Read 1 Samuel 12
Samuel gives the king and the nation serious warnings (I Sam. 12:14-15,23-25) and we should all take heed. Saul reveals his failure when he usurps the office of the priesthood. For this disobedience, he loses the kingdom (13:8-14). Saul's son Jonathan trusts God, leads a bold thrust into enemy territory, and Israel is victorious (14:1-23).
Saul was commanded to remain in Gilgal until Samuel arrived, and was warned not to offer sacrifices until Samuel returned. These sacrifices were to be offered before the battle. God delayed Samuel until the last day of the appointed time to test Saul's faith in the Word of God, as well as to test his character and humility in waiting for the appointed man of God to perform the sacrifice. But Saul feared defeat by the Philistines, and he knew a burnt offering should be performed before the battle; therefore, he justified his actions since war appeared imminent, his army was fearful, and many were deserting him. Saul presumed that, under the circumstances, violating one spiritual principle and performing another would bring success to the nation of Israel. He thought obedience was less important than sacrifices.
Samuel warned the people: If ye will fear the Lord, and serve Him, and obey His voice, and not rebel against the Commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the Commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers (I Sam. 12:14-15).
Obedience is giving up one's will to the will of another; it is therefore the "sacrifice" of the whole person. Even in Israel there were many people who seemed too poor to bring the least costly offering to the Altar of the Lord; but no one is ever too poor to tithe in recognition that we are not our own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (I Cor. 6:19-20). Our utmost desire should be to do the will of God, seek His guidance, and submit to His Commands. It is this principle of faith which alone can make a sacrifice acceptable. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him (Heb. 10:38). Pride and self-will have a strange way of blinding the eyes and blurring the principles of Truth and integrity.
Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. . . . But without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:1,6).
Thought for Today:
And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy require of thee, but fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul (Deut. 10:12).
By Samuel the intercessor (I Sam. 12:23). Right now Jesus is interceding for believers. It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).
12:4 taken ought received a bribe; ought anything; 12:21 vain worthless; 13:10 salute welcome, greet; 13:17 spoilers raiders; 13:20 share . . . coulter . . . mattock agricultural tools; 13:21 goads iron points used to prod animals; 14:8 discover ourselves let ourselves be seen; 14:16 melted away scattered in all directions; 14:20 discomfiture confusion.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Government Official: Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) • Country: Brazil (168 million) in South America • Major languages: Portuguese and Spanish • Religious freedom • 67% Catholic; 21% Protestant; 4% spiritist; .7% Buddhist; .7% Muslim; .15% Indigenous; 2.4% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Give thanks to the Lord and praise Him openly, for He has redeemed you through His blood and forgiven all your sins (Col. 1:12-14).
Optional Reading: Acts 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:9