1 Samuel part 6 11 Ė 13

 

Last week we me made our way to the end of chapter 10 where we learned about the humble Saul who was pronounced to be King. Well, tonight we will continue on and cover chapters 11 Ė 13. Now in chapter 11 we will see that Saul is going to prove that he worthy leader of the children of Israel.

 

1 Samuel 11:1Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, "Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you."2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, "On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel."3 Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, "Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you."

 

First of all I want to remind you about this place called Jabesh Ė Gilead. In Judges 21 we find out that the children of Israel that were located there did not help in the battle againstthe Benjamites who had committed that horrible crime against a Levites wife. The Benjamites were almost wiped out of existence before they stopped killing them. They were sad for what they had done and they had to figure out a way to repopulate the tribe of Benjamin however they could not give them their own daughters because they had made an oath not to. So the decided to attack these people at Jabesh- Gilead and they spare about 400 virgins for the tribe of Benjamin.

 

Now we have this new event happening. As you can see on the map Jabesh-Gilead is located just east of the Jordan River. The Ammonites believed that this territory belonged to them and they wanted it back. Nahash must have felt like he was very powerful as we see his strange demands. He wasnít satisfied with just making these people his servants he wants them all to gouge out their right eye. The elders of that city strike deal up with Nahash to wait 7 days for his answer so they could see if anyone would help them. Again this shows me that Nahash must have been very confident in his army to give this city time to round up an army if they could.

 

1 Samuel 11: 4 So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept.5 Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, "What troubles the people, that they weep?" And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh.6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.7 So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, "Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen." And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.8 When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.

 

As you can see on the map these messengers make there way to Gibeah where Saul was. When he heard the news it made him angry and was filled with the spirit of God. Now this would be his first test as the new appointed King of Israel. Now we need to remember the connection I made earlier. King Saul was Benjamite so it is possible that he may have had ancestors who had lived in Jabesh-Gilead which would make this even more of a personal matter. He chooses an unusually way to get the children of Israel attention. He slices up this yoke of Oxen and sends them through out the tribes and tells them the same thing will be done to their oxen if they donít come to fight. Now he doesnít threaten their lives but they would consider the oxen their livelihood. His demonstration works and 330,000 men come together to battle the ammonites.

 

1 Samuel 11:9 And they said to the messengers who came, "Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: 'Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.' " Then the messengers came and reported it to the men of Jabesh, and they were glad.10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, "Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do with us whatever seems good to you."

 

This news makes the men of Jabesh very happy but did you notice how sneaky they were. When they went out to speak to Nahash they gave him the impression that they would surrender to him tomorrow and allow him to gouge out their eyes or whatever he wanted to do. This bought them the time they needed for the Saulís army to show up and it would put Ammonites in position of ease because they think they have won.

 

1 Samuel 11:11 So it was, on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day. And it happened that those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

 

Saul uses a great battle tactic here as he breaks his army into three groups. Most likely one group attacked from left another from the right and the other down the middle and he also attacked them early in the morning when most of them would have been asleep. He plan works and proves that he will make a great commanded and king for the children of Israel.

 

1 Samuel 11:12 Then the people said to Samuel, "Who is he who said, 'Shall Saul reign over us?' Bring the men, that we may put them to death."13 But Saul said, "Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished salvation in Israel."

 

You might remember in chapter 10 there were some that were not to keen on Saul being made King and now that he had proven himself his followers wanted to kill those who had spoken against him. However Saul did not allow this instead he wanted to the people to rejoice in the salvation that God had provided against the Ammonites. As you can see Saul was still being humble in his heart as he gives God the glory for their victory.

 

1 Samuel 11:14 Then Samuel said to the people, "Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there."15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

 

Now that Saul had proven himself Samuel wanted to make this official recognition of Saul being King. Now in chapter 12 Samuel has a lot to say about himself and about the decisions they made on having King and how they should proceed.

 

1 Samuel 12:1 Now Samuel said to all Israel: "Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you.2 "And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day.3 "Here I am. Witness against me before the LORD and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you."4 And they said, "You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man's hand."5 Then he said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand." And they answered, "He is witness."

 

Here we see that Samuel wanted it made clear before the children of Israel and before God that he had not done them wrong during his entire life. They agreed with him that he had not done them wrong. Now notice what he says.

 

1 Samuel 12:6 Then Samuel said to the people, "It is the LORD who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt.7 "Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous acts of the LORD which He did to you and your fathers:

 

Now that he has there attention and they have all admitted that Samuel is a just man he now wants to remind them of the past. He tell them about how God had delivered them from their enemies in the past and how they rebelled against God back then by turning to useless idols. Then they would themselves oppressed by their enemy and then they would put away their idols and a cry out to God for their salvation and he would deliver them. Then Samuels makes his point by saying,

 

1 Samuel 12:12"And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, 'No, but a king shall reign over us,' when the LORD your God was your king.13 "Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the LORD has set a king over you.

