1 Samuel 11-12
Chapter 11: Saul Comes to the Rescue
The chapter opens up with the Ammonites trying to attacking the Israelite city of Jabesh Gilead. They start to really do a number on the city, when the Israelites agree to be subject to the Ammonite ruler Nahash if they are spared. Nahash agrees, but adds that he must take out the right eye of every person in the city to bring disgrace to Israel.
The Israelites of course are not happy to accept an agreement where their eyes are torn out. So they ask for seven days to ponder his offer. Nahash agrees and the Israelites send out messengers to ask Israel what they should do.
The messengers arrive at Gibeah, where Saul lives. Upon telling the story the people of Gibeah burst into tears, but when Saul hears what happens he is filled with anger. So he takes 2 oxen and cuts them into pieces, sending them to all of Israel with a message that if someone refuses to help they too will be cut up into pieces. So the Israelites (for fear of being cut into pieces, and the fear of the Lord) gather 300,000 men to fight + 30,000 from Judah.
The messengers bring word back to Jabesh Gilead that they will be saved tomorrow. The Israelites living there are super happy and in the morning Saul and his men arrive and essentially slaughter Nahash and his men, so that the ones who do survive are so scattered that not more than 2 are left together. Saul is confirmed a king of Israel.
Chapter 12: Look What God Has Done for You!
Now that Israel has officially called Saul to be their king, they no longer need the leadership of Samuel. But before completely handing over the reign to Saul he addresses the people;
Samuel explains that he has been a righteous leader, and the people agree. He then explains how God calls people to leadership positions to help out his people and relates a few stories about how the Lord has always helped his people, including stories of Jacob after he entered Egypt and how the Israelites have always betrayed their God and then came back to him. Always on a roller coaster like timeline of good and evil.
The people shout out to him that they have indeed sinned. He warns the people that if they have chosen a king then they must follow the commandments and in live in righteousness of the hand of the Lord will be against them.
The people than get really nervous about their sinning and this are where I REALLY learned a lot…
Samuel ends his address:
“…Fear not; ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great names sake; because it pleaseth the Lord to make you his people… I will teach you the good and the right way… consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:20-25)
Here we learn something very important, we all sin. It is a fact. No one is perfect, but we should be constantly striving to better ourselves, so that one day we might become perfect! We can learn that when we sin, we need to pray even more and have God closer to us. When we sin, we need him even more. That is something that most of us probably don’t understand. I know when I have been doing things I shouldn’t have been doing, I feel like God is so ashamed of me that he doesn’t want to talk with me or hear me. But that is Satan tricking us into believing this.
The truth is that God loves us always! He will not forsake us, even if we have sinned. It can only be us forsaking him!