The Israelites thought God's ways were out of style like many do now. Samuel's warnings to them are just as relevant today.
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1 Samuel 12 Summary
Today's chapter begins in the middle of Saul's coronation ceremony which began after Saul rallied the armies of Israel to defeat the Ammonites.
The first point that Samuel makes as he abdicates his role as the last judge of Israel (he will remain as a prophet) is that Samuel's rule over the people was above reproach. Often times rulers tend to blame previous administrations for the woes their people are experiencing, and Samuel wants to makes sure Saul will not be able to do that.
Samuel makes it clear that the future problems the Israelites will experience will be the result of their rejecting God as their warrior king in favor of an earthly king so that they can be like the nations (1 Samuel 8:20).
After giving the people a quick history lesson demonstrating the ongoing pattern in which the Israelites cry out for salvation → God saves them → the people once again wander away from God, Samuel makes it clear how God's people (then/now) must move forward:
Serve the Lord with all your heart
Do not turn aside
Consider what great things he has done for you
This ancient history has relevance for our society today, as commentator Richard Phillips notes:
Whenever we turn aside to our own schemes and plans, or to the world’s schemes and plans, as opposed to God’s, we are heading for trouble. Such an abandonment of the Lord is seldom explicit: it is merely that we become drawn in by some worldly strategy or approach to ministry or personal growth, having lost confidence in God’s Word and the methods taught there. Whenever this happens, we are heading for disaster, because God’s way is the true and right way and also because God actively punishes the unbelief and disobedience of his people.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God has promised never to forsake us, His people (v22)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the strength to follow God's ways, even when they're so different from the world's.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: