Back to Posts
Feb 14, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 45

Sarah Christmyer

Just Getting Started? Read what you’ve missed and check out Bible reading resources

Bible Time Period: Royal Kingdom

You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne: Establish your kingdom in our midst.

Period Preview

In the preceding period of Conquest and Judges, Israel entered and occupied the promised land of Canaan but failed to completely drive out the Canaanites.  The book of Judges showed what happened when Israel chose its way over God’s way.  They did not teach their children what they had learned.  Every man did what was right in his own eyes.  They married the Canaanites, they worshiped their gods, they became like them.  The horrors narrated in the final chapters of Judges paint a vivid picture of just how far they fell.

The book of Judges does have its high points, its examples of faith and of God’s faithfulness to His children.  But the rollercoaster of sin, supplication, and salvation leaves us wondering:  just what will it take to break the cycle?  And where is the kingdom God promised?  Other than the 12 judges, there has been no real leader over Israel for nearly 200 years.  By the first chapters of 1 Samuel, the people have had enough and demanded a king so they could be like the other nations.

The next period is the Royal Kingdom, which is told in the rest of 1 Samuel, in 2 Samuel and in part of 1 Kings.  This is the long-awaited time in which God will establish Israel as not merely a nation, but as his kingdom.  He will Israel what they asked for (a king) and in the process, He will give them (ultimately) what they need and what He means them to have:  His own kingship.  The people may be fickle, but God never forgets His promises.

You will read about many people in this period.  Focus on the three kings who reign in this high point of Israel’s history, each for approximately 40 years:  Saul, David, and Solomon.  Today’s reading introduces the first king, Saul.  The tall, handsome hero from the tribe of Benjamin unites the 12 tribes of Israel into a kingdom but ultimately will lose the kingdom when he fails to trust God.

Today’s Reading

I Samuel 9-12

Today’s Question

What is the gist of Samuel’s farewell speech to Israel in chapter 12?

Join the discussion below!

Has Ascension's free media strengthened your faith?
You can now offer ongoing support for this content with a recurring gift.
Support Ascension

Get your favorite Ascension content sent right to your email!

  • What a beautiful speech to hear at any given time on the face of this planet Earth! I felt that
    Samuel could be standing at a podium in a hotel giving his farewell address to us all. The comments apply today as they did back then.
    Samuel warned this group of people to give up worshipping idols and serve God. He also added that “If you will fear the Lord and serve Him and hearken to His voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord,
    your God, it will be well.” 1 Samuel 12:14. He continues, though and says the wrath of God will come down upon you and your king if you continue to sin and ignore God’s laws.
    Samuel does reassure the group to hold tight to that fear of the Lord, but do not turn away from God because He has done so much for His people. So serve the Lord with all your
    heart and remember that God made man, ‘a people for Himself’.
    Such a riveting speech. It caught me off guard because my ‘false idols’ are everywhere! At times I put more faith in them than I do God! How did I ever get to this state of
    fallen grace? I never thought that ‘idols’ could creep into my life and begin to take over as being more important than God! Shame on me. Should one of these materialistic items break, oh dear!! Life ends until it is fixed or go out to purchase a new one! I think Samuel’s speech is one to set into the recesses of my mind and do a bit of soul searching about what is important in my life and what isn’t.

    • What a beautiful summary of Samual’s speech. It was truly God working through him that made the beautiful impact of what he had to say to the people. I love the connections You made in your life and growth still to come. I too see where I need to work on ALWAYS prioritizing God.

  • In Samuel’s farewell, he mentioned that the people asked him for a king. But that means insulting the Lord for it is the Lord who is their true king. There were rain and thunder came from the sky and the people were frightened. They begged Samuel and the Lord not to be angry with them. Samuel told them to simply serve the Lord with all their heart. In doing so, the Lord would forgive their transgressions and protect them and their king. To fail to do so means all will perish. (Sorry, my computer, not working working for almost a week, I missed you all.)

  • Happy Valentine’s Day! I found Samuel’s farewell speech to be uplifting but filled with warnings and reminders to trust God. I also think he reminds them that God will forgive and not desert them but implores them to be faithful.

  • Welcome back Jose!!
    Samuel also brought to their memory all the times that they have sinned against God and God did not desert them. God will not desert us either if confess our sins and are truly sorry for them.

    He gave them a complete rundown of their history. I enjoyed the entire speech because it brought back to my memory the previous readings.

