1 Samuel 11
Saul is given a small challenge so that God could begin to establish his name as king over Israel.
Spiritually those who would be godly have always faced problems to build up the character of godly leaders.
An Ammonite takes a city of Israel and the people not yet trusting Saul agree to serve him in tribute, but a very heavy tribute is laid upon them forcing them to appeal to Saul.
1 Samuel 11:1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. 11:2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel.
The elders sought help from Saul before accepting such terrible terms. This is clearly allowed by God to establish Saul as king, since the demands were totally irrational.
11:3 And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days’ respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee.
The messengers arrived in Gibeah and Saul arriving from work in the fields hears their story.
11:4 Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voices, and wept. 11:5 And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh.
Saul became furious at this terrible outrage being planned against the people and God’s Spirit fell upon him to inspire him as to what to do.
11:6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.
Saul then summoned the men of war and threatened them with the pieces of oxen to arouse them to action.
11:7 And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.
Then 330,000 men gathered to Saul to help against this evil.
11:8 And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
Then messengers were sent to the threatened city that help was on the way.
11:9 And they said unto the messengers that came, Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jabeshgilead, To morrow, by that time the sun be hot, ye shall have help. And the messengers came and shewed it to the men of Jabesh; and they were glad.
The people of Jabesh then told the Ammonites that they would come out to them the next day; and eased them into thinking that there was no danger of battle.
11:10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, To morrow we will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that seemeth good unto you.
In the cool of the early morning Saul sets upon the Ammonites in three companies of men; totally destroying them and saving Jabesh from a cruel fate.
11:11 And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.
The people then rejoiced in Saul and he was established as king; the people even wanting to kill all who opposed Saul as king.
11:12 And the people said unto Samuel, Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death.
Saul starts off well, issuing a general amnesty and giving the glory to the Eternal.
11:13 And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel.
Then Saul who was ordained by God and anointed by Samuel was made king by all the people.
11:14 Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there. 11:15 And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
In the beginning Saul did not exalt himself but remained working in his father’s fields, until God opened up the way for him to be established as king over Israel; and then Saul forgave his foes in Israel and gave God the glory.
Saul started off well, but he would later be choked from the way of God by his fear of the people, and his desire for the adulation of the people.
Many have done this exact same thing; being filled with zeal for God in the beginning; and later turning aside, no longer rebuking sin and leaving off any zeal to live by every Word of God; watering down the outreach into a business model instead of the early messages of solid doctrine and warning.
1 Samuel 12
Samuel reasons with the people
1 Samuel 12:1 And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. 12:2 And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day.
Samuel asks the people why they have rejected him and demanded a king.
12:3 Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.
12:4 And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand. 12:5 And he said unto them, The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.
Samuel then rehearses that it is the Eternal who delivers his people; and that we are to follow ONLY those men who are faithful servants of the Eternal God.
12:6 And Samuel said unto the people, It is the LORD that advanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt.
12:7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers.
12:8 When Jacob was come into Egypt, and your fathers cried unto the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, which brought forth your fathers out of Egypt, and made them dwell in this place. 12:9 And when they forgat the LORD their God, he sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them.
12:10 And they cried unto the LORD, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.
12:11 And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe.
Then they said nay to Samuel and demanded a king; choosing to follow a man instead of following the Eternal God.
Most in today’s spiritual Ekklesia also want men to come between us and God, to follow and obey men instead of looking directly to God. The desire of most in today’s spiritual Ekklesia is to shirk personal responsibility for our actions: not understanding that following men contrary to God is idolatry and brings destruction upon us.
12:12 And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king.
They desired a king and the Eternal gave them the kind of king that they wanted, a man who was physically impressive. This happened to teach us that the important thing is the godliness of a man, not his physical characteristics.
12:13 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you.
Most in today’s spiritual Ekklesia want to have corporate organizations and men to rule over them, instead of living by every Word of God; just like physical Israel wanted a king.
God warned physical Israel that if they remained faithful to his Word, he would remain faithful to them, but if they turned away from a wholehearted zeal to live by every Word of God to follow apostate rulers, he would turn against them.
The very same warning holds true for today’s called out spiritual Israel! Each individual must be absolutely zealously wholeheartedly faithful to the Eternal and every Word of God; no matter what any other human being says.
When a person stands before God and answers for his sins by saying that he was faithful to the king or to a certain leader or elder; what do you think God will answer? Will God not ask why we followed a man and were not faithful to HIM?
Now hear the Word of the Eternal Almighty God of Jacob:
12:14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:
Brethren, we are to test every word of men, and compare them with the Word of God; and we must keep only what is absolutely consistent with the whole Word of God.
If we follow men contrary to the Word of God, regardless of whatever title such men claim: Almighty God will surely be against us!
12:15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.
Samuel then gives a sign that out of season in the summer, God would demonstrate his power by thunder and rain.
12:16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes. 12:17 Is it not wheat harvest [summer] to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.
I expect that this was no ordinary thunder storm but one of great and awesome intensity; and great thunder is accompanied by great lightening.
12:18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
Then the people asked for forgiveness for seeking a king to come between them and God and resolved to obey God first and the man second.
We of the spiritually called out, need to repent of this very same thing; we need to repent of following men and exalting those men as equal to or above Almighty God in our lives.
12:19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.
Samuel then adjures the people to follow God above all else and to respect authorities as they are faithful to godliness.
Never follow any leader, king or elder, away from a zealous keeping of the whole Word of God! This is idolatry and it is the mark of the beast!
Nevertheless, always follow a leader, king or elder and all authorities over you; when they are not in conflict with the Word of God!
12:20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 12:21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.
Do not forsake the Word of God for the words of men; for God has called us to godliness.
12:22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.
12:23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
Those who lack uncompromising zeal for learning and living by every Word of God will be destroyed.
12:25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.