Samuel’s Farewell Address
12 And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” And 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 said, “He is witness.”
And Samuel said to the people, “The LORD is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and for your fathers. When Jacob went into Egypt, and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your fathers cried out to the LORD and the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. But they forgot the LORD their God. And he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab. And they fought against them. And they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. But now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, that we may serve you.’ And the LORD sent Jerubbaal and Barak and Jephthah and Samuel and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety. And when you saw that Nahash the 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. And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the LORD has set a king over you. If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. But if you will 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 and your king. Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the LORD will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the LORD, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for yourselves a king.” So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
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.” And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. 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. Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”
1 Samuel 12 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Take a moment to consider the goodness of God. Yes, even if at this point of whatever is going on, your heart has grown cold or distant or even indifferent, just consider for even a moment of His goodness.
Step back to your childhood. Let your mind wander through the hallways of memory of events and situations that marked you. Bring to mind the people who were in your life at a critical point. What events, even hard ones or yes unfair ones, were part of this story of yours being written?
Look for a moment in the life you lived in your twenties and thirties. What significant events took place that changed the course you were on? Despite what you may have faced, the hardship or trials even, where can you recall the providence, the goodness of God woven through those various stories?
And for those beyond these years, as you look upon events as the spring turned to summer and the winter came upon you; the golden years inescapable –where have you seen the hand of God shaping you, molding you, directing and using your situation where His goodness was prevalent?
The point of this exercise is to consider the thread of God’s goodness has always been there. It really has. Yes, there have been benchmarks of hardship for each of us. Death has come unexpectedly for someone we loved. Abuse may have marked and shaped a portion of our person. Difficulties and consequences of our own waywardness have clung to and shaped on some levels the path of which we walk. But the goodness of God has always been there.
I get so incredibly tired of people who choose to focus on these benchmarks rather than the faithfulness of God despite. I know some who these are the things they go back to again and again. They allow these to dictate their outlook but more importantly their relationship with Him where their hearts have grown cold. They blame God for everything. It’s the mark of a very immature person and Believer.
I lost a Father at the age of 10. I was abused as a child for several years. I made choices that laced my steps forever with hardship and consequences which were inescapable. These may have shaped me on some levels, that is for certain. But they did not define who I was. It’s not to say I’m some super mature Believer but to say I choose to focus on His goodness rather than some event that would drive a wedge between me and God. I choose to consider and remind myself of His faithfulness.
“Fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”1 Samuel 12:24
No matter what has been part of your story, God has been faithful. Even though you’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death, He has provided and done great things for you. As your heart has been shredded, your choices have made up even the current difficulties you face, He has been there.
Focus on His goodness, not the difficult benchmarks. Continue to serve Him faithfully. Let your heart and actions be defined by God’s ever-present presence rather than anything else. True freedom, genuine release, happens when you focus on His goodness through the years.
1 Samuel 12 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
When our vision is blinded to reality, sometimes the most effective reminder comes from God flexing His muscles. It would be the power found in a storm that would shake the people’s selfish hearts.
Samuel called on the LORD, and on that day the LORD sent thunder and rain. As a result, all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. 19 They pleaded with Samuel, “Pray to the LORD your God for your servants, so we won’t die! For we have added to all our sins the evil of requesting a king for ourselves.”1 Samuel 12:18-19 HCSB
Did you catch that? God sent a storm, and the people were filled with great fear.
“There could not, therefore, have been a stronger or more appropriate proof of a divine mission than the phenomenon of rain and thunder happening, without any prognostics of its approach, upon the prediction of a person professing himself to be a prophet of the Lord, and giving it as an attestation of his words being true. The people regarded it as a miraculous display of divine power, and, panic-struck, implored the prophet to pray for them. Promising to do so, he dispelled their fears.”Jamieson Fausset-Brown
How do the storms that God allows into your life draw you into His presence? The people feared God but they didn’t run from Him. They decided to engage Samuel and asked for prayer. It was his prayer that strengthened them and propelled them in the direction of total obedience. So, how much are you engaging others in your battle? When the storms come, do you seek out prayer warriors like Samuel?
Finally, through this miraculous act, the people realized their sin. Just several chapters earlier, when Samuel warned them of choosing a king, they scoffed at his wisdom. Now, they are filled with repentance. It’s amazing to me that this all came about from a storm.
Storms can bring fruit if we are dialed in. For the people in 1 Samuel 12, their renewed sense of God’s strength spurred them into prayer and brought their hearts to repentance.