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1 Samuel 8-12


A Devotional Journey
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                               
Thru the Bible in a Year
       Now comes the request for and insistence on a king. Samuel urges the people to reconsider and  takes their refusal as a personal affront (in 8:7, God’s response makes no sense unless this is the case)
       To this point it has been clear that God Himself was the leader – no human being could assume a leadership role without God’s call. Part of the danger in a monarchy is that succession (at least in theory) is hereditary. It is not a matter of God’s calling but rather one of human birth. This could lead to unfaithful leadership on the king’s part, as Samuel is quick to point out (and as history will later show to be the case), but the people are determined to be like everyone else around them and so they insist.
       Samuel is led by God to anoint Saul, a man without equal  as the future king even though Saul’s opinion of himself lacks any sense of greatness (9:21). Samuel’s promis is similar to that of Christ to His disciples at His ascension:  The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you ... and the power to carry out God’s will and rule will result. In Jesus’ case, the power of the Spirit produces witnesses to God (Acts 1:8). Here, the result will be much the same:  Saul will become the living symbol of God’s greatness – as long as Saul does not forget his place!   But of course he will, and that will be a significant part of the rest of the story.
       Almost immediately, Saul goes into battle against the enemies of his people (the Ammonites), and his decisive victory is a sign to everyone that the LORD is with him and that they should accept his position and follow him.
       Samuel’s farewell speech is given in chapter twelve, a little more than a third of the way through the first half of the story. His final words of warning are a prophesy which will be fulfilled:  ... if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away. In fact there will be very few kings about whom it can be said, They were righteous and faithful to God.
       Do you ever insist on something that turns out to be not really good for you?  Understand in this narrative that God is not pushing the idea of a king, in fact, He tells the people in advance that it will not be good for them.  Still, in response to their insistence, He grants their wish and off they go.
       Whenever we receive or achieve what God does not want, we pay a price. Ask God today to reveal to you if there is anything in your life which He really does not want. Then decide how you can eliminate it.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011