Stay Warm

Matthew 24:12 – And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
The gospel always overpowers the creeping chill. Read more…

Today’s Sermon Notes

1 Samuel 12

Since the first people sinned against God, there has been a constant conflict in the world. Yes, a conflict between people but also something deeper. There is a constant conflict between the power of God and human power. We should not be confused, conflict does not mean there is competition. God’s power is immense and limitless, but He is also longsuffering and forbearing. The conflict between human power and God’s power is primarily engaged in the heart and mind.
In Samuel, Israel has been asking for a king like all the other nations. They wanted a human king to provide them with safety, stability, victory, resources, and security. God saw this as a direct rejection of His authority as king (1 Sam. 8:7) as He had promised He would provide each of these. They rejected the kingdom (kingship) of God for a human regime.
As Christians, we acknowledge that God is over all and Jesus Christ is King. It is literally who we are by definition. We believe that one day the kingdom of God will come in its fullness and be the only option, but until then, we face conflict. Our belief puts us into a power challenge of values and submission.
Human power outside of submission to God always challenges God’s way.
Human wealth or value offers pleasure or security without need for God.
Human reason attempts to explain life without reference to God.
Human institution assigns purpose of people without going to God for it.
Human power, wealth, reason, and institution all have their place within God’s good creation and rule. The problem comes when they do not come under submission to God’s power and rule first. Are we keeping this order in our lives?
1. The Situation – 12:1-5
The “old order” was being replaced by something new.
a. Samuel tells “all Israel” that he has listened to them and anointed a king.
– He did this in obedience to God’s command and choice.
b. Samuel visibly presents the two options in front of the people while
defending his own integrity.
– The rest of the chapter is spent telling the people of Israel that though the
“new order” is being installed, it is still God that rules over all. The people
and their king are still responsible to Him.
2. The Reminders – 12:6-13, 16-19
a. Samuel reminds Israel of the goodness and faithfulness of God and reveals
their unwillingness to have faith.
Slavery in Egypt -> Called on God – God sent Moses and Aaron, brought them out, and gave them the land.
Judgment by their enemies -> Called on God – God sent judges, delivered by miracles, and restored their safety.
Threatened by Nahash -> Asked for a human king – God gives a king.
b. Samuel reminds Israel of the power of God by asking for rain in the middle
of the driest season.
God answers this prayer and sends storms. The people respond with awe-filled reverence and fear asking Samuel to pray because they see their sin.
3. The Ultimatum – 12:14-15
a. The new arrangement of leadership is not a transfer or shift of authority.
Vs. 14 states that these requirements are for the people and the king. They are all to follow God together. He is still over all.
b. God is still clearly expecting repentance from their rejection of Him as king.
c. The alternative to repentance was complete disaster.
The wording is the same used toward the Philistines. (1 Sam. 5:9, 7:13)
His hand would be against them. They would become an enemy of God. They would truly be like all the other nations.
The people and their king are still required to submit to another kingdom. To refuse to obey would be considered rebellion against God’s authority.
4. The Renewal of the Kingdom – 12:19-25
a. After a stern warning and a stormy sign, Samuel says, “Fear not.”
This doesn’t sound all that reasonable. Especially when we consider their own and our tendency to fall away and not obey.
b. The reason was because God would not forsake His people for His great
name’s sake. God had chosen the people in His own goodwill.
Something bigger was constantly at work in Israel’s wellbeing.
This is a difficult intersection of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, but we cannot deny the truth of either.
God would not allow His good purposes to be destroyed. Israel was unreliable in their faith, but God was reliable in His faithfulness.
c. Israel is compelled, “Don’t turn away to useless, powerless things.”
d. Samuel promises to continue to pray and teach.
e. Israel is called to consider God and respond.
Gospel note: We have been called away from things that do not satisfy and cannot deliver. We have placed our faith in Jesus Christ and like Samuel (but better) He has promised to intercede and teach us. We are called to daily, consider God and respond.
Application: What does it mean to follow God? – 12:14
1. Fear God – Consider and revere Him; stand in awe and see clearly. What are some things that we can consider about God that will help us revere Him?
2. Serve God – This speaks to more than simply doing the commands. Serving speaks to a committed and consecrated purpose. When we consider the greatness and glory of God, why does it motivate us to deeper service?
Vs. 24 says, “Serve him in truth with all your heart.” Isn’t this more than simply doing all the right things? There is relationship in this description.
3. Obey His Voice – Out of awe and relationship, we seek to do His will. Obeying the voice without knowing the Lord is miserable. Israel had tried that often. They ran from Him every time they did. Obedience is still essential, but it comes out of understanding. When we consider God (vs. 24) how does it lead to obedience?
4. Do Not Rebel – Notice that the Bible references awe-filled, relational obedience and then presents the only other option as rebellion. You cannot be “neutral” or stagnant toward God. He just doesn’t view it this way.
Note: Think of the Jewish exiles reading this book years later in Babylon. They have experienced the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophetic warning. They have been swept away into exile. However, 1 Samuel 12 speaks to God’s unwavering commitment to and purpose in His people. It reminds them that it is the Lord and not a human ruler or kingdom that provides and protects His people. How should someone living in a moment of exile and destruction respond to this chapter?
They too can renew their allegiance to the Lord personally by confessing their sin, consider the Lord, serve and obey Him, and reject the worthless idols of the world.
Reading for next week: 1 Samuel 13 – answer and discuss the questions
1. Spot the difference in verses 3 and 4. What happened? What was heard?
2. What were the people doing while following their human king in vs. 8?
3. What prompted Saul to begin the sacrifice in vs. 8-9?
4. What three things did Saul say factored into his disobedience in vs. 11?
5. Saul was tall, handsome and attractive as a king, but vs. 14 tells us that God has chosen a new king with what description?
6. What was the physical problem in vs. 19-22?