1 Samuel 12:23 leads me to the following applications:
1. It is possible to sin by not praying for some individual or group
2. Leaders are expected to pray for their followers
3. It is a leader’s responsibility to pray for his or her followers, even when the followers have messed up
4. Interesting, this verse says, “…far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” That’s not what I expected.
5. The sin of omission, not praying for the people, would have been against the Lord, not against the people of Israel.
6. In a sense, every sin is against the Lord and not other people.
7. The fact that sins are against the Lord, not people, does not give us license to treat others poorly. In fact, it raises the bar to an even higher standard!
8. When I sin, do I direct my energy toward repentance or toward guilt? Usually toward guilt. This is the wrong attitude.
9. When David sinned, he acknowledged that his sin was against the Lord (2 Samuel 12:13).
10. When King Saul sinned, he eventually acknowledged (in 1 Samuel 15:24) that he’d sinned. He doesn’t specifically acknowledge that his sin is “against the Lord.”
11. In this same verse, he explains that he was “afraid of the army.” When am I “afraid of the army” and use this as an excuse to sin?
12. This seems to teach that my fear of the Lord needs to be greater than my fear of the army. In other words, I need to focus on heaven for motivation and guidance, not earth.
13. Jesus sets “True North,” not humanity.
14. I follow the crowd rather than the Lord most of the time. This is a sin against the Lord!
15. The phrase “sin against the Lord” is redundant. Every sin is against the Lord!
16. #15 became even more clear after Jesus’ death on the cross.
17. Searching for the phrase “I have sinned against the Lord” at biblegateway.com yields these three results
18. Even Pharoah knew his sin was against the Lord and not against Moses and the Hebrews
19. Even Achan, in Joshua 7, stated clearly than his sin was against the Lord and not against society or his peers or the army of the Lord
20. Today, public apology and repentance seems to be the key to receiving public forgiveness. In Achan’s case, despite his admitting to his sin, he was still stoned to death. Why? Where is the forgiveness?
21. How will I live differently, now that I understand that every sin is a sin against the Lord? Will I sin less? Probably not. Will I repent instead of carrying guilt? That seems like the healthy response!
22. The next time I become aware of a sin in my life, I will immediately acknowledge that the sin is against you, Lord. I will repent and accept Jesus’ sacrifice in my place. I will thank you in my prayer of repentance for your grace.
23. Please teach me, Lord, how to communicate this truth clearly to people who don’t yet know you. Is this even possible, or does a person have to be a Christian to understand this concept?
I didn’t quite make it to 50 applications, but this have been a very useful process!