Summary: Problems can be a source of great opportunity if we know how to use them to our advantage.
It was said that one of President Reagan's favourite stories involves a farmer and a lawyer whose cars just collided in a main street.
The farmer then took a long look at the lawyer, then reached in the back of his car and took out a bottle of whiskey.
"Here, you look pretty shook up," hes said. "Take a nip of this, it'll steady your nerves."
The lawyer took a few quick gulps. "You still look pale," said the farmer. "How about another?"
After taking five or six slugs at the farmer's urging, the lawyer suggested the farmer have a drink himself.
"Not me," declared the farmer. "I'm waiting for the traffic police."
Lesson: Don't get fooled by anyone.
It is always important to know the law so that you will not be in jail.
Today, we are going to talk about not getting fooled by people who wants to take advantage of you.
It is always good to receive the wisdom from God.
We are now in the eleventh chapter of the Book of 1 Samuel.
We have learned last week that Saul had been anointed with oil by Samuel the prophet.
He joined a procession of prophets and prophesied with them.
He was a changed man after this - transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Yet, when he was about to be introduced publicly by Samuel, we read that he hid himself among the baggages or supplies for fear of the great responsibilities ahead of him as king.
But when they took him out and he began to walk with confidence among them, he was a head taller than any Israelites.
Samuel said, "There is no one like him."
And the people shouted: "Long live the king!"
But not all of them accepted him as their new king.
The text says that there were some scoundrels who despised him and brought him no gifts.
But Saul just kept silent.
He knew that someday, his time will come to prove himself worthy of the calling as king.
It is on this context that we will learn in this chapter the difficult situation that ultimately changed in his favor.
Problems can be a source of great opportunity if we know how to use them to our advantage.
And so, let me give you a brief background of 1 Samuel chapter 11.
According to the Matthew Henry's commentary, the Ammonites are bad neighbors to those tribes that lay next to them.
They were descendants from Lot and hence dealt cruelly to Israel as their worst enemy.
If you remember during the time of the Judges, Jephthah had humbled them severely but now that Israel is being punished by God because of their sin, the Ammonites are in advantageous position to avenge that quarrel.
Jabesh Gilead on the other hand is a close neighbor to these Ammonites and previous to that had been destroyed by Israel's sword of justice because they did not stand up against the wickedness of Gibeah.
A lot of them were destroyed at that time, but after many years, their population were being replenished by those who had escaped the sword.
Now, it is again in danger of being destroyed by the Ammorites as if some bad fate attended the place.
Nahas was the king of the Ammorites who lay sieged to this little city of Jabesh Gilead.
We will study three things in this chapter:
1. Why Jabesh Gilead made a treaty with the enemy.
2. How Saul responded with anger to this aggression.
3. Saul's victory and his confirmation as king.
1. JABESH GILEAD MAKING A TREATY WITH THE ENEMY (vs. 1-3)
1 Samuel 11:1-3 (NIV) "Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.”
Here we find in verse 1 the agrression of Nahash, the Ammonite in laying siege to these weak and helpless Jabesh Gilead.
The name Nahash means "serpent from its hiss" which signify demonic cruelty and brutality.
The name of Jabesh Gilead however means dry, ashamed, withered or confused.
This is actually the character of the people of Jabesh Gilead.
They have become weak and withered in battle.
They have lost sight of their courage and valor as true Israelites after the sword of justice fell upon them.
They tamely yielded to serve the Ammorites without even a bold struggle to defend themselves.