We Want a King! – 8

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Scripture Text – 1 Samuel 7-11

For centuries, the people of Israel had looked to Jehovah as their King, but then they came to a point where they asked the Lord to give them a king just like the other nations. It was a critical time in the history of Israel, and it took the prayers and guidance of Samuel to bring them safely through this dangerous time of transition.

Serving The Lord – Continued

Please read 1 Samuel 11:1-15 to get the background for this section.

The conquest (1 Samuel 11:4-15) – continued. Saul may have known the story of Gideon and his defeat of the Midianites, because, like Gideon, he divided his army into three parts and attacked Nahash’s army at night (Judges 7:16, 19). The morning watch was from 2 to 6 a.m., so he caught the enemy by surprise and completely routed them. Saul succeeded because he was empowered by the Spirit of God who both used Saul’s natural gifts and gave him the wisdom and strength he needed. Being at the head of an inexperienced army of 330,000 men wouldn’t be an easy task, but God had promised to give the victory and it was God that won them the battle that day. The will of God will never lead us where the grace of God can’t keep us and use us.

When Saul was chosen king, he was given authority from God and from the nation, but when he won this great victory, he gained stature before the people. It takes both these qualities to be an effective leader. The difficulties began later when Saul’s pride and outright arrogance inflated his authority and began to destroy his character and his stature. David was humbled by his successes, but Saul became more and more proud and abusive. We do admire Saul for not using the victory as a means of getting rid of his enemies as he could have done, but instead he was noted for giving glory to the Lord (1 Samuel 11:13; Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:17). Effective leaders use their authority to honor God and build up their people, but ineffective leaders use the people to build up their authority, ego and prestige. Later on, Saul began to do just that however, and that is what led to his failure.

et god gives victory

Samuel seized the opportunity and called the nation together to give thanks to the Lord and to affirm the king and the kingdom. They met at Gilgal, near the Jordan River, a place that had solemn associations for the Jews (Joshua 4:19–5:11; 7:16; 10:8–15; 13:4). At the Mizpah assembly, they had accepted God’s king, but at Gilgal they confirmed Saul as king before the Lord (1 Samuel 12:1). Probably the most modern example for the ceremony would be a “coronation.” The peace offerings were part of a covenant ceremony in which the people sacrificed to God and then had a meal of some of the portions of the animals they gave to God. It was clear to everybody that the king and the nation had entered into a renewed covenant relationship with the Lord and were responsible to obey Him.

Samuel had anointed Saul privately at first without others aware of it and then he presented him to the people, and now Samuel led the nation in an act of dedication to the Lord. It was a time of spiritual revival and national rejoicing. Saul had passed his first test, but it wouldn’t be long before he would fail in a much simpler test and lose his kingdom. Saintly Andrew Bonar used to say, “We must be as watchful after the victory as before the battle.” Saul won his first battle, but he would lose the victory.

Many of God’s children today are not aware that after a victory, it is one of the most susceptible times for temptation from the enemy. You have won a battle and the temptation to bask in the joy and victory of it can lead to pride and a failure to give God the honor due to Him. After a victory, is one of the best times for a warrior to hit their knees, give thanks and praise to the Lord, and to ask Him to allow the Holy Spirit to keep their heart and spirit in the right attitude.

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Successful, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture links provided by Biblia.com

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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