1 Samuel 8:1-10:8
Even the great prophet Samuel could not get his children to behave. Even though he had appointed his sons as responsible judges they ‘accepted bribes and perverted justice’ (v.3). The elders of Israel asked Samuel to appoint a king to rule over them instead. Samuel was upset about this but God saw it as a progression in the way they had rejected Him from the time of the Exodus. Samuel warned the Israelites of the oppression, taxation, exploitation and slavery that a human king would subject them to but they refused to listen. The Israelites wanted to be like all the other nations – with a king to lead them, go out before them and fight their battles (v.20). They rejected the chance to be special, to wholeheartedly choose God as their king. They rejected the all-powerful God, who had saved them repeatedly with stunning miracles, to put their trust in a mortal man. God told Samuel to listen to them and do what they wanted.
A tall man named Saul was sent out by his father to look for their lost donkeys. After much fruitless searching, his servant suggested that they should ask the man of God, Samuel, for advice. Samuel had been told by God to anoint the Benjamite he was now sending to him as king.
Samuel told Saul not to worry about the donkeys he lost three days ago – they had already been found. This supernatural knowledge would have impressed Saul who was told to eat with Samuel and listen to his prophecy the following morning.
The next morning Samuel took a flask of oil and anointed Saul’s head and kissed him. He gave him detailed prophetic instructions about who he would meet on his travels and where these encounters would be. Saul would eventually meet a procession of prophets and then, the Spirit of the Lord would come on him in power. He would prophesy with them and ‘you will be changed into a different person’ (10:6). We are changed into a different person – a new species – by repenting and renouncing sin, becoming baptized, inviting Jesus into our lives as our personal Saviour and asking the Holy Spirit to fully activate his gifts within us.
Samuel instructed Saul to wait for him at Gilgal for seven days. Samuel would come to sacrifice offerings to God. If Saul showed his obedience to these instructions, his kingship would be off to a good start.
Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem by shouting crowds: ‘Blessed is the King of Israel’ (v.13). Jesus rode into the city on a young donkey in accordance with Old Testament prophecy. People were still flocking to him because he had shown his mastery over death by raising Lazarus from the tomb. The Pharisees were even more envious of his popularity and success. Envy is what brought the whole of humanity down, because the Devil was envious of God’s special relationship with Adam and Eve and so vowed to destroy us, by demonstrating we are not worthy of God’s love.
People from other countries, such as Greece, were asking to see Jesus. They would take his teaching back to his home nations, sowing a seed of faith to be harvested by later disciples.
Jesus pointed out that when a grain of wheat falls to the ground and ‘dies’, it then germinates, grows and eventually produces many seeds. Jesus’ death on the cross (and his resurrection) would lead to the worldwide spread of Christianity to every nation on the planet.
If we serve Jesus, he promised that his Father would honour us (v.26). Jesus asked his Father to glorify his name and a thundering voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again’ (v.28).
Jesus said it was time for judgement and ‘the prince of this world (the devil) would be driven out’ (v.31). The reason Jesus came to earth was to destroy the works of the devil such as sickness, oppression and death.
Jesus predicted his own crucifixion: ‘But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself’ (v.32). Jesus’ heart was troubled (v.27) at the prospect of his self-sacrificial death but he trusted his Father would deliver him.
We need to choose Jesus as the light of our lives while we are still alive. Our mortal lifespans are short. Your life could end suddenly today or tomorrow and then it will be too late to choose eternal life. We need to come to him with urgency because once we are dead and darkness has overcome us, it will be too late to choose eternal life. His light will dawn within us and shine out to others, illuminating the way to Jesus and salvation.
‘Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons (and daughters) of light’ (v.36).
God forgives our transgressions, through the blood of his precious son, when we are overwhelmed by sin. He calls each one of us to him, we just have to respond to his voice. He knows our futures, who will respond to him and be blessed and who will reject his gift of eternal life.
Jesus created the whole wonderful world at Gods command: the magnificent mountains, the abundant land and the roaring seas. God cares for the land, watering it and enriching it.
He fills the world with flocks of Christians and clothes us with gladness so that we can shout for joy and sing.
He cares for our souls, filling our hearts with streams of living water from the Holy Spirit and enriching us with his word do that we can produce fruit in abundance.