I Samuel 12
Notes by Ivan Ho 27 May 2016
I Samuel 12
In this chapter, Samuel who was now an old man, poured out his heart to the people whom he had served since he was young. He was not just a preacher of sermons but a national leader who connected people to his God. There are a number of things one can learn from his life and his ways of leadership (his life rather than just leadership skills).
- He listened to the heart cry of the people.
Now Samuel said to all Israel: “Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you.”
I Samuel 12:1 NKJV
He heeded the voice of people in demanding for a king, and responded by taking up this matter with the Lord. He was not a dictatorial leader who only knew how to impose his ways on the people whom he served. His communication with the people wasn’t a one way monologue. The people’s voice was important to him and he listened to them.
- He consulted the Lord frequently before he made his decisions.
But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord . And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.”
I Samuel 8:6-7 NKJV
The first thing Samuel did when he heard from his people was to pray to the Lord to seek His advice, and the Lord responded to Samuel and let him know His mind on the issue. At first, Samuel was against the idea of the king, but God, who also saw the wickedness of the heart of the people in seeking a king instead of God, convinced Samuel to grant the people’s wish. That is one thing that sadly, some leaders are not doing today and often make rash decisions without consultation with the Lord.
- He followed the Lord’s instructions.
The Lord told Samuel that it was actually God whom the people had rejected in asking for a king to rule over them, but nevertheless granted their wish and gave them a king. God also guided Saul to Samuel who anointed the former king over Israel. God also guided Samuel when he later anointed David as the king of Israel. If Samuel did not consult with the Lord and followed His instructions carefully, he could have picked the wrong national leaders who were not God’s choice. Samuel could also have made himself king over Israel against God’s will.
- He lived a clean and uncorrupted life.
And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.” And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.” Then he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they answered, “ He is witness.”
I Samuel 12:2-5 NKJV
Since his childhood to his old age, Samuel walked cleanly before the people who could see his life totally uncorrupted, who stole nothing from them, and the Lord was his witness. How many leaders today can say the same thing and allow the people to watch over their life and how they handle finance? But Samuel challenged the people to see if he had mishandled their properties and they could not find any wrongdoings!
- He learned from God’s dealings with the forefathers
Then Samuel said to the people, “ It is the Lord who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did to you and your fathers: When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord , then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place….”
I Samuel 12:6-12 NKJV
Samuel, when confronted with the issue of the people demanding a king, not only consulted the Lord about the matter, but also studied history how God led the forefathers in His dealings with the people. Samuel also used this to reason with the people. There are many things we can learn from past leaders, their strength and success as well as their weaknesses and failings. Not only that, we need to learn how God guided these leaders in their relationship and dealings with the people.
- He spoke plainly the heart of God to the people.
“Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you. If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord , then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord , but rebel against the commandment of the Lord , then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.”
I Samuel 12:13-15 NKJV
Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord , but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. Only fear the Lord , and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”
I Samuel 12:20-21, 24-25 NKJV
Samuel was not a people pleaser. He spoke to them the heart of God and told them plainly what the Lord expected from them how they should conduct their lives. He was not afraid of offending the people and loosing the crowd. He instructed them to follow the Lord instead of giving them some nice sermons to keep them happy. How many leaders today would say things like: “you have done all this wickedness..” but Samuel was simply communicating the heart of God to the people.
Samuel also taught the people the good and right way. (1Sam 12:23)
- He never ceased praying for the people.
Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.
I Samuel 12:23 NKJV
Samuel constantly prayed for the people and without ceasing, just like Jesus spending time with the Father and praying for His disciples.