Saturday, February 24, 2024

February 24, 2024

Samuel was in tune with God’s heart and felt displeased with Israel’s treatment of God and him in calling for a king. He gave them a history lesson of all God had done for them, recounting His deliverance of them beginning with their release from Egyptian captivity. Samuel reminded them of his service to them, starting as a child, and that he had never extorted or stolen their possessions. You could almost feel his broken heart through the pages of scripture. They agreed that he had done nothing wrong and knew him to be a good man. It was wheat harvest time, and to show that he still had God’s ear and how wicked they were, he asked God to send rain and thunder, and it rained that day. The people feared both God and Samuel and asked him to pray for them. 

And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. 1 Samuel 12:19

Some who do not want Jesus to reign over them will still want his help when they are experiencing God’s wrath and will ask us to intercede on their behalf. They may despise us now and have zero respect for God, but they will want us to pray for them. It’s the perfect opportunity to show compassion so they may see how good God is. Even though the people had hurt Samuel, he still prayed for them. 

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 1 Samuel 12:23-24

Friday, February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024

Saul proves he will be a useful king. Nahash, an Ammonite, sought to oppress the people of Jabeshgilead, but the citizens met with them to facilitate a deal to make them their servants rather than kill them. Nahash offered them the deal to put out one of their eyes and then make servants out of them; he gave them a week to decide. They sent a messenger to Saul, and the spirit of the Lord came over him because of the people's weeping. Right there, in the field where he was attending his herds, he killed his ox and sent pieces to each city in Israel, telling them that he would kill their ox just like this if they didn't send a regimen of fighting soldiers to help their people in Gilead. All the fighting men were assembled under the command of Saul and showed up before time was up. They killed most of the Ammonite soldiers, sending the rest back home without their friends. Because of the victory, some of the men wanted to kill those who doubted that Saul would be a good king, but Saul was so happy over the victory that he told them that no one would be killed that day. They celebrated by giving God a peace offering. 

What are your first thoughts after a victory? Even when I see the victory coming, I immediately praise God before it happens. Then, when it is accomplished at the hand of God, I am ecstatic and praise him some more! Do yourself a favor and praise God during your weeping. He will hear you and devise a plan; it may take time to work out the details, but He will be victorious on your behalf.

Be a peace. Help is on the way!

Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there. And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly. 1 Samuel 11:14-15

Thursday, February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Samuel anointed Saul to become king of Israel. He gave him a list of things that would happen on his way home. Everything Samuel told him came to pass. The most striking was when he came across the school of prophets and began prophesying with them. It was at that point God changed his heart. People saw him prophesying, which became a sign to them to prepare their hearts for him to become king. Samuel called an assembly for all of Israel to attend, where they cast lots to choose their king. The tribe of Benjamin was called forward, eliminating the other tribes, then Saul’s family was chosen, and his name was called. Saul being chosen in this manner proved that he was chosen by God. Saul didn’t come upon hearing his name; he was hiding, probably hoping someone else’s name would be called. Some men went to get him and brought him back. When Saul stood among them, he was a head taller than the rest of the people. Samuel proclaimed that none were like him, and all the people said, “God save the king!” Saul was now king, but he went home to his daddy along with a group of volunteers whom God had placed on their hearts to attend to him. Even though he was now king, there was still a transition period and process of learning how to handle his new authority. 

One day you lose your donkeys, and the next day, you’re king! That’s how quickly life can turn around for you and any of us. Though the transition may not be easy, it is a learning process that strengthens us along the way. If you are going through a trying time, ask God what you should learn from this situation rather than hide among all the stuff like Saul. Come out and face your challenges!

Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. 1 Samuel 10:22

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

I’m trying to stick to one chapter a day, but just when it starts getting good, it cuts off to the next chapter. It’s getting close to the time that Samuel appoints Saul as king, but the Bible details what happened leading up to that point. Saul’s dad had some donkeys run away and sent him and a servant to find them. They desperately looked for them without success for three days. Saul remembered that there was a seer or prophet in the nearby town, so they decided to consult him, but they didn’t have anything to offer him because they had eaten all the bread. However, the servant had some silver, so they went to find him. Samuel had been told by God the day before that they would be showing up the next day to make Saul captain over his people. Samuel wanted him to stay overnight and have supper with him and some friends, so he eased his mind about the donkeys and told him they had been found. Samuel gave him the shoulder of the meat, most likely as a symbol of Saul shouldering the weight of the people of Israel. The next day, Samuel had Saul send his servant back home so he could tell him what God had said. 

