Highlights:

Samuel's evil sons; Israelites ask for a king; Samuel anoints Saul; Saul defeats the Ammonites.

And ye have this day rejected your God, who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto Him, Nay, but set a king over us (I Sam. 10:19).

Samuel and the judges who ruled the nation of Israel desired to please God — their invisible King. These judges were chosen by God and received direction from Him. However, Israel openly rejected Him as King. Although the people would not consider idol worship and would strongly deny that they had rejected the Lord, yet it was the solemn response of God to Samuel that they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them (8:7). They persistently asked to have a king such as other nations, that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles (8:20).

The Lord, not the people, knew what was best for the Israelites, but the nation insisted, Nay; but we will have a king over us; go out before us, and fight our battles (8:19-20). This decision represented a rebellion against God.

Samuel called a national assembly at Mizpeh and again warned the people of their serious mistake in demanding a king. Saul looked like a king and the people were satisfied with his external appearance. But although he was blessed with many spiritual gifts, he was more intent on pleasing people than on pleasing God. He was a symbol of the spiritual weakness of the nation.

Saul represents the counterfeit Christian who is proud, worldly, and undisciplined (Matt. 16:24). As is often the case, the spirit of self in Saul was a mixture of much that was right, but only so far as it pleased him. Saul is a warning that self-will ends in failure.

The motive that brought about the kingdom of Saul is also representative of popular Christianity without Christ. Desiring to be like the majority has caused many to ignore the Bible and seek counsel from others. Such people compromise the commands of God and destroy their usefulness to Him. God leaves the choice to us to accept or reject His leadership. Without the guidance of God, we will soon be defeated by the temptations that confront us each day.

God gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. And afterward they desired a king (Acts. 13:20-21).

Thought for Today:

Unless we confess and forsake our sins, we will face eternal consequences.

Christ Portrayed:

Through Samuel who faithfully served Israel as judge (I Sam. 8:1,3), prophet (8:10-18; 9:6,9,19,27; 10:1-9), and priest (8:10,21; 10:8). 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).

Word Studies:

8:3 lucre, money gained dishonestly; 8:9 protest solemnly, object seriously; 8:12 ear, plow; 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, a container; 11:1 encamped against, put his forces in position to attack.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Iva Jo Swinsburg • Staff: Dan Murton • Country: Andorra (78,000) in the eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain • Major languages: Catalan and French • Official freedom of religion • 94% Christian; 4% non-Religious; .6% Muslim; .9% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Draw near to God in prayer with a true heart in assurance of faith (Heb. 10:22).

Optional Reading: Acts 4:1-26

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 3:20