  • Samuel Chapter 12 clearly emphasized that God is truly the only one. God is the one whom we are to live our life for not humans who somehow become idols in the life of others. Samual reviews this through different angles. Samuel Admonishes the People by giving them specific details of when they have fallen and God was there to save them. This is where I need to put more focus on trusting God in my life. I pray for this, read scriptures that verifies my faith and yet when the test comes around I don’t always take the path of the Lord. What I am really working on to improve is to take time and think through and am getting better at asking for Gods help in making the decision he has set out for me.

    Chapter 12 in this reading is truly hitting home for me. What is really standing out to me here is to know God is the only way to eternal glory in heaven and therefore this passing through on Earth is a short journey. I do believe the only way to get to eternal glory is to carry my journey out by following the god’s work. At this time in my life I am going through some of the most difficult obstacles. Patience, trust and faith in The Lord is the only way I want to get through these challenges but, it is definitely a a challenge.

    Another connection in this particular reading is the opportunities that God gave them back then to do right by him. God continues giving us these same chances to do right by him and we will be okay. He forgives us over and over again. I an so thankful for the forgiveness and Love God gives us.

    • Hang in there, Carla. My prayer for you is strength to endure your struggles that patience and discernment will be yours at the end of the day.

  • God has allowed a King to rule despite this being a distraction from His Kingship over His people. I am amazed at how far God goes to accommodate our inadequacies to comprehend and follow him! Samuel gives context to their situation: he presents the bigger picture with warnings from their history and warnings about their future infidelity to God. We know the people of Israel struggle to live in the “bigger picture” they are fickle and swayed by immediate concerns. This is also true of us.

    • Just like a parent with a stubborn child, wouldn’t you say? Sometimes we have to let our children have their way in order to learn valuable lessons.

    • It is very hard for me to live in the “bigger picture” I wonder how many Israelites actually saw the bigger picture. They still have 1000 years to go before the fulfillment to the promise. We have had almost 2000 thousand years of the fufillment of the promise Many of us do not see the big picture that is the Great thing about Blessed Pope John Paul II he saw the big picture yet he was able to relate to individuals

      • I am sure you are living in the “Bigger Picture”: the life of Christ and relationship with God. I agree that the small details of our lives, and our gestures and expressions of love are where this relationship shines.

  • What an amazing farewell Speech. What it reminded me of was a coach, in the locker room at halftime, with their team trailing by a lot, telling them LETS GO! ITS TIME! THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. NOW GET OUT THERE! Definitely one of the most vivid accounts where you could just picture Samuel in front of the people. Just as the players leave the locker room after halftime pepped and ready for victory, Israel is ready for their other chance….”Now then, stand ready to witness the great marvel the LORD is about to accomplish before your eyes.”

  • Samuel reminds the people of his faithfulness and integrity as a prophet. This encourages them to listen and believe his reminder of all God has done for them thus far; how God remains faithful to their covenant in spite of the people’s continued faithlessness. He warns them that God has delivered a king as they asked, they are in grave danger – this kingship could be their undoing – if they do not remain faithful to God and His decrees.

  • The purpose of Samuel’s speech seems to be the “installation of Samuel” (I really can’t think of a better word) Samuel first establishes his own authority, Then he gives a brief history of the Israelites, And notes that God is reluctantly granting their request for a king he shows God’s Power with a miracle (an unseasonable thunder storm) He warns the people not to turn to idols. In the conclustion he binds the actions of the king and the actions of the people. If the people do evil the king will suffer with them if the king does wrong the people will suffer with him.

  • Samuel’s farewell speech was a reminder to the Israelites of the number of times they fell away from God and only returned when things got to difficult for them. He was trying to get the message through that they should follow God in the good times as well as the times of trials and tribulations.

    The thing that really struck me was that they rejected God and demanded a king. Their prayers were answered and they got a handsome man standing above everyone else and what happens? Chap 10: 27 ” But some worthless people said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no tribute.” This took my breath away, God answered their prayers and yet some were ungrateful and rejected the king. Then I thought about how many people might have been praying for God’s mercy and salvation whilst Jesus walked the earth, some accepted and followed Him, but others straightaway rejected Him. It makes me think about whether I always have been thankful, grateful and accepted all of the abundant blessings God has given me.

