I. Samuel’s Challenge To The People
A. Samuel Defends His Ministry To Them Vs. 1-5
1. Vs. 1, 2 Samuel had grown up in the tabernacle area with Eli as his guardian.
a. His entire life had been lived in service to God.
b. He knew that he was getting close to the end of his life, and that the nation needed to transition from following Samuel to following Saul.
c. Samuel never officially “steps down”, but he does step back, and allows Saul the freedom to lead the people.
d. He was like John the Baptist- He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
e. “my sons are with you”– He had taken them out of public ministry because of their ungodliness. He would not be blamed for playing favorites.
f. He was a faithful leader who did the right thing.
2. Vs. 3-5 What a tremendous testimony.
a. The Israelites unanimously agreed that Samuel had never taken anything from them or oppressed them in any way. He had not used the ministry to enrich himself.
b. They said this in the presence of God, with God as a “witness”.
c. NOTE– Unfortunately, there are some who use the ministry to enrich themselves.
3. Samuel is about to rebuke the people.
a. He is going to warn them and charge them to follow the Lord.
b. His words carry weight because of his integrity.
c. He had lived in godliness before the people and was without blame.
B. God’s Faithfulness & Israel’s Sinfulness Vs. 6-12
1. Vs. 6, 7 Samuel is going to draw a contrast between what the Lord had done for the people and the decisions that they had made for themselves.
a. He wants to make it clear that choosing a king was not God’s idea or Samuel’s idea.
b. The people were going to have to live with their choice.
c. V. 7 reason- to execute judgment, to govern, to discriminate so as to make a decision
d. Everything he is about to say about the Lord needs to be considered as a righteous act of the Lord. Both deliverance to their enemies, and from their enemies.
e. God’s discipline is just as righteous as His deliverance.
2. V. 8 Samuel reminds the people that when their ancestors were in trouble, they cried out to the Lord, and the Lord sent his chosen leaders to bring deliverance.
3. V. 9 The Israelites had a habit of forgetting the Lord and having to go through God’s discipline time and time again.
4. V. 10 They confessed their wrongdoing when they were deep in the consequences of it.
They were anxious for God’s deliverance.
5. V. 11 God was merciful and gracious to send deliverers.
a. When the people cried out to God, He arranged for the best possible deliverance, and in the manner that was best for the people and that brought Him glory.
b. When Nahash came against them, they determined that they best knew how and from where their deliverance should come. They rejected God as their King.
6. V. 12 In asking for a King, they were rejecting what God had established. He was King.
II. Moving Forward
A. Blessings And Warnings Vs. 13-15
1. V. 13 The Lord gave them their desires. They insisted on having a king “like the other nations”, and God (reluctantly) granted their request. This was definitely PLAN B.
2. V. 14 You have blown it, but if you follow the Lord, He will bless you.
a. The blessings would be a continuance of following God. Always the best choice.
b. Guzik– We need to know that one wrong turn doesn’t wreck our lives before God! Instead of agonizing over the past, get right with God today.
3. V. 15 Samuel exhorted them and warned them to obey the Lord.
a. If they disobeyed, God’s hand of discipline would be against them.
b. as it was against your fathers- God’s principles are true for all of His children.
c. Sometimes people think that they are the exception to God’s principles.
B. Samuel Convinces Them Of Their Sin Vs. 16-18
1. Instead of trusting God to bring deliverers when needed, they asked for a King.
2. Samuel declares to them that this was a great wickedness
3. “…that you may perceive…”– to discern, distinguish, recognize, find out
4. “…and see…” to cause to look at intently, to have vision
5. The unseasonable storm would prove Samuel’s rebuke was valid.
6. God would miraculously validate Samuel’s words.
7. God wanted the people to understand the greatness of their sin. We need that too.
8. Hebrews 3:13 “…exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin”.
a. Calloused fingers have less sensitivity than soft fingers. Same with calloused hearts.
C. Godly Sorrow, Encouragement, Another Warning Vs. 19-25
1. V. 19 The people realized that they had added sin upon sin. In asking for a king, they presumed that they knew more than God. They presumed that their understanding and wisdom was higher than God. The fullness of the realization of sin had come.
a. Guzik Satan loves it when we live in the past or in the future, when we do anything but serve the LORD with all we have right now. Satan loves it when we live in the past or in the future, when we do anything but serve the LORD with all we have right now.
2. Vs. 20-22 We often do not realize how deeply we have sinned until we are very deep into our sin and into the consequences of our sins.
a. Though they had gotten themselves into trouble, the best thing they could do would be to move forward, and once again have a heart for the Lord.
b. They would have to live with their consequences, but this wasn’t the end for them.
c. When we have sinned, that is not the time to panic. Sometimes when we realize that the depths of our sins, we get fearful, and try to fix the situation in our own power.
d. We need to remember that the Lord will not forsake His people.
e. 2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
3. V. 23 It would been easy for Samuel to be angry at people like this. It would be easy to allow them to suffer the consequences of their sins and not pray for them.
a. He says that he will pray for them. To not pray for them would be a sin.
b. Samuel could have justified not praying for them. They deserved the fallout.
c. They never listened anyway. They will never change. It wasn’t his problem.
d. NOTE– Samuel says, “in ceasing to pray”, which means he was already praying for them. He wasn’t going to start praying. He was already praying and would continue.
e. He says that he will teach them the good and the right way.
4. How wonderful it is for us to have Samuels in our lives or are Samuel’s to others.
5. V. 24 Samuel exhorts them to serve the Lord in light of what God had done for them.
6. V. 25 Instead of taking vengeance upon them, or ignoring them, Samuel leaves the possibility of future discipline in the hands of the Lord. Bu they needed to heed this warning
7. Clark– “Never was a people more fully warned, and never did a people profit less by the warning.”