Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 12-13
1 Samuel 12 – A Resignation, and a Parting Challenge
The LORD had comforted Samuel, and assured him the people’s demand for a king was not a refusal of him as their judge, but was in fact, a rejection of the LORD Himself as Israel’s King (8:6-7). 1 Samuel 11 had concluded with the people gathering before Samuel in Gilgal, where it was affirmed that Saul would be king, followed by sacrifices to the LORD (11:14-15).
1 Samuel 12 continues that same assembly at Gilgal, and records the formal changing of the guard in Israel. Samuel affirmed he had conformed to the will of the people, given them a king (12:1), and would resign his governance as the judge of the people.
We have thus far followed Samuel from his childhood (1 Samuel 1-3), and in his own words, he was “old and grayheaded” (12:2). Samuel expressed a strong testimony of what should be the desire of all believers; that our lives would be a testimony of faithfulness to the LORD, and spiritual integrity before the people (12:2-3). He called on the nation to give witness to his life, and ministry before them, and declared he had not misused his office, nor prejudiced in his judgments. Indeed, he challenged the people, tell me wherein I have failed you, and “I will restore it you” (12:3)
With one voice, the people affirmed Samuel’s words, and confessed, “Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand” (12:4). With the people looking on, Samuel called on the LORD to be a witness to the words of the people, and “they answered, He is witness” (12:5).
Samuel then magnified the LORD, and rehearsed His faithfulness from Egypt, through the wilderness, and in conquering the land (12:6-8). He reminded them that it was their sins, and disobedience that had given cause for the LORD to raise up adversaries whom He used to turn their hearts to Him (12:9). When they cried to the LORD, and confessed their sins, He sent judges to deliver them (12:10-11). Yet, for all that, the people had rejected the LORD, and demanded a king (12:12).
The old prophet declared, “behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the Lord hath set a king over you” (12:13). Nevertheless, a king would not deliver them from their enemies, nor preserve them as a nation. Only if they feared, served, and obeyed the LORD, would they be assured of His blessings (12:14). He also gave a clear warning, that should they “rebel…then…the hand of the Lord [would] be against [them], as it was against [their] fathers” (12:15).
Samuel called on the LORD to reveal Himself, and He sent unseasonable rain and thunder (for the wheat harvest came during the dry season), and reminded the nation how they had rebelled and demanded a king (12:16-18). Fearing the LORD, and Samuel, the people confessed they had committed a great wickedness in demanding a king (12:19).
The prophet admonished the nation with these words: “fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart…[but] if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king”(12:24-25).
Conclusion of part 1…
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith