INTERESTING FACTS : "SO GREAT IS MY VENERATION FOR THE BIBLE THAT THE EARLIER MY CHILDREN BEGIN TO READ IT THE MORE CONFIDENT WILL BE MY HOPE THAT THEY WILL PROVE USEFUL CITIZENS OF THEIR COUNTRY AND RESPECTABLE MEMBERS OF SOCIETY. I HAVE FOR MANY YEARS MADE IT A PRACTICE TO READ THROUGH THE BIBLE ONCE EVERY YEAR." -- JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
DAILY READING : 1 SAMUEL 9 - 12
TEXT : 1Sa 10:17 And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; 1Sa 10:18 And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: 1Sa 10:19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands.
THEME : FAITH IN GOD
In our introduction to the first king of Israel - Saul, we have some peculiar circumstances that Matthew Henry gives us an overview and insight.
"Samuel had promised Israel, from God, that they should have a king; it is strange that the next news is not of candidates setting up for the government, making an interest in the people, or recommending themselves to Samuel, and, by him, to God, to be put in nomination. Why does not the prince of the tribe of Judah, whoever he is, look about him now, remembering Jacob's entail of the sceptre on that tribe? Is there never a bold aspiring man in Israel, to say, "I will be king, if God will choose me?" No, none appears, whether it is owing to a culpable mean-spiritedness or a laudable humility I know not; but surely it is what can scarcely be paralleled in the history of any kingdom; a crown, such a crown, set up, and nobody bids for it. Most governments began in the ambition of the prince to rule, but Israel's in the ambition of the people to be ruled. Had any of those elders who petitioned for a king afterwards petitioned to be king, I should have suspected that person's ambition to have been at the bottom of the motion; but now (let them have the praise of what was good in them) it was not so. God having, in the law, undertaken to choose their king (Deu_17:15), they all sit still, till they hear from heaven, and that they do in this chapter, which begins the story of Saul, their first king, and, by strange steps of Providence, brings him to Samuel to be anointed privately, and so to be prepared for an election by lot, and a public commendation to the people, which follows in the next chapter. Here is, I. A short account of Saul's parentage and person (1Sa_9:1, 1Sa_9:2). II. A large and particular account of the bringing of him to Samuel, to whom he had been before altogether a stranger. 1. God, by revelation, had told Samuel to expect him (1Sa_9:15, 1Sa_9:16). 2. God, by providence, led him to Samuel. (1.) Being sent to seek his father's asses, he was at a loss (1Sa_9:3-5). (2.) By the advice of his servant, he determined to consult Samuel (1Sa_9:6-10). (3.) By the direction of the young maidens, he found him out (1Sa_9:11-14). (4.) Samuel, being informed of God concerning him (1Sa_9:17), treated him with respect in the gate (1Sa_9:18-21), in the dining-room (1Sa_9:22-24), and at length in private, where he prepared him to hear the surprising news that he must be king (1Sa_9:25-27). And these beginnings would have been very hopeful and promising if it had not been that the sin of the people was the spring of this great affair."
TRUTH FOR TODAY : FAITH IN GOD IS FOUND IN HIS WORD THE BIBLE.
About 400 years have passed from the time Samuel utters these words to the people and the prophecy of God through Moses that the people would one day ask for a king, thereby rejecting God's rule over them.
1Sa 12:1 And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. 1Sa 12:11 And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe. 1Sa 12:12 And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king. 1Sa 12:13 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you. 1Sa 12:14 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: 1Sa 12:15 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. 1Sa 12:17 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.
Here, we have the prophecy announced by Moses, before the land was even conquered.
Deu 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Deu 17:15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. Deu 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Deu 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. Deu 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: Deu 17:19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: Deu 17:20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
God foretold Israel's future through prophecy as He tells the future of the Church and of the world. All of these things are in the Bible. It is all written in His Word. 400 years before Israel asks for a king, God told them they one day would. He also tells them through Moses and Samuel that if they follow His instructions - even after they have rejected His reign over them through the Priesthood and Judges, He would still bless them. However, Israel still does not heed the written Word of God given through Moses and through Samuel.
God even prophesied of Israel's captivity [See Deuteronomy 29 - 30] knowing the generations to come would not obey Him. Again, we have similar prophecies written of the Church in the New Testament. That is, there will be [and now is] a departure from the faith in the last days. All of these Scriptures give us ample evidence and warning that God knows the future and warns us how to protect ourselves from His judgment and wrath.
It is all found in the Bible. When we use the expression - "trust in God," that statement is not loose, vague, imprecise, hazy, or ill defined. It is made clear by God through the revelation of His Word. Therefore, faith comes by a diligent study of the Bible, for God has announced and revealed His will in all that pertains to us in this present evil world for our good. All else - good motives and intentions, philosophy, feelings and emotions, intellectual gymnastics, religious affiliation, etc. are no substitute for a knowledge of God and His will found in this one phrase - "It is written."
311 times that phrase in found in the Bible. It is chiefly exemplified in Jesus dealing with the Devil on the Mount of Temptation.
Mat_4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Mat_4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Mat_4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Mat_4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Therefore, we will be well served to seek the old paths - the tried and true ways of God found in the Scriptures. For God has made His will, ways, and plans known inside the cover of The Book of Books. When we trust in God, let us be able to say "Because - it is written." This was the primary mistake of ancient Israel. They forgot God through the written Word and the words of the Prophets. They did not obey the revelation they had, and sought for spiritual matters in the gods of the nations, or the world. We cannot afford to make the same mistake. Therefore, let us read, study, and know God through His Word. God's Word is an anvil that has broken many hammers. His words will not pass away.