Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 12-13
1 Samuel 12
The LORD had comforted Samuel and assured him that the people’s demand for a king was not a refusal of him as their judge. It was, in fact, a rejection of the LORD Himself as Israel’s King (1 Samuel 8:6-7). 1 Samuel 11 concluded with the people gathering before Samuel in Gilgal, where it was affirmed that Saul would be king, followed by sacrifices to the LORD (1 Samuel 11:14-15).
Samuel Declared His Integrity (1 Samuel 12:1-5)
1 Samuel 12 continued that same assembly at Gilgal and recorded the formal changing of the guard in Israel. Samuel affirmed he had conformed to the people’s will, given them a king (1 Samuel 12:1), and then resigned his governance as the judge of the people.
We have followed Samuel’s life beginning with his birth and childhood (1 Samuel 1-3) to now when he described himself as “old and grayheaded” (1 Samuel 12:2). In his old age, Samuel expressed a desire that should be true of all believers–that our lives would be a testimony of faithfulness to the LORD, and spiritual integrity before His people (1 Samuel 12:2-3). He was empowered to call on the nation to give witness to his life and ministry before them. He declared he had not misused his office nor was prejudiced in his judgments. Indeed, he challenged the people, tell me wherein I have failed you, and “I will restore it [to] you” (1 Samuel 12:3)
Then, 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” (1 Samuel 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” (1 Samuel 12:5).
Samuel Declared the LORD’s Perpetual Faithfulness (1 Samuel 12:6-13)
Samuel then magnified the LORD and rehearsed God’s faithfulness from Egypt, through the wilderness, and in conquering Canaan (1 Samuel 12:6-8). He reminded the people that it was their sins and disobedience that gave cause for the LORD to raise adversaries whom He used to afflict and turn their hearts to Him (1 Samuel 12:9). He reminded the people how when they cried to the LORD and confessed their sins, He sent judges to deliver them (1 Samuel 12:10-11). Yet, for all that, the people had rejected the LORD and demanded a king (1 Samuel 12:12).
Samuel Reminded the People that Choices Have Consequences (1 Samuel 12:14-15)
The old prophet then declared, “Behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the Lord hath set a king over you” (1 Samuel 12:13). Samuel warned, 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 (1 Samuel 12:14). He gave a clear warning that should the nation “rebel…the hand of the Lord [would] be against [them], as it was against [their] fathers” (1 Samuel 12:15).
Samuel Called Upon the LORD to Reveal Himself (1 Samuel 12:16-19)
When Samuel called on the LORD to reveal Himself, 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 (1 Samuel 12:16-18). Fearing the LORD and Samuel, the people confessed they had committed great wickedness in demanding a king (1 Samuel 12:19).
Samuel Exhorted the Nation to be Faithful (1 Samuel 12:20-25)
Samuel then admonished the nation and said, “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” (1 Samuel 12:24-25).
Conclusion of part 1…
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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