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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

2020.07.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Read 1 Samuel 12

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Samuel say he has done (1 Samuel 12:1)? What people does he point out that the Israelites can observe in 1 Samuel 12:2? What challenge does he make to them in 1 Samuel 12:3? How do they answer in 1 Samuel 12:4? Whom do they call to witness (1 Samuel 12:5)? Whom does Samuel defend and vindicate (1 Samuel 12:6-7)? What had the Lord done in response to what, in 1 Samuel 12:8? What did they still do to the Lord (1 Samuel 12:9a)? And how did He discipline them (verse 9b)? What did this bring the people to do in 1 Samuel 12:10? What men did the Lord send at different times, in response to such crying out (1 Samuel 12:11)? What did they ask for, and when, in 1 Samuel 12:12? Why was this such an offensive request? To Whom does Saul get compared in 1 Samuel 12:13a? But Who is presented as giving Saul to them (verse 13b)? What will happen, on what condition, according to 1 Samuel 12:14? But what will happen if the condition is not met (1 Samuel 12:15)? What sign does Samuel call for (1 Samuel 12:16-18)? What did this show about their request for a king? What effect did the sign have upon them (verse 18b)? What did they ask Samuel to do an why (1 Samuel 12:19)? What does Samuel tell them not to do (1 Samuel 12:20a)? What does he tell them that they have done (verse 20b)? What does he tell them to do (verse 20c)? To what does he tell them not to turn aside (1 Samuel 12:21)? Why won’t Yahweh forsake His people (1 Samuel 12:22)? How does Samuel answer their request to pray (1 Samuel 12:23a)? What else will he do for them (verse 23b)? What three things does he command them to do in 1 Samuel 12:24? What will happen to them if they don’t (1 Samuel 12:25)? 
Although Yahweh had just worked a great deliverance for Israel (cf. 1 Samuel 11:13), their actual situation was ultimately one of great danger.  For, at the covenant renewal at Gilgal, Samuel turns prosecutor and condemns them for rejecting Yahweh as King ( 1 Samuel 12:121 Samuel 12:17).

This is often the way it is with us. God does something good for us, and we easily forget the greatness and wickedness of our sin against Him.

And that’s just what Yahweh gives them. Samuel has made a great case in his speech, but let’s be honest: often with God’s people, even the most plainly spoken and carefully reasoned theology and evidence is just in-one-ear and out-the-other.

Sometimes, we need vivid reminders… like a thunderstorm. This served two purposes.

One, of course, is to show that the Lord is genuinely angry at them, by giving a sign that is otherwise impossible. The dry season is no obstacle to Yahweh. Sure, the imaginary “Baal” might need all sorts of help when the rainy season is supposed to start up, but he doesn’t exist after all. But the true and living God shows His earnestness by the unusualness of the storm.

The other purpose of the storm is, well, to terrify them. We should tremble with awe before the Word of God, because of the greatness of the God of the Word. But, we are spiritually sluggish. Sometimes, it takes a little lightning to jolt us into respectfulness.

By the time the storm has brought forth its fruit, the people are begging for prayer for their survival, which the prophet (as the apostle, cf. Galatians 2:10) assures them is the very thing that he wished to do (1 Samuel 12:23a). Once they have seen the greatness of God’s glory, they are prepared to be comforted that it is this very glory which God has invested in doing good to His people.

Only, let them who hope in Him to glorify Himself by showing them mercy not despise that glory. The warning in 1 Samuel 12:25 is not an empty threat, as the history of Israel will prove.

Do you and I take rejection of God’s lordship seriously in our sins? Then let us tremble at His Word. But let us also be stirred up to undauntable confidence in His redemption, and persist in repentance and faith.
How might you be downplaying your sin against God? How does His saving you for His own glory help you to be sure, amazed, and thankful about that salvation?
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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