What’s the lesson? When God has a plan, he will carry it out to completion. He will use whatever means necessary to put that plan into action. Look at Saul’s desperation over the donkeys; it shows that our stress can set us on the path toward God’s destiny for us. Hang in there when things get tough; it’s all a part of God’s plan!

And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left! set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day. 1 Samuel 9:24

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

Did you know that Samuel had two sons? He had appointed them as judges, but they loved having money and took bribes from the highest bidder, making unfair judgments. The people got tired of the injustice and asked Samuel for a king, saying he was getting too old. My commentary says that he was around 60 years old! There's nothing like the Bible reminding you that you're getting old; I turn 60 this year. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that God was their King, and by asking for an earthly king, they were not only rejecting Samuel, but they were also rejecting God. When Samuel went to God, he comforted him by understanding his emotional pain because He felt it, too. If you've ever had that fleeting thought that God doesn't understand you, know this: he has felt the sting of rejection just as we have. Go to Him when you are hurting emotionally; he understands you more than any human can. Make and keep Him as the King of your life; he wants you to rely on Him above all others. He sees your pain and can comfort and quiet your soul, bringing you peace that is unequal to the peace that any earthly being could ever bring you.  

This verse brings tears to my eyes because I can almost feel God's pain. Rejection is bitter, but God's comfort is healing.

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 1 Samuel 8:7

Monday, February 19, 2024

February 19, 2024

Israel finally turned their hearts back to the Lord at the direction of Samuel. They got rid of their idols, repented, and lamented the wrong they had done by turning their backs on God. Samuel had them gather at Mizpeh, where they poured out water as an offering resembling tears of repentance. And there, Samuel slayed a lamb, burned it, cried out to the Lord for Israel, and God heard him. As Samuel prayed and made the offering to God, the Philistines drew near for battle against Israel. Because Israel turned back to God, he helped them. God made a loud thunder against the Philistines, and it frightened them, giving Israel an advantage, and they were able to send them running scared. They could then reclaim the cities that were lost to them, and peace was restored. Samuel became like a traveling evangelist going from town to town, keeping the people on track and tuned in to God. 

When the church is absent, the people go their own way, neglecting God and turning to other things for comfort, though there is no comfort without acknowledging God. Many Christians became complacent during the outbreak in 2020 and have yet to return to their church. If you have been staying home in your pajamas watching church online, now is the perfect time to return, participate, and become an integral part of the body of Christ. We need to be together to be The Church!

And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. 1 Samuel 7:9

Sunday, February 18, 2024

February 18, 2024

The Philistines had kept the ark of the covenant for seven months and paid the price in their health. They moved it into a field, and the mice ate all their crops; they paid the price with their food. They had had enough and enquired of their priests and diviners to tell them what to do. The priests and diviners recommended sending it away using milk cows with newly weaned calves and a cart. It was a test to see if God had power because if those cows, fond of their calves, carried the ark back to Israelite land, it would show his power. After all, ordinary cows would try to find their calves. However, they couldn’t send it back without an offering for their sin, hoping God would heal them. So, they fashioned depictions of tumors and mice out of gold to send with the ark. God showed them who he was by taking the ark back to Israel. They believed in the power of God yet didn’t turn away from their fake gods. Israel, on the other hand, knew of God’s power, knew the law, and were never allowed to look at the ark, much less look inside of it. 

When the ark came back to their land, they rejoiced! They used the wood from the cart to make a fire to sacrifice the cows. But, because of their curiosity about the contents of the ark, over 50,000 Israelites died because they broke the law by looking inside. They knew better, much like us. We know what God expects from us and still go our own way. Be grateful for Jesus, who has cleansed us of all our sins, past and future, but don’t forget to confess, repent, and pray; it’s as much for your good as it is for God’s ears. To hold onto sin without confession is harmful and can destroy your mind. Look at all the people paying the price for calling bad behavior good; their brains are fried because the enemy has overtaken them. Remember to repent, confess, and pray; it’s good for a healthy mind. The lesson is never to underestimate the power of God!

And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us? And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you. 1 Samuel 20-21

And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. 1 Samuel 7:1

Kirjathjearim kept the ark for 20 years.