Highlights In Today's Reading:
The good characteristics of Saul soon degenerate despite Samuel's warning (12:14-15). Don't overlook verse 12:23! All Christians should heed these words! Two very destructive actions are in today's and two in tomorrow's readings on the part of Saul: (1) Saul and the people begin to act wickedly, (2) Saul presumptuously assumes the position of priest, and he destroys himself and loses the kingdom (13:8-14).
Saul had been commanded to remain in Gilgal until Samuel arrived, and he was warned not to offer sacrifices until Samuel returned. These sacrifices were to be offered before the beginning of a battle. God's purpose in delaying Samuel until the last day of the appointed time was to test Saul's faith in God's Word, as well as to test his character and humility in waiting for God's appointed man to perform the sacrifice. But Saul feared being defeated by the Philistines, and he knew a burnt offering should be performed before the battle; therefore, he justified his actions since war appeared imminent and his army was fearful and many were deserting him. Saul presumed that, under the circumstances, by violating one spiritual principle and performing another he would bring success to the nation of Israel. He thought that obedience was less important than sacrifices.
Samuel warned the people: If ye will fear the Lord, and serve Him, and obey His voice, and not rebel against the Commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the Commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers (12:14-15).
Obedience is giving up one's will to the will of another — it is therefore the sacrifice of the whole man. Even in Israel there were many people who were too poor to bring the least costly offering to the altar of the Lord; but no one is ever too poor to tithe in recognition that we are not our own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Our utmost desire should be to do the will of God — to seek His guidance and submit wholly to His commands. It is this principle of faith which alone can make a sacrifice acceptable. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him (Hebrews 10:38). Pride and self-will have a strange way of blinding the eyes and blurring the principles of truth and integrity.
Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. . . . But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:1,6).
Thought for Today:
God cannot bless partial obedience no matter how “sincere” a person may be for "partial" obedience is actually disobedience.
By Samuel the intercessor (I Samuel 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 (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
12:4 ought =b> anything; 12:11 Jerubbaal =b> Gideon; 13:17 spoilers =b> raiders; 13:20 share, coulter and mattock =b> agricultural tools, possibly a plow blade, spade, hoe, sickle, or pickax; 13:21 goads =b> pointed rods used to prod animals; 14:8 discover ourselves =b> let ourselves be seen; 14:16 melted away =b> scattered in all directions.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in memory of Jennola Harkus • Staff: Joe Brashier • Government Officials: Rep. Darlene Hooley (OR) and Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) • Country: Japan (126.7 million) off the eastern coast of Asia • Major language: Japanese • Religious freedom • 49% Buddhist; 45% Shintoist; 1% Christian; 5% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for others by name (Luke 22:31-32).
Optional Reading: Acts 5
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:23