Samuel was a faithful servant of God, and he affirmed this in his address to Israel. He also affirmed the sovereignty of God in their most recent victory. He reminded them of the history of God's blessing on them. He recalled their disobedience in Judges (Jerub-Baal is another name for Gideon, Bedan is another name for Barak), and how they had asked for a king out of fear of the Ammonites.
He then confirmed Saul as king and gave them the familiar "If-Then" statement:
If they fear, serve, listen to, and not rebel against the LORD,
then they will be well.
If they did the opposite,
then the hand of the LORD would be against them.He asked for thunder and rain from the LORD to confirm that they had done wickedly by asking for a king in hopes of putting the fear of the LORD in their hearts.
They responded in fear and asked Samuel to pray for them. So he encouraged them to not fear, serve Him in truth, follow the LORD with all their heart, and consider what great things He had already done because He would not abandon His chosen because of His great name.
Through it all, gracious Samuel would pray for them.
Sometimes, people around us make poor choices. As much as we would love to convince them that their path is leading them in the wrong direction, I agree with the old adage that says, "A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Samuel explained everything he thought was wrong with their decision, he laid out where they needed to go. Then, he told them he would give it to God in prayer and continue to teach them His way.
We have much to learn from Samuel.
“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you;
but I will instruct you in the good and right way."
(1 Samuel 12:23)
I have listened to so many people lately who are frustrated because they cannot control other people's choices. Samuel did not try to control others, but he continued to love, teach, encourage, and pray even though he could see God's people headed for a train wreck! So, are there people in your life right now who are making poor choices? Pray for one of those people right now instead of trying to control them.
Lord, I want to lift up ______ to your throne of grace. Please guide her/him toward making choices that will glorify you in her/his life. Show her/him the way and help me to let go of control. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.