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The Second Reaction

The Second Reaction

By: Alistair Begg - April 29, 2023
Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

1 Samuel 8:6

How do you react when something displeases you?

It is understandable that when the people of Israel asked for a king, the prophet Samuel was displeased. After all, there was a personal slight in the request. Samuel had judged the people well, demonstrating leadership at its finest. He had preached repentance, and the people had repented. He had prayed for them, and the Philistine forces had been vanquished without any weapons being lifted in defense or to attack (1 Samuel 7:5-10). Finally, a stone of remembrance had been set up to signify God’s goodness to Israel for time immemorial (v 12-13). Samuel had done his best—and his best had been good.

But the years had passed since those victories. Samuel had grown old, and the leaders of Israel had decided it was time for a change. They were ready to push Samuel out and move on.

Samuel’s immediate and understandable reaction was to be unhappy and angry. But he didn’t dwell there. Instead, his second reaction was to pray. Samuel’s disapproval led him to talk to God about all that was happening and to seek His counsel and His intervention.

We see a similar first and second reaction in the book of Nehemiah. When Nehemiah heard the news that had come out of Jerusalem concerning the destruction and chaos that was taking place there, he sat down and wept. But then, for many days, he prayed to God and fasted (Nehemiah 1:1-4). His first reaction was to weep; his second reaction was to pray.

The actions of Samuel and Nehemiah set us a challenging example. When something displeases you and your first reaction to a situation is anger, sorrow, or disappointment, what’s your second reaction? Perhaps you tend to tell everybody how let down you have been, or you brood in self-pity or lash out. But here’s the challenge: while it is understandable to weep or to feel displeased, we are not to stay like that, and we are to make sure that our second reaction is to pray. Like Samuel, when something has caused you displeasure, let your second reaction be to talk to God about all that is happening, seeking His perspective and His help in the situations before you.

About the Author(s)
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Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. His Daily Devotionals are presented here via a syndication agreement.
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