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What Have We Done?

When something has to change in your life, turn to your unchanging God and serve the Lord with all your heart.


After the Chicago Cubs lost their 96th baseball game in 2006, manager Dusty Baker, was called in to meet with the general manager. We all knew what that meant: he was a goner. You know what else we all knew? The manager wasn't the main problem. The Cubs were making a big change that wouldn't change anything. I guess we shouldn't be too critical. We all do that kind of thing. When things are not working in our lives, our families, or our churches, we decide that we need to make some big change—quit, fire someone, leave our spouse, buy something, sue somebody. But we may very well be making a big change that won't change anything at all.

That's what happened over 3000 years ago in Israel. The pressure of enemies on their borders provoked Israel's elders to come to their leader, Samuel, and demand a king. Things just couldn't keep going the way they were. They needed a change. Well, God gave them their king—Saul—as well as a stunning victory over their brutal enemy, Nahash, king of the Ammonites. At the end of 1 Samuel 11, Israel is celebrating.

There is a bittersweet moment, however, at the beginning of 1 Samuel 12. With the confirmation of the new king, it is time for Samuel to step aside. But before he goes, he has something to say. Samuel begins his retirement speech by confirming his integrity. Then it is almost as if Samuel has said, "So you're absolutely sure I'm a fair judge?" "Absolutely," they reply. "Okay, then," says Samuel, "Hear ye! Hear ye! Court is now in session. The accused will all rise." And he points at the people. Twice in the speech that follows, Samuel will tell the people to stand. These are courtroom words in Hebrew. In this ancient statement, God speaks to all of his people—including ...

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Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He writes a weekly devotional for preachers on Preaching Today.

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Sermon Outline:


We have a propensity for making big changes that don't change anything at all.

I. Remember your salvation story.

II. Turn to God in your trouble.

III. Banish fear by trusting in God.


Change might be necessary in your life, but you need to know the way of change that is "good and right."