1 Samuel 12:1-25
1 Samuel 12:1-25
1 Samuel 12:1-5 Samuel closed and vindicated his ministry before the people. Samuel is about to step aside and turn the reigns of leadership over to King Saul. But first in stepping aside, he wanted to stress the necessity for Saul to be faithful. He begins by vindicating his own ministry, showing how he had lived a righteous life and executed justice among the people.
1) Had he ever stolen, cheated, or oppressed anyone? Had he ever stolen, cheated, or oppressed anyone?
2) Had he ever taken or condoned a bribe, favoring the rich and powerful? Had he ever taken a bribe, favoring the rich and powerful?
3) If he was guilty of any wrong, he would immediately make it right. If he was guilty of any wrong, he would immediately make it right. He heard the desired verdict: The people declared that Samuel was innocent of all evil; he had served faithfully he people declared that Samuel was innocent of all wrongdoing (1 Corinthians 4:2).
1 Samuel 12:6-11 – Samuel now vindicates the Lord reminding them of all the righteous acts the Lord had done for the Israelites down through history. This was a very critical time in the history of Israel. The people had demanded a king just “like all the nations.” This meant a totally new form of government. Would the people totally forget God and look to the new king as their savior, guide, and provider?
Or would they acknowledge that the new king ruled under the authority of God, and that he himself was dependent upon God just as much as the people, that he too must look to God as the Savior, Guide, and Protector of both the king and the people? Would the new king live a righteous life and use his power to serve the people and minister to the needs of God’s people, or would he use his power for selfish purposes, to amass wealth and to enjoy the pleasures of the world?
They needed to known that they were God’s servants. a. The LORD delivered Israel from Egypt, working through Moses and Aaron Samuel reminded them of the Lord’s great deliverance from Egypt. d. The LORD delivered the Israelites through the repeated cycle of a compromising, inconsistent life Samuel also reminded the people of his deliverance from the repeated cycle inconsistency in their walk during the period of the Judges.
They had turned away from the Lord, living life as they wished continually disobeying the Lord and breaking His commandments. The results were God’s discipline 1 Samuel 12:9. The Lord had “sold” them, given them over to Sisera, the commander of a Canaanite army, and the Philistines and the king of Moab.
3) They cried out to the LORD for deliverance, confessing their sin. But eventually our fathers cried out to the Lord for deliverance, confessing their sins (11 Samuel 12:10). They had forsaken the Lord and turned to false worship, serving the Baals and the Ashtoreths.
But the chastisement of God’s judgment had snapped them out of their insanity of sin and brought them to their senses. And they cried out to the Lord for deliverance from their enemies, promising that they would serve God with a renewed heart.
4) The LORD delivered them by raising up the judges Samuel reminded the people that the Lord then delivered them by raising up the judges (1 Samuel 12:11). He mentioned three judges in particular: Gideon (Judges 6:11f), Barak, (Judges 4:6-7), and Jephthah (Judges 11:1ff).
3. Samuel pointed out the terrible sin of Israel and issued a strong warning: Rejecting the LORD leads to terrifying judgments (1 Samuel 12:12-19).
1 Samuel 12:12-19 – Samuel pointed out if the people continued to reject God, they would face His judgment. By demanding a king, the people had rejected God (1 Samuel 12:12). They had failed to remember the work of God’s salvation in their lives and of their fathers.
Demanding a king was not wrong in and of itself what was wrong was the kind of king they had requested: a king “like all the nations.” They should have asked for a king “after God’s own heart.” Instead they were looking for an earthly king who would be their savior, guide, provider, and protector.
Their trust in an earthly king exposed their hearts. They had lost confidence in God, forgotten His work of salvation throughout their history. Samuel says it was the threat of the Ammonites in the east that had motivated the people to demand an earthly king (1 Samuel 12:16). Samuel issues a strong warning: God blesses and God curses (1 Samuel 12:14-15).
If the people feared the Lord, served and obeyed Him, the Lord would bless them. The king too must look to the Lord as the Supreme Authority, he too must be a servant of God who ministers and executes justice among God’s people.
2) God curses-chastises, judges-the disobedient: His hand of judgment is aroused against a person.
God not only blesses the obedient, He also curses—chastises and judges—the disobedient (1 Samuel 12:15). God’s hand of judgment would fall on them just as it had fallen on their fathers. Then c. The call to stand still and witness a dramatic sign of God’s power to execute judgment:
Samuel cried out for the people to witness the power of God to execute judgment (1 Samuel 12:16-19).
The sign was a thunderstorm in the midst of the dry, hot harvest season. The purpose was to call the people to confess their rejection of God. This storm most likely destroyed some of the crops, and served as a symbol of God’s power to execute His judgment on the people.
Their response was that they confessed that they had added to all their other sins the evil of asking for a king. Samuel had led the people to the point of confession, the exact place they needed to be. Their hearts had been moved to confess their sin, their rejection of God.
4. Samuel called for Israel to repent: A need for repentance (1 Samuel 12:20-25)
12:20-25 Samuel called Israel to repent. Keep in mind the people had just confessed their sins, including their sin of rejecting God when they requested an earthly king. It was now time for Samuel to point the people to the Lord. His message was simple and very straightforward. a. The condition Samuel laid down the conditions for repentance (1 Samuel 12:20-21).
Must not forsake the LORD again:
1) You must not turn away from the Lord, never forsake Him ever again.
2) Must serve the Lord. You must serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
3) Must not turn to idols and false worship.
You must not turn to idols and false worship. They are empty, useless and cannot help or rescue you. b. The assurance of God’s acceptance given to the people Samuel assured them of God’s acceptance because God accepts any person who repents and turns to Him. Samuel gave two reasons why God would never reject His people:
1) He honors His great name. Because He always honors His name and,
2) He chose His people. Because the Lord had chosen the Israel to be His people.
Then Samuel assured the people of his own prayers and continued ministry of teaching. As long as he lived, he would continue to teach and pray for the people (1 Samuel 12:23). Samuel gave a final challenge and warning (1 Samuel 12:24-25). He challenged them to fear the Lord and to serve Him faithfully, wholeheartedly and to remember the great things the Lord had done for them down through the years of history.
2) The warning: If you continue in sin, God will judge-destroy. Finally, in one brief sentence, Samuel closed his message with a warning that summarized all the judgments of the law and that foresaw the future of the new order of government being instituted in Israel, the monarchy. The warning proclaimed by Samuel has proven true not only with every form of government instituted by Israel but also with every nation on the face of the earth.
The warning was brief and straightforward: if you continue in sin, both you and your king (leader) will be swept away (judged, destroyed). Ultimately the judgment of God’s hand would fall on Israel, and they would be led into captivity and exile from the promised land.