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Bible Pathways 04/03/2004

April 3

Read I & II 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. 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, had put his army in position to attack. The Ammonites had not attacked the Israelites since Jephthah, a hero of faith (Hebrews 11:32), had defeated them many years before (Judges 11:5; see 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. Saul 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 had a good beginning, but pride and self-will soon 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 (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 (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 (John 5:22).

Pray For:

Country: Tonga (109,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: Tongan and English · Religious freedom · 55% Protestant; 22% Mormon; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God that the answers to your prayers are granted through the grace of God (Isaiah 30:19).

Optional Reading: Acts 4

Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:18

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