Read 1 Samuel 12

Highlights:

Samuel reproves the Israelites for ingratitude; war with the Philistines; Saul's burnt offering sacrifice; Jonathan smites the Philistines.

Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel (I Sam. 13:1-2).

Following Saul's first battle, his noble character was revealed when he confessed: For to day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel (11:13). But after one year's reign, pride replaced what had once appeared to be a humble spirit.

Saul soon became a symbol of what the people actually wanted — a king like all the other nations had (8.5). He chose him three thousand men for his personal protection and for Israel's defense. He followed the custom of other monarchs who maintained a standing army for their prestige as well as unexpected attacks. But it was a dishonor for Israel whose invisible King had all the hosts of heaven at His command.

The three thousand men were an impressive bodyguard for Saul, but this act of distrust exposed a mixture of pride and lack of faith in God. God alone had protected and guided the Israelites since Abraham's call over a thousand years earlier.

Had Saul recalled the past protection and power that God had provided when Israel prayed, and humbly acknowledged the Lord as his source of strength, his faith would have increased and fear of the future would have vanished. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the Law of faith (Rom. 3:27).

After Saul had shown his real character, God delivered the people by just two men: Jonathan and his armor bearer — that He might reveal to Saul how little He needed his strength or any human wisdom, and how all-sufficient God was to those who trusted Him. Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (I Cor. 1:26-27).

Just as pride leads to unbelief and ignoring the Word of God, faith comes from submission to the Word of God — and surrendering one's life to doing His will is dependent upon reading His Word. As we humbly acknowledge His Word as our source of strength, our faith is increased in measure.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John 2:16).

Thought for Today:

A true servant of the Lord willingly follows his Master's instructions.

Christ Revealed:

By Samuel the intercessor (I Sam. 12:23). Right now Jesus is interceding for believers. It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).

Word Studies:

12:4 taken ought, received a bribe; ought, anything; 12:21 vain, worthless; 13:10 salute, welcome, greet; 13:17 spoilers, raiders; 13:20 share . . . coulter . . . mattock, agricultural tools; 13:21 goads, iron points used to prod animals; 14:8 discover ourselves, let ourselves be seen; 14:16 melted away, scattered in all directions; 14:20 discomfiture, confusion.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Chris Robison • Government Official: Sen. Richard G. Lugar (IN) • Country: Angola (11 million) in west-central Africa • Major languages: Portuguese and Bantu dialects • Christianity is gradually being driven underground by communism • 60% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 5% belief in ancestor spirits, witches, and medicine men • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that the Lord is faithful to keep His promises (Heb. 10:23).

Optional Reading: Acts 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 3:20