1 July 1 Samuel 12:1-25

1 July. Samuel reminds the Israelites of God’s blessings

“Samuel said to all Israel, ‘I have done everything you wanted me to do and have put a king over you. Now you have a king to lead you. I am old and grey, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader since I was young. Here I am. If I have done anything wrong, you must testify against me before the LORD and his appointed king…’”

“The Israelites answered, ‘You have not cheated us, or hurt us or taken anything unfairly from anyone.’ Samuel said to them, ‘The LORD is a witness to what you have said. His appointed king is also a witness today that you did not find anything wrong in me.’ ‘He is our witness’, they said.”

“Then Samuel said to the people, ‘It is the LORD who chose Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors out of Egypt. Now, stand there, and I will remind you of all the good things the LORD did for you and your ancestors.’”

“’After Jacob entered Egypt, his descendants cried to the LORD for help. So the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who took your ancestors out of Egypt and brought them to live in this place.’”

“’But they forgot the LORD their God. So he handed them over as slaves to Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and as slaves to the Philistines and the king of Moab. They all fought against your ancestors.’”

“’Then your ancestors cried to the LORD and said, “We have sinned. We have left the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now save us from our enemies, and we will serve you.”’”

“’So the LORD sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel. He saved you from your enemies around you, and you lived in safety. But when you saw Nahash king of the Ammonites coming against you, you said, “No! We want a king to rule over us!” – even though the LORD your God was your king.’”

“’Now here is the king you chose, the one you asked for. The LORD has put him over you. You must honour the LORD and serve him. You must obey his word and not turn against his commands.’”

“’Both you and the king ruling over you must follow the LORD your God. If you do, it will be well with you. But if you don’t obey the LORD, and if you turn against his commands, he will be against you. He will do to you what he did to your ancestors.’”

“'Now stand still and see the great thing the LORD will do before your eyes. It is now the time of the wheat harvest. I will pray for the LORD to send thunder and rain. Then you will know what an evil thing you did against the LORD when you asked for a king.’”

“Then Samuel prayed to the LORD, and that same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. So the people were very afraid of the LORD and Samuel. They said to Samuel, ‘Pray to the LORD your God for us, your servants! Don’t let us die! We’ve added to all our sins the evil of asking for a king.’”

“Samuel answered, ‘Don’t be afraid. It’s true that you did wrong, but don’t turn away from the LORD… Remember the wonderful things he did for you! But if you are stubborn and do evil, he will sweep you and your king away.’”

           (1 Samuel 12:1-25)

 


 

In this ‘farewell speech’, Samuel reminded the Israelites how God had blessed them when they’d followed his commandments, but had allowed disaster to fall on them when they’d deserted him.

He recalled how God had commissioned Moses and Aaron to lead them out of slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 3:1-15 & 4:10-17). He reminded them how the LORD sent Gideon, Barak and Jephthah to conquer their enemies (see Judges 7:1-25, 4:1-16 & 11:1-33). Interestingly, he didn’t mention Joshua (who led the successful military campaign to establish the Israelites in the ‘promised land’ of Canaan) or Deborah (who was the ‘judge’ when Barak, her general, defeated Sisera) (see Judges 4:1-10).

But he also reminded them how, when they abandoned the LORD their God and turned to worshipping other idols, they became slaves again under the Philistines and the Moabites (see Judges 13:1 & 3:12), and were defeated by the king of Hazor (see Judges 4:1-3) and by the Ammonites (see Judges 10:6-10).

Samuel condemned the Israelites for forcing him to appoint a king, instead of relying on God their king; and he warned them not to desert the LORD again: “But if you are stubborn and do evil, he will sweep you and your king away.” (1 Samuel 12:25).

Unfortunately, like so many times in the past (and up to the present day), we’ll see that the Israelites soon abandoned God’s ways, and disaster loomed once again.

The photo (by Jean Housen) shows the view from the Ammonite Citadel in modern-day Amman (the capital of Jordan).

You can read more about the appointment of Saul as King of Israel @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/sauls-journey-to-kingship/


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