Thursday, March 17, 2011

1 Samuel 10-12

Samuel anoints Saul in a private ceremony.  The anointing is symbolic of what Samuel hopes is happening in the spiritual world; that as he is pouring oil upon Saul's head, God is pouring himself out in the Holy Spirit upon Saul as well.  Later in the chapter as Saul finds the promises and prophesies of Samuel to be true, he does receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and begins to prophesy.  Samuel reminds Saul that Israel belongs to God but that he has been chosen to be the caretaker over these people.

Later the confirming of Saul is done publicly at Gilgal.  Gilgal is a sacred place and was the place where Israel renewed its vows with God after crossing the Jordan (Joshua 4). Saul is chosen by lot confirming him as God's selection for their first king.  Following this pronouncement, Samuel reminds Israel that in receiving a King they have also rejected God's perfect will for them.

The story of the deliverance of Jabesh is interesting.  Saul's victory secures the allegiance of all of Israel for his monarchy, but look at it closely......there is more.  Jabesh sees that it cannot win.  Its only hope is a savior.  The one who seeks to conquer it, Nahash the Ammonite, not only wants to defeat it but to abuse and humiliate as well.  Only a Savior will do in this situation.  Do you see how this story is a precursor of our fate.  There is one who seeks to defeat us, to humiliate us, to debase us and to destroy any chance that we would be able to effectively battle him again.  Only a Savior can save us from this fate.  Praise God, he has raised up a savior for us just as he did for Jabesh in Saul, Jesus has come to save us from our oppressor.  Isn't it interesting that we find so many illustrations that point us to the cross.

Samuel gives his farewell speech in chapter 12, but we will see him a lot in the next several chapters.  Even as he resigns his position before the people, they now have a king and a judge is not longer necessary, he reminds them of the great history of God's presence and deliverance.  He reminds them that a king will not be able to do all that God has done and just in case they needed a little reminder of his power he calls for thunder and rain during a season when thunder and rain do not normally occur.  God shows up again and they are convicted of their sin.  Like every good pastor, Samuel promises to continue to pray for the people and to teach them the ways that God calls on them to live.  Remember to do good and honor God or both you and your king will be swept away by history and by God.  A not so gentle reminder to us that we cannot hide behind power and wealth, God will be honored or God will deal with our failure to honor. 

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