 

Samuel is pointing out how they are being rebellious against God once again just like they did in the past because they wanted this earthly king to fight their battles for them and to be their savior when all along God was their King and their savior. However, because of love and mercy he has allowed them to have their King but there is something they must do from point forward as see in,

 

1 Samuel 12:14 "If you fear the LORD and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the LORD your God.15 "However, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

 

Now the children have messed up but God is willing to forgive them for this but from this point forward they must adhere to Godís commands and if they donít they will be punished just as fathers were punished in the past for their rebellion. Boy if there is one theme that you find out through the entire Bible its that God demands obedience to his commandments. This message has not changed because it applies to every Christian today. If you obedient to his will then you walk with God, however if you rebel against his commands then you will pay the price because you will find yourself separated from God. Now Samuel is about to give them a sign which will prove that the things he has just said are true and backed up by God.

 

1 Samuel 12:16 " Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes:17 "Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves."18 So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.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 the evil of asking a king for ourselves."

 

The children of Israel already knew the Samuel was prophet, priest and judge and that his word was true. But this really drove the point home when they witnessed this miracle of the rain and thunder which really made them think about what they had done. They understood that they had sinned against God and they feared for their lives. Then they asked Samuel to pray for them because of their many sins. Now I really like what Samuel is about to tell these people and it a message that we can all benefit from.

 

1 Samuel 12:20 Then Samuel said to the people, "Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.21 "And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing.22 "For the LORD will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you His people.23 "Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.24 "Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.25 "But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."

 

Isnít that a beautiful yet powerful section of scripture? This was great advice for them in the OT and it great advice for us today. Verse 20 makes it clear we are all sinners we have all been evolved in wickedness. Sometimes in our Christian lives we have weak moments and we sin against God willingly. Samuel is teaching us to recognize that we are sinners and at the same time he is encouraging us to continue to serve God. We should never allow the sins in our life to cause us to give up on God. We should always keep in the back of our mind that no matter how hard we fall in sin we must try our best to get back on track and serve God with all of our heart because he wants us to succeed.

 

Verse 21 shows the consequences of giving up on God. If you give up on him and yourself then you will find yourself clinging to things which cannot save you.

 

Verse 22 makes its clear that God will not forsake us and he will always be there for us because we are his people.

 

Verse 23 point out the importance of us praying for one another and for teaching one another the word of God. I really like verse 24

 

.24 "Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.This should be the motivating force in our Christian live. We should take time out of our busy lives to sit still and to start contemplating what God had done for us and how much he loves us and what he has promised us. If we can keep this in perspective we will have all the encouragement we need to fear the lord and to serve him in truth with all of our hearts.

 

Finally verse 25 lets us know that if we choose to forsake God and his ways then we will swept away and forever be separated from him. Samuel makes this awesome speech about the important of remaining faithful to Godís Word and you would think that Saul and the children of Israel were taken this all in but we are about to find out that Saul apparently wasnít listening all that well as find our in chapter 13.

 

After Saul had reigned for 2 years he gathered together 3000 men. 2000 were with him at Michmash and 1000 were with his son at Gibeah. Jonathan attacks the Philistines at Geba. This makes the Philistines mad so they gather together 30,000 chariots, 6000 horseman and a multitude of men and they set up camp at Michmash. This scared the children of Israel to death and they hid wherever they could find a place and some even fled across the Jordan into the land of Gilead but Saul remained in Gilgal and waited for 7 days for Samuel to show up. This is where I want to pickup in our story starting in verse.

 

1 Samuel 13:8 Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.9 So Saul said, "Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me." And he offered the burnt offering.10 Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him.11 And Samuel said, "What have you done?" And Saul said, "When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash,12 "then I said, 'The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.' Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering."13 And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.14 "But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."

 

This isgreat lesson on situation ethics. You see Saul thought in own mind that it would be ok in this situation to break Godís command since Samuel wasnít their to make the burnt offering. In his own mind he thought this would be acceptable to God. However Saul find out real quick that God was not pleased with this and now Saul kingdom would be taken from him and given to another. This gives a great example that there isnít a situation that can arise that makes it acceptable to sin. Some would say if you starving then its ok steal from another. However that is not true. Even if you are starving stealing is steal stealing. Must be careful today not to talk ourselves into thinking that a particular situation will justify any given sin because it didnít work for Saul and it certainly wonít work for us today. Now let continue on to the end of the chapter.

 

1 Samuel 13:15 Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people present with him, about six hundred men.16 Saul, Jonathan his son, and the people present with them remained in Gibeah of Benjamin. But the Philistines encamped in Michmash.17 Then raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. One company turned to the road to Ophrah, to the land of Shual,18 another company turned to the road to Beth Horon, and another company turned to the road of the border that overlooks the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, "Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears."20 But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man's plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle;21 and the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads.22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

 

As we come to the close of this chapter we see the Philistines appear to have the upper hand. They spread out North, East and West and they kill all the blacksmiths so that the children of Israel would not be able to have more swords made or sharpened. However we find out next week that no matter how powerful an army may be if God is on your side the powerful army will fall.