I Samuel 12
Friday, 21st July 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
V1-2 ‘Now Samuel said to all Israel: “Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you. And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day.’ Samuel reminded Israelites the consequences of having a king, but they didn’t listen. They still wanted a king like the foreign countries. What we want might not be what is good for us. When we seek God for what we desire, do we seek God’s Will first? Samuel told the Israelites that they all knew who he was and what he had done for them. He was setting himself apart, and he didn’t want to trip over people because of his weakness.
V3-4 ‘Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.”
And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.”’ Samuel wanted the Israelites to realise that whatever he did was not for his own benefit. He did not gain anything out of his ministry, his life was completely honest before men and God, and the Israelites also confirm this. Then Samuel started his teaching for the people of Israel.
Samuel reminded the Israelites how God raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought their fathers up from the land of Egypt. But they forgot about God and sinned against God, then they fell into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. So the Israelites cried out to God and again God came to save them. God never changed but the people had changed.
V10-11 ‘Then they cried out to the Lord, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety.’ Samuel was speaking of the history from the third person perspective, which showed how selfish the people of Israel were, they rejected God, they had their own ideas of living, and they didn’t want to listen to God.
V14-15 ‘If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.’ God has give us everything we asked for, but no matter what we must not forgot about God. God doesn’t need us to serve Him or to listen to Him, but it’s for our own good, because when we walk away from God, we will be the ones who suffer. God wants us to wake up, to stay away from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, otherwise we will be completely isolated from God.
God doesn’t want us to be burdened and troubled, come before Jesus and we can be set free. But we continue to seek the things of this world and we are never satisfied. The things we want will pull us away from God, so we must not let others stop us seeking God and building an intimate relationship with God. We should always come back to God, do not let other God replace our God. When we see things more than God, then we are creating an idols for ourselves.
V16-17 ‘Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes: Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves.”’ Samuel was reminding the Israelites that what they asked for sinned against God. God didn’t want to condemn them but for them to repent. The Israelites knew Samuel was the authority God appointed for them. It’s never because how good Samuel was but because of God’s appointment.
V19 ‘And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.”’ The Israelites repented before God and before Samuel, they knew their sins separated them from God and they were afraid. So they asked Samuel to pray for them. Have we forgotten about our God? We only see the things of this world, we only see the enemies before us, and we no longer see God.
V23-25 ‘Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”’ Samuel knew his position, he still tried to teach the Israelites and pray for the Israelites. Do we know that God is still waiting for us to turn back to Him? He is merciful and gracious, do we treasure this? May God help us to completely return and live a life of the Tree of Life, to put God first, and His love and mercy will be with us always.