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1 Samuel 6 – 10
The Philistines return the Ark to Israel in Chapter 6 with a guilt offering of 5 golden tumors and a golden rat for each town that suffered because of the Ark. However, even the people of Israel now who fail to treat the Ark with respect, die. Therefore, the Ark does not go back to Shiloh but stays at Kiriath Jearim for the next twenty years. The people were devastated by this loss and sought after God. Samuel told them if they were going to seek God they must do so wholeheartedly and get rid of their idols. He then gathered the people at Mizpah to make sacrifices for them there. The Philistines heard about it and came up against Israel in battle. The Israelites are afraid and tell Samuel to not stop praying to God for them that He will rescue them. The Philistines are defeated by God’s hand that day and pursued by the Israelites all the way to Beth Car.
Samuel remains a judge of Israel all the days of his life. He names his sons as judges as well, but they do not follow God the way Samuel does and they pervert justice.
At that time the Israelites come to Samuel complaining about his sons. Their suggestion is that Samuel set a King over them like all the other nations have. Samuel doesn’t agree with their advice, but he asks God what He would have him do.
“Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
-1 Samuel 8:7-9
Remember way back to Deuteronomy now where the roles of each part of their society were laid out by God.
All Kings are appointed by God. He must not be a foreigner. He must not acquire for himself a great number of horses. He must not take the people along the route to Egypt to attain these horses for the people are never to return that way again. He must not have a great number of wives because they will turn his heart away from God. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver or gold. He is to copy down the law for his own personal use, read it daily, and apply it to his life that he may have reverence for the LORD. He is not to consider himself better than the people. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over Israel.”
According to Samuel’s warning, the king they will get now because they have rejected God is going to be a lot different from what he was intended to be.
“‘This is what the king who will reign over you will do: he will take your sons and make hem serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best f your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flock, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”‘
-1 Samuel 8:11-18
The Israelites did not heed Samuel’s warning but asked him again to set a king over them. God tells Samuel to give them what they want.
A Benjamite named Saul is searching for his father’s lost donkeys in the countryside during this time. After going a long, long way he tells his companion that they should turn back now before his father stops worrying about the donkeys and starts worrying about them. His friend agrees but first thinks they should make one final stop at the Man of God’s house to find out if he can tell them where the donkeys went. Saul agrees and they head to find Samuel. Samuel is expecting them. He tells Saul not to worry about the donkeys they have been found but to come and feast with him in the town. The next day Samuel has Saul’s servant go on ahead of him while he gives a message from God to Saul.
Samuel annoints Saul as king and gives him three signs by which he will know this is true.
- you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you that the donkeys have been found, your father has stopped worrying about them and is now worried about you
- you will go on to the great tree at Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread =m and another a skin of wine. They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them
- you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
After this, he is to do whatever his hand finds to do because God is with him. Then he is to wait 7 days and meet Samuel in Gilgal where he will tell Saul what he is to do.
-1 Samuel 10:2-8
As Saul turns to leave Samuel God changes his heart and all that Samuel has told him comes to pass.
Once again Samuel gathers the people together at Mizpah, this time to give them their king.
“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought you out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your calamities and distresses. And you have said, ‘No, set a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans.”
-1 Samuel 10:17-19
Saul is chosen to be king before all people. Yet he is found hiding in the baggage because of his fear. Not all the people are impressed with the choice for king. Samuel writes down all the regulations of the kingship on a scroll and deposits it before the LORD. Then people return to their own homes, including Saul accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God has touched.
Samuel writes down all the regulations of the kingship on a scroll and deposits it before the LORD. Then all the people return to their own homes, including Saul accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God has touched.
We too choose our leaders, especially in America. That doesn’t mean we make the best decisions on who should be the heads of our countries. What would the world look like if we followed God as our King and trusted His judgment on the leaders He appointed? One day that will be a reality, the only sad thing about that day is that after 1000 years of His reign we will reject Him again and final war will begin. Make no mistake God will win!!! But, like Saul, we need God to change our hearts for us to follow Him into eternity. Unlike Saul, when that war is over, those of us who do love Him and whose hearts have been changed, will follow God forever. What a glorious day that will be!