Highlights In Today's Reading:
Whoa! Samuel gives the king and the nation serious warnings (12:14-15,24-25). We should all heed (12:23). Saul reveals his self-seeking cowardice and, for his disobedience, he loses the kingdom (13:8-14). Saul's son Jonathan trusts God and leads a bold thrust into enemy territory; and Israel is victorious (14:1-23).
The faith that God honors comes as a result of full obedience. Surrendering our lives to do His will above all else should be the unconditional response of every Christian to the precious love of God (who) is no respector of persons (Acts 10:34) — isn't that wonderful! Even Jesus Christ, Creator of all things, surrendered His will to do the will of God (Heb. 1:2; 10:7).
Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice . . . and have made a king over you. . . . Now therefore behold the king . . . whom ye have desired! and, behold, the Lord hath set a king over you. . . . But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord . . . then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers (I Sam. 12:1,13-15).
Samuel had told Saul to go to Gilgal and wait for him seven days (10:8). But when Samuel arrived on the appointed day, Saul had disobediently offered the burnt offering sacrifice earlier that day (13:9). He attempted to justify his actions by telling Samuel that the Philistine armies were moving closer, his soldiers were frightened and some were even deserting him.
Samuel replied: Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the Commandment of the Lord thy God. . . . But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee (13:13-14).
Whatever excuses people may give for disobeying the Word of God, they are as deceived as Saul was if they think God is pleased with them because they perhaps give generously to His work. God does not bless any sacrifice or gift of time, money, or talents unless we are truly living to please Him. God cannot bless partial obedience no matter how "sincere" a person may be, for "partial" obedience is actual disobedience (15:22). "Obedience is always the pathway to happiness."
Paul wrote from Corinth: If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom. 8:13).
Thought for Today:
Physical circumstances can never dictate our obedience to the will of God.
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).
12:4 ought =b> received a bribe; 12:21 vain =b> worthless; 13:10 salute =b> welcome; 13:17 spoilers =b> raiders; 13:20 share, coulter and mattock =b> agricultural tools; 13:21 goads =b> iron points used to prod animals; 14:8 discover ourselves =b> let ourselves be seen; 14:16 melted away =b> scattered in all directions; 14:20 discomfiture =b> confusion.
Pray for Government Official: Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) • Country: Ghana (19 million) in western Africa • Major languages: English and African languages • The government permits freedom to churches and missionaries that do not get involved in politics • 31% belief in spirits and witches; 22% Protestant; 17% Muslim; 11% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to show you what to do, and then be willing to do it (Acts 9:6).
Optional Reading: Acts 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6