The people demand a king and ignore the true King (I Sam. 8:5). God directed Samuel to anoint Saul (9:27 — 10:1)! King Saul is challenged and defeats the Ammonites (11:1-11).
Verses for Today:
And it came to pass, when Samuel was old . . . he made his sons judges over Israel. . . . And his sons . . . took bribes, and perverted judgmen. Then, all the elders of Israel . . . came to Samuel . . . And said . . . thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel. . . . And the Lord said unto Samuel . . . they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them (I Sam. 8:1-7).
During the four-hundred-fifty-year (Acts 13:20) history of the judges, Samuel accomplished more as a spiritual leader than any other judge. Samuel anointed Saul king in Ramah as the Lord had directed him. After a brief time, Samuel called the people together unto the Lord to Mizpeh; And said . . . ye have . . . rejected your God, who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations (10:17-19). He then presented Saul to them as the man whom the Lord hath chosen. . . . And all the people shouted . . . God save (long live) the king (10:24). Saul's external appearance pleased the people, but he was a symbol of the spiritual weakness of the nation.
The first test of King Saul came when he was told that Nahash the Ammonite king had put his army in position to attack (11:1). The Ammonites had not attacked the Israelites since Jephthah, a hero of faith (Heb. 11:32), had defeated them about half a century before (Judg. 11). Saul called together men from all the tribes to be his soldiers. Saul led the Israelites in a spectacular victory. As he finished his first battle, he gave credit to the Lord as he shouted: To day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel (I Sam. 11:13).
Saul had a good beginning and never worshipped idols. But pride and self-will soon became his way of life that resulted in a succession of failures. This illustrates the deception and temptation that often follows success. Pride inevitably leads to a self-centered life and Christ is Lord in Name only (Matt. 16:24-27). When we assume that we have the ability to make decisions as to what is best for our lives and no longer need to read His Word for guidance, we should remember that Jesus said: I am the Vine, ye are the branches . . . without Me ye can do nothing (that has eternal value) (John 15:5).
Thought for Today:
He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same brigeth forth much fruit (John 15:5).
Through Samuel who faithfully served Israel as judge, prophet and priest. Jesus was the Prophet promised through Moses (Deut. 18:15); He is our Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14); and one day He will judge all mankind: For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son (John 5:22).
8:3 lucre =money gained dishonestly; 8:9 protest solemnly =object seriously; 8:12 ear =low; 9:2 goodly =handsome; 9:7 spent =used up; 9:16 captain =leader since God was the true King; 9:26 spring of the day =dawn, the first coming of light; 10:1 vial = container; 11:1 encamped against =put his forces in position to attack.
Pray for Staff: Dan Murton • Country: Cyprus (754,000) in the Middle East • Major languages: Greek and Turkish • No open evangelism or conversions to Christ • 75% Greek Orthodox; 19% Muslim; 1% Protestant; 1% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Ask to be guided by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16).
Optional Reading: Acts 4
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11