Summary: A great servant of God lives with integrity, with faithfulness and with love for his people.
Samuel anointed Saul as King in 1 Sam 10. He was selected by lot before the people.
• Chapter 11 Saul, filled with the Spirit of God, led the people to their first battle against the Ammonites and rescued their city Jabesh Gilead.
• The people were elated and affirmed Saul as their King.
The people now recognises Saul as their new leader. Samuel, the prophet, will step back from taking the leadership role.
• That’s where chapter 12 comes in. Samuel made a farewell speech to the people. Not that he would ceased to be a prophet, but as a leader of Israel.
• The nation would now look to Saul their King to lead them.
• Samuel is not stepping down, but stepping aside for Saul. A good leader knows when to step aside when a new leader emerges
Samuel modelled for us the marks of a great servant of God.
• We got to know him from the beginning, even before he was born, when his mother Hannah prays for a child (chapter 1).
• And how he was dedicated to God and being raised up by the priest Eli to serve in the Temple. He has been the prophet and judge for Israel, all his life.
THREE things stand out for me: (1) His Integrity (12:1-5);
(2) His Faithfulness (12:6-18);
(3) His Love for his people (12:18-25).
This is the mark of a great servant of God: HE LIVES WITH INTEGRITY
Samuel did not take advantage of his position, nor his people. And the crowd could testifies to this.
• To live with integrity for a period of time, that’s achievable. But Samuel lived that way all his life.
• From childhood to now “old and gray”, the people had nothing to accuse him of. He has been honest with God and with his people, in life and in ministry.
This is a remarkable example, considering the difficult circumstances he grew up in.
• The fact that Eli’s two sons were corrupt, and Samuel’s own two sons have also turned corrupt, shows that the environment wasn’t that good.
• 1 Sam 8:3 “But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.”
The temptations are there. The opportunities for dishonest gains are there. But Samuel has chosen to stay incorruptible! He has chosen to honour God, all his life!
• Our choices need not be dictated by the circumstances. Even in adverse circumstances, we can still hold on to our values and do the right thing!
I remember many years back a friend was interrogated by the police over the peddling of drugs, at the central police station. The police officer asked him many questions about his background and his family.
And at one point the officer made a very unfortunate comment. He said, “It’s your family situation. You have a broken family. Your parents are separated.” Hinting that this has caused the mess he got himself in.
My friend latched on to this comment and it became the excuse he held on to for many years. “I am what I am today because of my family. It’s my parents’ fault. There is no love in the family and that’s why I’m like this today!”
This is so unfortunate. We are never victims of the circumstances, so don’t choose to be one. By the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can always choose to do it right.
In other words, if we are in the Garden of Eden, we cannot blame God, we cannot blame the tree for being there, we cannot blame the beautiful fruit that hangs before our eyes, and cannot blame the serpent Satan for enticing us.
• We are blessed with the FREEDOM to CHOOSE - the freedom to choose from ALL the fruit trees that are there in the Garden of Eden.
• So we have ourselves to blame, if we choose to pick that one forbidden fruit!
Take ownership of our choices and actions. That’s the only way we learn and grown and improve. Improve yourself, no one else can.
• Otherwise, if we blame everything and everyone else, we are not going to change.
• Circumstances may be outside your control, but the way we respond to them is NOT.
Samuel mentioned in verse 2 that “my sons are with you”. His sons are now standing with the people in the assembly, and not with him.
• It was likely that Samuel had stripped them of their official posts and reduced them to the level with the common people. He disciplined them!
He says to the people: “If I’ve wronged anyone, without knowing it, then state it now, so I can make it right.” (v.3)