After the battle is won, people still want to punish, so they want to go against the men who didn’t think Saul could be their king. Saul does not allow the men to be put to death because the Lord has saved them again. Samuel tells them to go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom, so they again make Saul king and they celebrate.
Then Samuel reminds them of the great sin they have done by choosing to have a human king over God. The people hear him tell of the history of the Lord’s providence and saving them over and over when they were in situations brought about by their turning away from God. They finally seem to understand that they have sinned greatly. Samuel reminds them not to do it again out of their discouragement, but to turn to God with their entire lives. Samuel also assures them that he will continue to intercede for them as God as tasked him. The chapter ends with Samuel again warning them to stick with God or be swept away along with their king if they turn back to wickedness.
The people of Israel, Samuel, the men that did not think Saul should reign over them, Saul, the Lord, Moses, Aaron, the forefathers of Israel, Jacob, enemies: Sisera and the Philistines and the king of Moab, Jerubbaa and Barak and Jephthah to deliver them, Nahash- king of the Ammonites
Verse 23 “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.”
1 Samuel 12:19 “And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.”
1 Kings 8:35-36 “”When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.”
2 Chronicles 6:26-27 “”When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray toward this place and acknowledge your name and turn from their sin, when you afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.”
Psalm 27:11 “Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”
Proverbs 4:11-15 “I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.”
Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.'”
Samuel is in a position much like Moses, he hears from God and then tells the people what He says. Here he is assuring them he will continue to seek God, stand in the gap, intercede, pray for them. He also says it would be sin not to. It is our job as well to pray for people in our lives. To pray continuously, in fact. But I know that there are many people I struggle to pray for. Whether it is because I am mad at them or their decisions, or feel so lost and hurt by them, or cannot understand them. Whatever the reason, if God has told me to pray for them, it is sin to not pray for them. As I read these cross references, too, I realize that my prayers matter in ways that may not be me controlling anything through prayer. I will be able to stand before the people though and show I have done no wrong before them as Samuel does in this passage. Because in prayer God will reveal to me my own sins I will have to deal with those things so that I can live a life that is focused on God instead of blinded by other people. If you have any of those people, please write them down in a place you can see, and take time every day to pray for them for one month. Write down notes of what God tells you when you are praying, and after a month reflect on your own heart. You are most likely to change in this time, for the better, of course.
Jesus in the Old Testament
“Drawing together some threads from the story of Saul, we discover a clear gospel balance: just as works without faith count for little with God, so also claims to faith that do not issue in active obedience are meaningless. As James later writes “faith apart from works is useless” (James 2:20). It is faith alone that puts us right with God. Yet the kind of faith that puts us right with God is never alone.”*
James 2:18-20 “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?”
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share with us.
Next Week: 1 Samuel 13
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