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