April 3

 

Read I Samuel 8 -- 11

 

In Today's Reading:

 

Samuel's evil sons; Israel demands a king; God chooses Saul; Saul begins as a humble ruler, defeats the Ammonites, and delivers Jabesh-gilead

 

During the history of the judges, Samuel accomplished more as a spiritual leader than any other judge. Therefore, it is disappointing to read: And it came to pass, when Samuel was old . . . he made his sons judges over Israel. . . . And his sons . . . took bribes, and perverted judgment (I Samuel 8:1-3). Eventually, all the elders of Israel . . . came to Samuel . . . And said . . . you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel (8:4-6). And the LORD said to Samuel . . . they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them (8:7). Then Samuel anointed Saul king in Ramah as the Lord had directed him. After a brief time, Samuel called the people together to the LORD to Mizpeh; And said . . . you 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 has chosen. . . . And all the people shouted . . . God save (long live) the king (10:24).

 

The first test of the new king came when Saul was told that Nahash, the Ammonite king, was attacking Jabesh-gilead. The Ammonites had not attacked the Israelites since Jephthah, a hero of faith (see Hebrews 11:32), had defeated them many years before (see Judges 11:5; also Deuteronomy 2:19; 23:3-4; Judges 3:13; 10:7). Responding to this current threat, Saul called together men from all the tribes of Israel to be his soldiers and led the Israelites in a spectacular victory. As he finished his first battle, he shouted: To day the LORD has wrought salvation in Israel (I Samuel 11:13).

 

Saul began with a humble spirit, but soon pride and self-will became his way of life and resulted in a succession of failures. This illustrates the temptation that often follows success, the deception of pride that inevitably leads to a self-centered life where Christ is no longer Lord (see Matthew 16:24-27). The assumption that we have the ability to independently make decisions as to what is best for our lives and no longer need to pray for guidance is a reminder that Jesus said: Without (Apart from) Me you can do nothing (that has eternal value) (John 15:5).

 

Word Studies:

 

8:3 lucre = money gained unjustly; 8:9 protest solemnly = make a serious objection; 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.

 

Christ Portrayed:

 

Through Samuel who faithfully served Israel as judge, prophet and priest. Jesus was the Prophet promised through Moses (Deut. 18:15); He is our High Priest (see Heb. 4:14); and one day He will judge all mankind: For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son (see John 5:22).

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Thursday Morning Prayer · Country: Slovenia (2 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian · Freedom of religion · 81% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Pour out your heart in prayer to the Lord for your children (Lamentations 2:19).

 

Optional Reading: Acts 4

 

Memory Verse for the Week: I Thessalonians 5:15