1 Samuel 12

Leaving Office

The celebration of the kingdom is interrupted as Samuel stands before the people to offer a farewell address as he resigns from the office of judge of Israel. Samuel fulfilled the people's request for a king and suggests that it is time for him to step down from his role as a judge over Israel. Samuel admits the painful truth that his sons would not follow after him as judges. Surely memories of his mother, Eli, and the annual gift of new clothes flooded Samuel's mind as he mentions that he has served Israel his entire life. Samuel gives an account of his ministry and challenges the people to testify against him if he had abused his power as Judge in any way by taking bribes or defrauding his countrymen. The assembly made an oath before the Lord and his anointed Saul that Samuel had never compromised his integrity during his tenure.

Still Got It 

The old prophet is absolved of any wrong doing so he takes his moral authority and seizes the opportunity to employ the full prophetic arsenal. Samuel declares the Lord's care for their fathers and the righteous deeds performed on Israel's behalf. Samuel vividly depicted the sequence of disobedience, suffering, and salvation. God had given Israel the land but they forgot the Lord their God, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies. Israel's suffering and loss continued until they repented of their sin and then the Lord would come to their aid and save them from their enemies. When Nahash, the Ammonite king came against Israel, they insisted on having a king like all the nations. The Lord never failed his people, but when they faced the Ammonites, they disregarded God's faithfulness, rejected his rule, and placed their trust in man. God granted their request, and now they had a king over them like all the nations. God does not change, and the requirement for Israel was the same, they should fear, serve, and obey the Lord their God. Obedience leads to flourishing, but disobedience brings calamity. Samuel commands the people to stand still for a sign and to help them understand the gravity of their sin against the Lord. Wheat harvest is the dry season when rain scarcely ever falls, but Samuel announces that he would call on God to sent thunder and rain. The people trembled in fear as dark clouds gathered and the Lord sent a thunderstorm. The people sensed the enormity of their sin and feared for their lives. They begged Samuel to pray for them so that they might be spared. Samuel calmed their fears, but he sternly calls them to obedience. God had chosen and called Israel to be a people for himself, and he would not forsake them. Samuel resigned from being a judge, but he did not cease to be a prophet. He would continue to pray for Israel, and he would instruct them in the right way. Samuel would not sin against the Lord by failing to pray God's people. Samuel called the people to repentance and faith. He advised the people to consider the great things that God had done for them cautioning them that if they continued in their sin, they would be swept away along with their king.  The assembly dispersed; Israel returned to their tents and Saul went about the work of the kingdom. Samuel began a new chapter in his life, but he continued to serve the Lord and minister to the people.

Things To Consider:

  • Do you think this transition was difficult for Samuel? Why or why not?
  • How does integrity give leaders moral authority?
  • What mighty deeds has God done on your behalf?
  • Why do we downplay the consequences of sin?
  • Where do we look for salvation besides God?
  • Why do we look to man instead of to God sometimes?
  • Why is obedience necessary?
  • What does our obedience communicate to God? To others?
  • What empty things are you placing your hope in?
  • What people does God call to himself today?