1 Samuel (03) - We Want a King: A Transition to Kings vs Priests Dr. Gregg Strawbridge
Priestly Obedience and Disobedience - Samuel tells of Israel at a time when threatened by the Philistines from the outside and corruption from within. Enter Samuel (priest and prophet). The first saga is rise of Samuel and the fall of Eli’s house (two sons). Judgment on Israel (and Eli) came at the battle of Aphek (Ichabod “glory gone” 4:19-22). Samuel arises to lead just as Eli’s dynasty falls. In chapters 5-7, we see Yahweh’s power over the Philistines and their fishy god, Dagon (5:1-2ff). His “hand” of judgment is on them (bubonic plague) for seven months. After they “let go” the Ark from captivity, Israelite leaders superstitiously “looked into the ark” and were judged. Faithful Samuel calls Israel to repent of their idolatry and they do (7:3-4). Now God fights for them at Mizpah (7:11) with His almighty “hand.” The lesson is stated by Jonathan (Saul’s son): “the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few” (14:6). Chapter 7 ends with a blessing on the life of Samuel. But in chapter 8, we are introduced to another father/sons problem. Samuel’s sons perverted justice and did not walk before the Lord as their father (8:1-2). Here is a tale of two fathers (Eli & Samuel). Are the fathers at fault for the evil of the sons?
Kingly Obedience and Disobedience - The Israelites use the injustice of Samuel’s sons (Joel & Abijah) as a reason for wanting a king “like all the other nations.” As a developing nation-civilization, Israel was to have righteous leadership, even a king at the proper time (Dt. 17, Gen. 49:10). Though God instructs Samuel to appoint a king, there is a note of condemnation: “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them” (8:7, 10:19, 12:12). Samuel warns them of the problems with a king like other nations (8:9ff), namely he will break the cardinal laws for kings: guns, gold, and girls (Dt. 17:14ff). Samuel prophesied very accurately. There is, as it turns out, a whole list of “bad” kings throughout Israelite history. However, “the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, ‘No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations” (8:19ff). Note: they do see this as sin eventually (12:19). Samuel called Saul as the first king according to God’s will. “Saul, a choice and handsome man” and it was for deliverance: “he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me” (9:16ff). Consider the initial character of Saul: God was with him, changed his heart, he had the Spirit mightily, was His anointed, and was set as king by the Lord (10:7, 9, 10, 24; 11:6, 15; 12:3, 13). Yet, in chapter 13 (like Adam), he prematurely took action by sacrificing without Samuel and was judged: “But now your kingdom shall not endure” (13:14). As in the case of Eli, it is often the case in history that the leaders reflect the people. We often get the leaders we merit. Why do we have leadership problems in our own day?
1 Samuel 12:23–24 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 “
We must trust in God, as revealed through Christ now and that dependence is expressed in prayer:
PRAYER - THE DEMONSTRATION THAT WE TRUST GOD, NOT THE ARM OF THE FLESH, NOT OUR OWN WISDOM, THAT WE ARE DEPENDENT ON HIM