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God Is Still In Control When I Make Poor Choices

1 Sam 8:6-9; 1 Sam. 12:13-19, 1 Sam. 12:20-25,      June 27, 2010


       Do you believe God is in control when everything seems to be in a state of Chaos. Sometimes it is not easy to really believe that, and even harder to defend. But I believe it. The story of an old railroad engineer helps me to understand this truth.


1.   God Is In Control Even When We . . Reject His Direction. 1 Sam. 8:6-9

    6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." So Samuel prayed to the Lord .7 And the Lord said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.

8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day — with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods — so they are doing to you also. NKJV

(Dake Annotated Reference.)

Verse 6

a [displeased Samuel] Samuel was naturally displeased because this request was a rejection of both God and himself, for he was at that time their recognized judge (1 Sam 7:6,15-17).

Verse 7

a [they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them]

God Rejected by Israel (1 Sam 8:7)

Samuel, like all men of God, went immediately to Him in prayer. The Lord told him to do as the people had requested, saying, "they have not rejected you, but Me" (1 Sam 8:6-8). God recognized that these were a stubborn people determined to have what they set their hearts on, and that being rejected as their King was not as bad as being forsaken by them to serve other gods — a sin they had been committing since leaving Egypt (1 Sam 8:8). God further instructed Samuel to protest their choice and make it plain to them that this would increase their burdens, being more costly than the present theocracy which was a simple form of government requiring only faith and dependence on God (1 Sam 8:9-18). Regardless of this, Israel was determined to have their king (1 Sam 8:19-22).

(Dake Annotated Reference.)

(Life Application Study Bible.)

1 Sam. 8:6

8:5, 6 The people clamored for a king, thinking that a new system of government would bring about a change in the nation. But because their basic problem was disobedience to God, their other problems would only continue under the new administration. What they needed was a unified faith, not a uniform rule.

Had the Israelites submitted to God's leadership, they would have thrived beyond their expectations (Deut 28:1). Our obedience is weak if we ask God to lead our family or personal life but continue to live by the world's standards and values. Faith in God must touch all the practical areas of life.

(Life Application Study Bible.)


2.   God Is In Control Even In The . . Results Of Our Choices. 1 Sam. 12:13-19

13 "Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord , then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. 15 However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord , but rebel against the commandment of the Lord , then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

16 "Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes:

17 Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord , and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord , in asking a king for yourselves." 18 So Samuel called to the Lord , and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. 19 And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves." NKJV


(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Verse 13

a [the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you] Three statements about Saul:

1.    The king whom you have chosen

2.The king whom you have desired

3.The king whom God has set over you

Verse 14

a [If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him ...] The 7th prophecy in 1 Samuel (1 Sam 12:14-17; 1 Sam 12:15-17 are fulfilled). Next, 1 Sam 24. Two predictions of Samuel:

1.    If you will not obey, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers (1 Sam        12:15)

2.    I will call upon the Lord and He shall send thunder and rain that you may see your own wickedness (1 Sam        12:17)

1 Sam 12:14-15 are a clear example of conditional prophecy, the fulfillment of which depends on whether men obey or disobey God. All prophecy is based upon conditions of one kind or another, even if they aren't specifically stated in the prophecies. Blesssings are based on obedience, and curses on disobedience.

Verse 16

a [Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes] Samuel now spoke of a great sign he was going to bring immediately to confirm that they had sinned in asking for a king. He would pray to God who would answer with thunder and rain so Israel would know their request had displeased God. This was called a "great thing" because such rain in the time of harvest was so exceptional as to be understood as divine judgment (cp. Prov 26:1; Gen 8:22).

Verse 17

a [Is it not wheat harvest to day?] Question 49. Next, 1 Sam 13:11.

Verse 18

a [greatly feared the LORD and Samuel] Three effects of the sign upon Israel:

1.    They greatly feared the Lord and Samuel

2.    They begged Samuel's intercession for them so they would not die (1 Sam 12:19)

3.    They acknowledged their sin of asking for a king, something they never admitted before when accused of it (1 Sam 12:19; 8:1-6,19-20)

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

(Ryrie Study Bible: Expanded.)

12:13-18 Samuel warned Israel that the king would procure the anticipated deliverance only if they would fear the Lord and give up their rebellion against God.

12:17-18 Because rain during the wheat harvest (May-June) was uncommon, this thunderstorm was considered a sign from God.

(Ryrie Study Bible: Expanded.)

(Life Application Study Bible.)

12:12-15 God granted the nation's request for a king, but his commands and requirements remained the same. God was to be their true King, and both Saul and the people were to be subject to his laws. No person is ever exempt from God's laws. No human action is outside his jurisdiction. God is the true King of every area of life. We must recognize his kingship and pattern our relationships, work life, and home life according to his principles.