  • What a powerful farewell by Samuel. I hope his two sons had open ears! The gist of it for me is the admonition to walk the walk. A couple of times he tells the people to love and worship God with their “whole heart”. God is love; His love for us draws us to Him and the deeper we enter into relationship, the more we understand our dependence on Him and that all we are and have is from Him.
    Thinking about relationship with God, isn’t it amazing that Samuel can ask for thunder and rain to make his point …. and get it?! And think about (until now) insignificant Saul who asks about his missing asses and gets told he’s going to be the king of Israel … oh, and by the way, your asses are fine!!
    I love that Samuel tells them two things that Jesus will one day tell His followers repeatedly : do not fear and The Lord will not abandon you. Blessings to all.

  • Jesus said (Lk 4:21), Today the scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing. A powerful word of Saul, no one will be put to death this day, for today the Lord has rescued Israel (1Sam11:13)

  • I like the way Samuel started his farewell speech. ‘Do not be afraid’. Reminding them that even though they had done wicked things in the past, they should keep heir allegiance with God and serve him faithfully. Because God is merciful and he remains faithful.

    Samuel being a man of God had to reassure his people and leave them with sound guidance
    reminding them that their useless idols won’t save them – it will only deceive them – only God saves – and also warning them that there is always a consequence to every action, inspite of them being disloyal, they can still return to God or they will perish. His mission as God’s servant was fulfilled.

    Today, in our busy livestyles, it is a lesson we can all learn from, we sometimes forget who it
    is that gives us our daily bread. Our selfish hearts make us believe that we do it all by ourselves (Me, me, me). Lord may I always remember to “seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteous and all good things will be given to you” (Matt 6:33).

    • I had not noticed the begining of the speach was “Do not be afraid. Fear makes do such stupid things does it not?

  • Before dying, Samuel vindicates his ministry before the people of Israel, once again calling them to repentance. He solemnly reviewed the past with its gracious revelations of Yahweh’s loving-kindness. If Israel had co-operated with them, human sovereignty would have been superfluous. Now that kingship was an accomplished fact, he outlined the religious principles which must guide both king and people in the future and assured them of the protection of his intercession. Israel stood at the threshold of a new era. Samuel was the living link between the past and the future. At this moment the greatness of his character and importance of his work stand out in clear relief. Long years of devotion to Yahweh and the religious needs of his age had made him a venerable and awe-inspiring figure—the last and greatest of the Judges.

    In a scene reminiscent of 11:14–15, he leads the people in renewing their commitment to God. At the close of this chapter, Saul and Israel are poised to reap God’s covenant blessings. However, the threat in v. 25 hints at what awaits Israel and its new king.

  • Samuel reminds Israel of God’s goodness throughout all time. He brought their ancestors up out of Egypt, “but they forgot the Lord their God” (12:9). This happened over and over again. Then he gives them a human king to reign over them (even though the Lord is king, but they don’t realize or appreciate it). So he gives them King Saul, and he warns them that they and their new king must fear and obey the Lord; “and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well; but if you will not heed the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king.” (v14-15)

    I see the stage being set for God to bring forth a new King of the Jews in the future. One who, like the Lord God, will continue to love His chosen people in spite of their tendency to sin. This Valentines Day (and as we prepare ourselves for Lent this week), let us remember the Greatest Love Story Ever Told, the Passion of Christ. Samuel urges Israel to “serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless” (v20-21). So must we do the same.

    Last year on Valentines Day, I took a picture that captured the image of the crucifix in the most unlikely place. What a great reminder to me of Jesus’ profound love for humanity.
    http://www.mygraceandhope.com/fullmoon.htm

