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Bible Pathways 04/03/2002

April 03

Read 1 Samuel 8 -- 11

In Today's Reading:

Samuel's evil sons l The Israelites demand a king l Saul is chosen to be Israel's first king l Saul defeats the Ammonites and delivers Jabesh-gilead l God no longer ruling through judges and prophets l Israel is now under the rule of kings who were to be in submission to the Lord l Saul begins as a humble ruler.

Verse for Today:

All the elders of Israel . . . came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways. . . . But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord (1 Samuel 8:4-6).

During the history of the judges, Samuel accomplishedmore as a spiritual leader of Israel than any other judge during their 400 years of history in the Promised Land. It is sad to read that Samuel's two sons, whom he had appointed judges, did not follow his godly example, but . . . took bribes, and perverted [justice] (1 Samuel 8:1-3). Because of this, the people said to Samuel: Make us a king to judge us like all the nations (8:5).

Samuel prayed. . . . (and was willing to leave the outcome with the Lord, Who) said [to] Samuel, Hearken [to] the voice of the people . . . they have not rejected [you], but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them (8:6-7). Samuel anointed Saul king as the Lord had directed him. After a brief time, Samuel called the people . . . to Mizpeh; And said . . . [You] have this day rejected your God . . . and [you] have said . . . set a king over us (10:17-19). He then presented Saul to them as the one whom the Lord [has] chosen. . . . And all the people shouted . . . God save the king (10:24).

The first test of the new king came when Saul was told that Nahash the Ammonite (king had put his army in position to attack) . . . Jabesh-gilead (11:1). This city, belonging to the half-tribe of Manasseh, was located on the eastern side of the Jordan River and bordered Ammonite territory. The Ammonites were old enemies, but they had not attacked the Israelites since Jephthah, a hero of faith (Hebrews 11:32), had defeated them many years before (Deuteronomy 2:19; 23:3-4; Judges 3:13; 10:7; 11:5,33). Responding to this threat, Saul called together men from all the tribes of Israel to serve as soldiers. They assembled at Bezek, about 15 miles southwest of Jabesh-gilead. Saul led the Israelites to a spectacular victory. In a surprise attack, early in the morning, they . . . slew the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:11).

As he finished his first battle, he shouted: To day the Lord [has] wrought salvation in Israel (11:13). Then Samuel had the people meet at Gilgal, and renew the kingdom (covenant). . . . There they sacrificed . . . Peace Offerings before the Lord (11:14-15).

Saul had a good beginning, but pride and self-will soon became his way of life, resulting in a succession of spiritual failures. This should be a warning to us concerning the deception of pride and the dangers of success that lead to a self-centered life. Saul represents the Christian who professes that Christ is Lord but remains undisciplined (Matthew 16:24). Another subtle deception after a time of success is the assumption that we have the ability to make decisions that are best for our lives without praying for guidance. This is often followed by a determination to be successful at any cost as did Saul. Let us say with Jesus: I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me (John 5:30).

Christ Revealed:

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

Word Studies:

8:3 lucre = money; 8:9 protest solemnly = make a serious objection; 8:12 ear = plow; 9:2 goodly = handsome appearance; 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 = to put his forces in position to attack.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Australia (19 million) an island continent between the Indian and Pacific Oceans · Major languages: English and native languages · Religious freedom · 40% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 3% Orthodox; 2% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for understanding of the Word of God so you can share it with others (Psalms 119:27).

Optional Reading: Acts 4

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 2:2

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