In I Samuel 12, we have Samuel describing his readiness to die. He has helped Israel find a human king, and now he wants to know if he has been honest in his dealings with God’s people (vv. 1-3). The people respond that Samuel has been honest in his life with them (v. 4).
Samuel gives a history lesson, reviewing the “evidence” of “all the righteous acts performed by the Lord for you and your ancestors” (v. 7). He reviews the stories of Jacob entering Egypt, the sending of Moses and Aaron, the deliverance out of Egypt, and the settling in the land of Canaan (v. 8).
But Israel forgot the Lord who then turned them over to the Philistines and the Moabites (v. 9). God answered their cry for rescue by sending Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel, granting His people safety (v. 11).
But then Israel demanded a human king. Samuel then warns the people to obey the Lord or “his hand will be against you” (v. 15).
Samuel then tells them to stand still and see a great thing that the Lord will do before their eyes. Samuel calls on the Lord who sends thunder and rain, showing that their demand for a king was “an evil thing” (vv. 16-18). Thunder and rain come and the people ask Samuel to intercede for them so that they will not die! And they say, “for we have added to all our others sins the evil of asking for a king” (v. 19).
Samuel agrees with them, but challenges them not to turn away from the Lord to idols, but to serve the Lord with all their hearts (v. 20). Idols will do them no good, cannot rescue them, “because they are useless” (v. 21). He then says, “For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.” (v. 22).
Samuel then says, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.” (v. 23). He then issues a warning: “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
Some takeaways from this chapter:
(1) It is critical that spiritual leaders lead lives of integrity! (vv. 1-5).
(2) It is beneficial to do a history review of all the Lord’s “righteous acts” which He has done in our lives! (vv. 6-7)
(3) God is certainly capable of punishing His people when they forget Him (vv. 9-11).
(4) We need to warn ourselves and others not to turn away from the Lord to idols. Idols can’t rescue us (as God can) and they are useless! (vv. 20-21).
(5) God was pleased to make Israel His own people (v. 22).
(6) I sin against the Lord when I fail to pray for the ones God wants me to pray for (v. 23).
(7) We need to hear and to heed warnings about not serving the Lord faithfully with all our hearts (vv. 24-25).