    • Thank-you Marianne, for sharing the pictures of the image of the crucifix in the moon, the cross in the trees across the street from your window, and the light coming out from Our Lady of Guadalupe’s heart. God gives us little miracles all the time, showing us His presence…if only we take the time to look.
      Toward the end of Chapter 12, when Samuel responds to the people’s plea for him to pray to the Lord for them…it took me forward to today. I meet with a prayer group each week and on Friday’s to pray the Patriotic Rosary. On both occasions we pray a ‘Prayer to Heal Our Land’. It is beautiful, and contains some of Samuel’s words.
      “Lord, who are we as a people, having been given blessings in portions as no other nation before us? What has become of us, Father? We have spoiled your spacious skies with buildings and cities breathing with sin. The amber waves of grain are no longer viewed as our blessing but as our due. The awe and reverence due You when we gaze upon the purple mountains and their majesty is no longer held; rather, how much pleasure they can give us. Father, we have spurned You. We’ve blamed our problems on those who promote darkness, but You gave us time with Your Mother. Now our eyes have been opened by Her. Our lack of holiness, our not being light has allowed darkness to prevail. Indeed, our sins which we wrongly view as small have allowed those in darkness to commit great sins without shame. We now realize it’s because of our failings as Christians. Father, Samuel told your people, ‘It is true you have committed all this evil, still you must not turn from the Lord, but worship Him with your whole heart. For the sake of His own great name, the Lord will not abandon His own people’. Father, we come before You with our whole hearts and ask You to grant Our Lady Her intentions.
      Mary, we do not deserve to even be heard, yet we know Your Son’s passion merits that we are. Mary, we call You as You have called us. Please, intercede before God to forgive us, to heal us, to heal our families, and to heal our nation.
      Father, grant Mary’s intentions and hear Her pleas for us. We know you are justly irritated with us but we beg and plead for forgiveness through our repentance from our hearts. We realize our nation is headed toward disaster by so many signs You have given us. Holy, Holy, Holy God, grant Mary Her requests that we may again be your people, not a nation above God but one nation humbled and under God. Amen”

  • I fear Samuel is preaching to deaf ears as he recounts Israel’s sinfulness – supplication – forgiveness cycle since their exodus from Egypt. Samuel goes over this damaging cycle with them reminding them that they must love and obey their only God and turn or repent from their sinfulness. They have gotten what they want – a king – but that this too is a gift from God. They will still be held accountable to the God Almighty as will their king. In other words, the appointment of a king by God will not shield them from God’s wrath as it won’t shield the king.

  • Even though the Israelites have turned their backs on God yet again and insist on an earthly king like other nations, God is still loving and taking care of His people. He gives them a king, Saul. Since they feel they must follow an earthly king, God wants that king to follow and obey Him, and consequently, the Israelites will follow God, as well. As long as they follow and obey God, all will be “well and good.” But if they, people and king alike, rebel against God, “the Lord will deal severely with you and your king, and destroy you.” (1 Samuel 12:14) The lessons of the OT are very relevant for all generations. As a nation, when we follow God, prosperity and blessings follow us. But when we turn from God, our morals, our security and safety, our society decline and fail. Again the question, will we ever learn?

  • God desires to be our King. In asking for an earthly king the Israelites turned their backs on God. God in His mercy forgave them and granted their wish. God established rules for the king and the relationship to the people. If either the king or the people do evil they will be swept away. I see here the beginning of the tension between the Kingdom of Heaven and kingdoms of earth. The false idea of an earthly Messiah the majority of the Jews held at the time of Jesus. Jesus said “my Kingdom is not of this world” . We must always keep our eyes on the “Heavenly Kingdom” and reject the false gods of this world.

  • The farewell speech is a beautiful summary of God’s faithfulness and the Israelites unfaithfulness and even though God did not want them to have a king, he bends to their wishes. God tries to meet us more than 1/2 way to bring us into a relationship with Him.

  • In 600 AD. on 16 February, Pope Gregory the Great is said to have coined the phrase “God Bless you” when someone sneezed. The Justinian Plague began in 541. Called this because it took place while Justinian I (482-565) was emperor of the Byzantine Empire. Probably, 5,000 people a day died from it, 25 million world wide. Sneezing was an early symptom of this plague. By saying “God Bless you,” people hoped that the disease could be halted in the one who had sneezed.

    The thoughts for meditation come from “The Little Black Book,” based on the writings of Bishop Ken Untener (1937-2004) who was inspired to create the Little Books which continue to this day during Lent and other books for Advent and Easter and beyond. http://www.littlebooks.org

  • And here we are just three days away….good maybe to jot down some notes on what you want to do during Lent…..

    Like fasting from worry and guilt; feasting o trusting in the Lord–Where in my life do I fail to trust in the Lord? “Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.” (Psalm 51:1)

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

    Loving and gracious God, help me to fast from anything that leads me away from you and teach me to feast on all that brings me closer to you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

  • Samuel’s farewell speech is a warning to the people of Israel that if they lose or turn away from God’s way, the Lord will be against them and their King. He promises he will never turn away from God and will pray for the people to not go astray either. He pleads with the people as Moses and Aaron did, and as all the prophets who had the trust and faith in God.

  • Is anointing or choosing a king during the time of Samuel, the same as electing a president today? Will it imply that we reject God? Is this the reason the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not submit to the civil authority? They do not salute to a flag of a country where they are citizens.

  • >