In the Book of 1Samuel, chapter 8, the Prophet Samuel proved to be a faithful and powerful man of God and a good Judge over the people. But, as he began to age, he made his sons judges over Israel. Unfortunately, just as the sons of Eli, Phineas, and Hophni, were dishonorable men put in high positions by their father Eli, so were the sons of Samuel dishonorable men. Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abiah, took bribes, they were greedy after money and they perverted justice. Their bad behavior gave the Israelites an excuse for asking Samuel to petition God to provide them with a king. The people did not fool God, however. His answer to Samuel concerning their request is found in chapter 8, verses 7-9.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
God knew what was in their hearts. The people used the issues related to Samuel’s sons as an opportunity to get what they wanted all along and God knew it. God encouraged Samuel, letting him know that their rejection was not of Samuel, but of God. Willing to give them one last opportunity to re-think their behavior, God told Samuel to warn the people about what would happen once they got the King that they asked for. Samuel, in turn, told the people all that God gave him to share with them. What he said is found in verses 10-16.
10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
God’s people were forewarned about what would come, but it didn’t matter to them. They wanted a king to lead them and not God. Their response to all that Samuel said is found in verses 19 and 20:
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
The Israelites were chosen by the God of the Universe. He was their King. On many occasions, He demonstrated His love, power, protection, mercy, and patience with them. They had seen Him reign supreme over other gods. There was none like Him anywhere. Yet the people who should have loved Him, served Him, and clung to Him rejected Him instead. So, at their request, they were given a king. They got just what they wanted, but they lost the relationship with God that they had. Our loving and faithful God, however, did not reject them as they rejected Him.
In the 11th chapter of 1Samuel, Saul was established as king over Israel, and the people rejoiced greatly. And, in the 12th chapter of 1Samuel, the other shoe dropped. It was time for the Israelites to realize the seriousness of their error. Samuel rehearsed God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in the past. He reviewed with them the righteous acts of the Lord.
7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to you and to your fathers.
Samuel told them that although they had asked for a king other than God, their God still loved them. Samuel gave them the conditions and warnings that God spoke.
14 If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God:
15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers.
And then, God did a “thing” in their sight, that reinforced the seriousness of their rejection.
16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.
17 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king.
18 So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
The rain and thunder that God sent were so severe that the people were afraid. They began to understand the seriousness of their rejection of God and the importance of having Samuel on their side. They cried to Samuel to pray for them.
19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.
Samuel reassured them that they should not be afraid; God would not forsake them for His name’s sake. He told them that since God had chosen them as His people, they should fear the Lord, and they were not to forget what he has done for them. In verse 25, God reminded them that they should continue to serve the Lord, and He warned them about what would happen if they did not.
25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.
Look at the Love of God towards His people. Although they rejected Him, He refused to reject them. And God is no different towards us today. Sometimes we make bad choices. We do all manner of things that are contrary to God’s will for us, even without realizing the severity of our actions. Often, it is later that we understand that we made a grave mistake, but when we cry out to God in repentance, He forgives us, re-establishes us, and warns us to continue to serve Him. The scenario that follows is a demonstration of God’s loving and forgiving nature towards men today.
Scenario: A young man meets a saved young woman in the church. While she was not the most beautiful woman, she had an excellent spirit, a sharp mind, and was loyal to him. They got married, and he discovered that she was so much more than he thought. She was an excellent cook, she managed the home in an excellent manner, and she was a great mother to their children.
Then, Ms. Fancy Jane shows up at church. She loved to be in the young man’s face, always straightening his tie and batting her long, fake lashes at him. He had always wondered if he had what it took to “win” someone like her. When she let him know how important he was to her, he fell hook, line, and sinker. He left his wife, abandoned his children and left the church for her. About one month into his new “relationship,” he realized the great mistake that he had made. The woman could not cook. He discovered that she had no intention of keeping the house clean and always had her hand out for money. She refused to work and slept every day until Noon. He even suspected that she was unfaithful to him. With sorrow in his heart and a hung-down head, he realized the tremendous mistake that he made in leaving his family and church. He got what he wanted, but he lost what he had.
Fortunately for this young man, he came to himself. He went back to his wife and repented to her and to God. Both accepted him back. Despite his wife’s taking her husband back, however, the young man knew that he would have to spend the rest of his life showing her and God that he was sorry for the pain that he caused. It broke his heart to know how foolishly he had thrown away what he had. He realized that he would never be able to undo the damage that he had done, but he was willing to go to his grave, attempting to reassure his family and God that his faithfulness was real.
This message today is addressed to someone who perhaps made a mistake like the children of Israel when they rejected God for an earthly king. Or, maybe you made a foolish mistake like the one that was made by the young man of our scenario. Our God is a kind, loving, and forgiving God. Even though it is true that all sins that are committed are ultimately sins against God, He is just and faithful to forgive us of our sins. All He requires is repentance and a definite turning away from the sin that has been committed.
1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God loves you, young man, or young woman, and He wants you to return to Him. Even in those cases where you have done something that cannot be undone, God can make it work out in your favor. Run back to Him, and He will welcome you with open arms. Cast all of your cares upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). May God ever bless you is my prayer.