Reading through the Bible together
After Saul saved the city of Jabesh-gilead, he was crowned king and at the Coronation ceremony, Samuel the prophet, spoke to the people and said, “I have listened to your voice and given you a king. Here he is! He is young and strong but I am old and gray. Witness against me, have I taken anything that was not mine? Have I cheated anyone? Oppressed anyone? Bribed anyone?” The people responded, “You have not done any of these things.” Then Samuel said, “The Lord is witness to what you said.” They responded, “The Lord is our witness.”
Then Samuel reminded them of all the mighty things that the Lord had done for Israel in the past through leaders like Moses and Aaron, also later when Israel prayed and cried to the Lord for help He used men like Gideon and others to save them from their enemies. Then Samuel continued, “And when Nahash, king of the Ammonites, threatened to take the city of Jabesh-gilead, the Spirit of the Lord came on Saul who was plowing in the field, and he defeated the Ammonites for you. Yet you persisted on having a king when the Lord was your king and had done great things for you. So here is the king whom you have chosen. Now obey the Lord and if both you and your king continue to follow the Lord all will go well with you. But if not, the hand of the Lord will be against you as He was against your fathers when they disobeyed.”
To show the people the power of the Lord, Samuel prayed for thunder and rain. The Lord heard Samuel’s prayer and sent thunder and rain. Then the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel His prophet because this was at the time of the wheat harvest when there are no such storms. When the thunder and rain were over, Samuel encouraged the people and said, “Don’t fear. You have not done right in choosing a king, but follow the Lord and serve Him with all your heart and He will not forsake you. And God forbid that I should sin by not praying for you and continue to teach you the good and right way.”
The first lesson in this chapter is obvious. Those who claim to have the gift of prophecy—and over the years some in our church have made such claims—as well as all leaders need to be as honest and upright as Samuel. In all they do, they all must be willing to say, “The Lord is our witness.” The second important lesson is for us to accept Jesus as our king, to accept His prophets, and to believe that if anything needs to be adjusted at the head of the work, in His own time He will set things right. The third lesson is that we not sin by not praying for our church and for those who are chosen to preach and teach what is right.
Jack J. Blanco
Southern Adventist University