Monday, May 23, 2016

Bible Study Notes in 1 Samuel- Chapter 12

1 Samuel 12

-Samuel makes a magnanimous address before all of Israel now as this chapter depicts the solemnity of the situation as the nation transitions to a kingdom. Samuel, under God’s Voice, had listened to their call for a king, and that king had been appointed as Saul the Benjamite. Samuel acknowledged he was old and gray, about to pass on into eternity, and another must definitely take his place in leadership. He wanted confirmation from the people that he had acted nobly as their judge and sovereign. He had not stolen a single ox or donkey. He had defrauded no one. He had oppressed not one single person. He was honest and took no bribes in his tenure. He did not ever pervert justice. The people whole-heartedly agreed with his declaration. They knew he was indeed a man of God, faithful and true. God was witness of this and all agreed (1 Samuel 12:1-5).

-A brief recount of the national history and God’s graciousness to His people was given by the sage prophet. Then he exhorted them to now take their “stand” so as not to forget the great and mighty acts of the LORD their God as they entered this new phase of their existence. He pleaded with them not to turn aside, but to remain faithful as God’s chosen ones (1 Samuel 12:6-11).

-The new king is then confirmed in the remaining verses of this chapter’s text. His victory that the LORD gave him with Nahash is recounted. An admonition to fear the LORD is clearly stated so that they will listen to His Voice and not rebel against His commands. Following the ways of the LORD was fundamental for their success. If the opposite occurred, Samuel warned them vividly that the Hand of the LORD would indeed be against them for calamity as it was against their fathers. The prophet reiterates over again to take their “stand” so that they could see this great thing that God would do before their eyes if they would simply obey. Then he called out for a sign. The harvest was that day, and Samuel prophesied that the LORD would send thunder and rain as a sign that their wickedness was great before God in asking for an earthly king. The thunder and rain came as he prophesied, and all the people greatly feared both the LORD and His prophet, Samuel. They asked for prayers of intercession on account of this great and awesome sign. They feared the LORD would kill them, as He had previously done at times when disobedience was disciplined. They acknowledged that they had added to their sins by asking for a king at this point. Samuel told them not to fear. Even though this was an evil, they could still follow the LORD in their transition to a kingdom. The choice would be theirs. If they served the LORD with all their “heart” all would be good. However, they would reap the consequences if they turned aside from the ways of the LORD to go after futile things, which could not “profit or deliver” them. Then there was this promise, “For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His Great Name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” Moreover, Samuel promised that it would be his duty before God to intercede for them and instruct them in the good and right way. If he shrunk back from that, it would be a sin against his call from the Almighty. He reminded them again at this point to “fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” Then a final warning, “But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away (1 Samuel 12:12-25).”

-*Application* Acknowledgement in fear of the Almighty is our first step towards redemption. Incredible principles for the Christian life our given here in this chapter for us to chew on. We definitely need to take our stand in this generation. We need to give God our whole heart. We need to follow His ways allowing Him to direct our paths. We should never shrink back from our call in whatever capacity the LORD has called us to. Intercede, instruct, challenge, exhort, have impeccable character, these are all qualities we should aspire to in our lives. Meditate on these things today.

Verses to Memorize: 1 Samuel 12:14-16, 22, 24

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