A Merciful King

1 Samuel 11:11-13
(11) And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.
(12) And the people said unto Samuel, Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death.
(13) And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel.

It seems that Nahash the Ammonite king (1CH 19:1) had been a worry to Israel for some time and had been an underlying reason for Israel's clamor for a king (1SAM 12:12 c/w 1SAM 8:19-20).

Record-Breaking Math Test

(1 Samuel 10:1) Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?

Here we have the anointing of Israel's first king, the establishing of a new system of civil rule in the land. King Saul was awarded to Israel as a judgment (HOS 13:11) for their rejection of God (1SAM 8:7) and the saviors (NEH 9:27) that He had sent to judge them. Samuel was the last of a long line of judges that ruled Israel following the conquest of Canaan: "...And after that he gave them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet" (ACT 13:19-20).

Be Careful What You Ask For

1 Samuel 8:1-5
(1) And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
(2) Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
(3) And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
(4) Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
(5) And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

Eli had been derelict in the training of his sons. They "...made themselves vile, and he restrained them not" (1SAM 3:13) but no such thing was said about Samuel. That children without godly parental discipline and restraints should become corrupt is a virtual given. But it is a very sad case when children of a godly upbringing turn sour, for the hopeful expectation is that when a child is trained up in the way in which he should go, he will not later depart from it (PRO 22:6). But the Law recognized the potential for a rebellious dropout who, even though chastened appropriately, would not hearken (DEU 21:18). Such may have been the case with Samuel's sons. Samuel had been faithful (a fact the nation in general had to concede, 1SAM 12:1-5) but his sons "...walked not in his ways" (v.3). No, they walked all over his ways and did so for filthy lucre's sake, proving that the love of money certainly is the root of all evil (1TI 6:10). A devout generation may sadly spawn one which "...knew not the LORD..." (JUDGES 2:10). It behooves parents, therefore, to diligently train their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord with much prayer, fear and trembling and then entrust the outcome to God. At the very least, such a parent can say in effect, "...I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (ACT 20:26-27). Israel's elders capitalized on Samuel's sons corrupt judgment to make a play for a "...king to judge us like all the nations" (v.5) and in so doing made it clear that they were tired of the way God had reigned over them (1SAM 8:7). It may be observed that abuses of power or corruption in rule and judgment do tend to incite rebellion and many national leaders, parents or businesses have thus felt the backlash of their own whip. However, as it apparently was with Samuel, even the best of leadership can meet with rejection. There are those who "...make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate..." (ISA 29:21), using trivial or even fabricated discrepancies as a pretext for rejecting just leadership. For such, a gross injustice is not needed for them to refuse "...the waters of Shiloh that go softly..." (ISA 8:6), a mere faux pas will do. And for the carnal-minded, it may simply be a matter of "...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (2TI 4:3). And God may well hearken to their wish, under protest, as He did here for Israel (1SAM 8:9) but later hearken not to their anguished rue (1SAM 8:18). Woe unto the nation built upon Biblical principles that abandons its birthright for a mess of humanist pottage! Woe unto the child of godly parents who thinks that uninhibited lifestyles are better than home! Woe unto the church that rejects its Bible-preaching pastor for an ear-scratching pussycat.

Submission & Resistance (Part 2)

1.  In order to resist the devil, we must first deny self and submit self to God.   
      MAT 16:24; JAM 4:5-7.
      A. Deny:  "(To say 'no' to the claims of)  To refuse to recognize or acknowledge   (a person or thing) as having a certain character or certain claims; to disown,
            disavow, repudiate, renounce."

Prayers for Sinners

1 Samuel 7:4-12
(4) Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
(5) And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.
(6) And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
(7) And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.

Philistine Pholly

1 Samuel 6:4-8
(4) Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.
(5) Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.
(6) Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?

False Gods and Emerods

1 Samuel 5:1-12
(1) And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.
(2) When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
(3) And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.

ICHABOD

(1 Samuel 4:3) And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. 

A Train Wreck

1 Samuel 3:11-14
(11) And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
(12) In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
(13) For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Barren to Bearin'

(1 Samuel 2:30) Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

This second chapter sets forth an amazing juxtaposition: a faithful mother who lent unto the LORD (1SAM 1:27-28) against a less-than-faithful father whose sons stole from the LORD (1SAM 2:12-17) and who honoured his sons above the LORD (v.29). True to her vow that she would dedicate her child to God's service (1SAM 1:11), Hannah deferred not to pay (ECC 5:4-5) and so honoured God.