12:17 The wheat harvest came near the end of the dry season during the months of May and June. Because rain rarely fell during this period, a great thunderstorm was considered a miraculous event. It was not a beneficial miracle, however, because rain during the wheat harvest could damage the crops and cause them to rot quickly. This unusual occurrence showed God's displeasure with Israel's demand for a king.

(Life Application Study Bible.)


3.   God Is In Control Even In The . . Return Of His People. 1 Sam. 12:20-25

20 Then Samuel said to the people, "Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord , but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. 22 For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord , and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king." NKJV

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)

Verse 20

a [Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart] Samuel made it clear that they had sinned; but now that it was over and forgiven he did not advise doing away with the king. They should proceed to establish the kingdom and make the best of it. Seven commands to Israel by Samuel:

1.Fear not

2.Turn not aside from following the Lord

3.Serve Him with all your heart

4.Turn not aside, for then you will go after vain things which cannot profit or deliver (1 Sam 12:21)

5.Only fear the Lord (1 Sam 12:24)

6.Serve Him in truth with all your heart

7.Consider great things He has done

Verse 21

a [go after vain things] If people do not go after the true religion they will go after the false which cannot save the soul or deliver from evil.

Verse 22

a [the LORD will not forsake his people] Three promises of Samuel (1 Sam 12:22-23):

1.    God will not forsake His people

2.    I will not cease to pray for you

3.    I will teach you the good and right way

b [for his great name's sake] Three reasons for God's faithfulness:

1.For His great name's sake

2.    It pleases Him to make you His people

3.    Considering how great things He has already done for you, and knowing He is always the same — He will not change (1 Sam 12:24)

c [please the LORD to make you his people]

Fourteen Things That Pleased God (1 Sam 12:22)

1.    To make Israel His people (1 Sam 12:22)

2.    Balaam blessing Israel (Num 24:1)

3.    Solomon desiring wisdom to bless the people (1 Kings 3:9-10)

4.    Sacrifices of righteousness (Ps 51:19)

5.    What He has done (Ps 115:3; 135:6)

6.    His own righteousness (Isa 42:21)

7.    For Christ to be bruised to redeem and heal men (Isa 53:10)

8.    His only begotten son (Matt 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22)

9.    To save men by the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor 1:18-21)

10.  To set the members of Christ into His body, the church (1 Cor 12:18)

11.  Calling of Paul (Gal 1:15)

12.  That all fullness dwell in Christ (Col 1:19)

13.  The testimony of Enoch (Heb 11:5)

14.  Sacrifices of praise (Heb 13:15-16)

Verse 24

a [Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart ...] The 8th prophecy in 1 Samuel (1 Sam 12:24-25, a conditional prophecy fulfilled because of disobedience, 1 Sam 31). Next, 1 Sam 13:13.

Verse 25

a [But if ye shall still do wickedly] After making it clear that God blesses if men obey Him, this warning was given to stress that if they did not obey, both the king and the people would be destroyed.

b [consumed] Hebrew: caphah (OT:5595), to scrape; scatter; remove; ruin; perish; consume; destroy (1 Sam 12:25; 26:10; 27:1; Gen 18:23-24; 19:15,17; Num 16:26; Jer 12:4; Prov 13:23). It never means annihilation or extinction of being, but physical death and ruin in hell.

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)


(Ryrie Study Bible:.)

12:22 God's name signifies His reputation and character.

12:23 Samuel regarded failure to pray as a sin against the Lord.

(Ryrie Study Bible:.)

(Life Application Study Bible.)

12:22 Why did God make Israel "his very own people"? God did not choose them because they deserved it (Deut 7:7,8), but in order that they might become his channel of blessing to all people through the Messiah (Gen 12:1-3). Because God chose the people of Israel, he would never abandon them; but because they were his special nation, he would often punish them for their disobedience in order to bring them back to a right relationship with him.

12:23 Is failing to pray for others a sin? Samuel's words seem to indicate that it is. His actions illustrate two of God's people's responsibilities: (1) They should pray consistently for others (Eph 6:18), and (2) they should teach others the right way to God (2 Tim 2:2). Samuel disagreed with the Israelites' demand for a king, but he assured them that he would continue to pray for them and teach them. We may disagree with others, but we shouldn't stop praying for them.

12:24 This is the second time in his farewell speech that Samuel reminded the people to take time to consider what great things God had done for them (see 12:7). Taking time for reflection allows us to focus our attention upon God's goodness and strengthens our faith. Sometimes we are so progress- and future-oriented that we fail to take time to recall all that God has already done. Remember what God has done for you so that you may move ahead with gratitude.

(Life Application Study Bible.)