clear that things that seemed so natural were not very natural. I believe he allowed me to get a glimpse of the future of this country, almost like I stepped into a celestial time machine and witnessed unbelievable events, things I just cannot share with anyone at this time. He showed it to me to really make the point that I must, I mean I must spend more time in intercessory prayer. He then hit me with Scripture I knew and really did not know. One verse He brought to me is one that I know I must have read it a million times in my life as I have read through the books of Samuel countless times yet I never saw I Samuel 12:23. In this verse Samuel said that if he neglected or ceased to pray for Israel he would be committing a sin against God.
The word pray used in this passage in the Hebrew is palal which means to make a petition but it is in a Hithpael form which means to intercede. Even now God has called me to intercede for many for what is about to take place. He is raising up intercessors throughout this country who are even now beginning to pray for events of the future and for believers caught up in these events.
If I do not pray, if we do not pray, that is intercede on behalf of the church in America, it will be us who will be held accountable and we will need to stand before God to answer, in fact we will have sinned against God. The word sin in this verse is chatah which we all know is an archer’s term for missing the target. But it is also means to forfeit. I realize now that every opportunity I have to pray an intercessory prayer and I don’t do it I am forfeiting an opportunity given by God Himself. This is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many people. I have been praying that God would give me a platform to share His love and to make a difference in the lives of people who will hear this message of His love. I learned in my time of silence that there is an even greater opportunity to make a difference in the lives of believers, particularly in the coming years and that is something I do not need a platform for but an altar.
Samuel was very disappointed with the people of Israel in their demand for a king. He wanted his sons to carry on as judges and prophets like he, but they did not have a heart for God like Samuel. So the people demanded a king and Samuel took it as a personal affront even though God told him it was He, God that the people rejected not Samuel. But Samuel was still hurt and it was very hard for him to pray a prayer of intercession for his people, but he knew that if he didn’t, he would be sinning against God. The word against could be a proper rendering but the preposition is really just a Lamed with a definite article and is literally a sin to the Lord. This is not like a sin of stealing or adultery where you are sinning against some other person. This sin is a sin directly to God, a personal sin to God.
If you have the slightest inclination to pray for someone, you had better do it for it is likely that it is the Holy Spirit putting that person on your heart. Maybe it is someone who has hurt you or someone who may wish you harm, but God loves them and cannot do anything for them because of free will. He can only invade that will through you, by answer your prayer for them.
God needs us to pray, now more than ever.