1 Samuel 8:1-9:27
Samuel was definitely a man of God, he was called so personally, he served so faithfully, but Samuel’s sons did not walk in his ways. We naturally wonder why, and we’re not sure, the Bible doesn’t reveal that information. We DO know that the man who raised Samuel (Eli) was not a good disciplinarian, and we can be sure that Samuel was busy in the ministry, he WAS gone a lot, but ultimately, each child is personally responsible to make that choice. Tragically Samuel’s sons were dishonest, took bribes, and perverted justice. Samuel made a huge mistake in making his sons judges over Israel. This led to the people’s demand for a king.
It displeased Samuel, and it displeased the LORD – after all, they were essentially rejecting the LORD as King, but God allowed it, and consequentially Israel went from the perfect, to the permissive will of God in government.
God commanded Samuel to clearly warn the people:
Six times in his warning, we read those words regarding the king, “…he will take…” He would take and take and tax, their sons and daughters, the finest of their folks, the best of their fields, and so much more. The day would come when they would cry out to God, but He warned them in advance, He would not hear (1 Samuel 8:18). It didn’t matter to that generation, the people insisted, they wanted to be like all the other nations (1 Samuel 8:5, 20). It’s always a sad state when we make our decisions on that base basis – “…everyone else is doing it.”
God gave them their request, and gave Saul a chance. Saul had the “look” of a king, he was the most handsome man in all of Israel; he was also the tallest in the land. We will later learn that these factors are insignificant, what matters most is the heart (1 Samuel 16:1-7). Tragically some people have to learn the hard way.
Clearly it was the LORD bringing Saul and Samuel together. Saul was humble in the beginning, acknowledging the fact that his tribe was the smallest, that his family was the weakest. We read back in Judges 20-21 how the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out!
He started well, if only Saul had stayed small in his own eyes. He was about to be anointed the King of Israel by God and His prophet, but it wouldn’t take long before his prideful insecurities would make him a madman, tormented by demons.
The next day the Jewish crowds were looking desperately for Jesus, but not for the right reason. It wasn’t even for the signs Jesus showed, no, they were looking for Him because of the food He provided. Jesus offers Godly guidance:
John 6:27 (NKJV) “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
I’ll be the first to admit, I think of food a lot (my flesh does). But we need to make sure we’re not led by our fleshly appetites. Our priorities must be spiritual – may we be desperately seeking after God – Spiritually; let’s be sure to labor in that field…for Him.
The Jews asked Jesus what “works” they needed to do, but salvation is not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9), note Jesus’ response:
John 6:29 (NKJV) “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’”
Simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).
Unfortunately the people missed the point completely and allowed their food frenzy to dominate their thoughts and conversation, bringing up the fact that Moses gave them manna in the wilderness, bread from heaven.
Jesus takes them to a higher heaven and reveals the fact that the manna wasn’t heavenly bread after all – the people died after eating it. Jesus is the true Bread from heaven, the Bread of Life, and not just for the Jews, but for the whole wide world (John 6:33). Wiersbe comments, “The manna (Exodus 16) came only to the Jews and sustained physical life, but Jesus came for the whole world and gives eternal life. Just as you take food into your body, so you take Christ into your life; and He becomes one with you.”
As the people began to reject Christ for multiple reasons (they wanted physical food, they knew His parents – how could He have come from heaven?) Jesus reveals another reason. Salvation is of God, and in God’s timing. If anyone is ever to be saved and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that person must be drawn by the Father. Salvation is not only up to us (our response, our responsibility) salvation is also an act of God’s intervention, it’s an act of divine sovereignty (see John 1:12-13).
In looking back over the history of Israel, there were many, many failures. Like us, Israel struggled with the fallen flesh, the influences of the swayed world, and even the forces of darkness (demons).
The congregation of Israel constantly complained against Moses, which led him to losing his temper, misrepresenting God, and closed those doors for him to enter the Promised-Land.
Once in the land, Israel refused to rid themselves of the sin and sinful influences – they mingled with non-believers (it seemed harmless, perhaps they thought they were strong enough) until the day came when they were doing the unthinkable.
Psalm 106:37 (NKJV) “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.”
As Solomon said, in all reality there is nothing new under the son, they were killing babies even back then; the equivalent to modern-day abortion (125,000 every day).
Apparently at the time of the writing of this Psalm, the people of Israel were in bondage, scattered throughout the world, it was God’s discipline upon the nation, but even there, God was merciful, preserving them, even favoring them at times.
The Psalmist records his confession of sin, and asks God to gather the people back into the land. God has done this numerous times with Israel, most recently on May 14, 1948 when they became a nation again in fulfillment of Ezekiel 36 and 37. (reborn in one day – Isaiah 66:8)
Never underestimate the power of repentance, prayer, and praise. Never underestimate the power of God.
V. 34 – God’s Word to Israel (Deuteronomy 26:26-29; 28:13) is applicable to any nation, especially ours.
Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV) “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
This Godly nation has gone rogue, ruined by our sin, so much so that what Isaiah says in Isaiah 59:15 (NLT) is now applicable to us, “Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.” Sounds so much like our society today!
Not just applicable to nations, but cities too!
Proverbs 11:11 (NKJV) By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
Our nation is right-smack-dab in the middle of this Proverb – which way will we go? Will the remnant be able to sway the rest back? I hope so, but if I had to guess I would say that the rapture is the only answer…followed by the just judgment of God.
V. 35 – Of course this is the case for any citizen in front of his king, let’s be wise servants and citizens in our country, but how much morse so, us, before the King of kings?
Matthew 24:45–47 (NKJV) “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.