Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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I am the Vine, Ye are the branches 6/17/2012
Today is a very special day in the life of four of our dear young people in our congregation, for it is the day when they are going to give testimony of that which they believe concerning spiritual truths. It is the tradition within our Apostolic Lutheran Church to offer them opportunity to confess before God and the congregation of that work which Christ has begun in them and which He promises to complete unto the day when He returns. Upon the affirmations that they believe and promise to adhere to the doctrines of the Scriptures as believed and taught in the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America, they will be invited to partake of the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ through Holy Communion.

Recently they attended a confirmation camp in Upper Michigan along with 44 other young people from other congregations for a five day period. It was a blessed time during which there was biblical and catechetical instruction and fellowship between all that were present at the camp. Our young people from Kingston had been asked to come up with a verse from the Bible which could be used on the tee shirts along with a logo. They did so and at camp the tee shirts were worn at times by the confirmands. They chose John 15:5,

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

This was a statement that Jesus made when He was speaking alone with His disciples just prior going to offer Himself as the Sacrifice for the world's sins and therefore as the Saviour of the world. At the end of Chapter 12 of John, He had closed his public ministry and now He was wanting bring as much assurance and encouragement as possible to His beloved disciples, for He knew that they would be confused and scattered at the upcoming events of his arrest, torture, suffering and death.....They would wonder whatever happened to their Saviour...

In Chapter 13 of John, Jesus demonstrated His imminent laying down of his life for the world by humbling Himself before His disciples by washing their feet, saying to them that they do not know what He is doing now, but they will understand later. He then participated in the annual Passover feast with them as had been the custom ever since Moses had led the Israelites through the Red Sea away from the bondage of Egypt. We remember that the LORD God had instituted a memorial for them to mark this deliverance of out Egypt, a remembering that was to be forever. We read about this in the book of Exodus.

Exodus 12:21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

This annual Passover meal with it's physical reminders of their past deliverance had been observed for years and now as was yet the custom, Jesus sat down with them to "remember again." But this night was going to be different from all the other nights of the Passover feast...

Luke 22:14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

We need to stop here and think of what is happening. Up to this time in this meal, everything is going according to the way it has always gone, in that all the same rituals are done which have great significance of meaning toward their past, but yet with a look toward the future. We can imagine that they are lost in the joy of the deliverance that God had brought their forefathers so that the life they lived in now was due to their Great God. They must have been lost in worship of Him and in that joy and peace, perhaps some of the uncertainty of the moment left them. As they were in this mind set, the Passover meal being done, Jesus took bread........

And then He took the cup.....

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

He pointed towards His death and the new covenant in His blood, which is shed for the sins of the world. Note He did not say, it will be shed, but that it is shed. With commitment that surpasses all other commitment, Our Saviour had set his face like flint toward the cross and our redemption, and nothing was going to stop Him from completed His mission of love and joy so that we could be in Him. In God's mind and will, the remdemption of the world was past, since there is not difference between His promise and His fulfilment. All that was needed was for it to take place in time, and now the time was drawing near when He would display the wonders of His love for the whole world to see. This would take place so that we could be branches on the Vine, that would bear much fruit. So that we could be in Him, but not only in Him, but we could be One with Him and with the Father. Chapter 17 of this Gospel gives explanation to this Oneness.

How much did the disciples understand at that point? It does not seem like they understood much, for shortly after this they were scattered apart from Him. But Jesus did not waver in His commitment towards them and for them. He continued toward the cross....so that they could become one in Him, so that we could become one in Him.....He continued toward the cross, He was betrayed....He gave Himself to his tormentors, He did not resist being nailed to the cross....His first words were of forgiveness to those who were at the cross, He was forsaken by His Father...........He shouted, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" .....He yielded his life as an atonement for sin.......But on the third day He arose again from the dead...He ascended to heaven, where He now reigns and superintends His church through the Spirit.....

What must it have been like for the early believers to come together after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, after He had been with them for forty days teaching them those things that they would need for their continuing ministry? What joy must have permeated their souls when they came together, whether in the temple or in their homes that they gathered in?

The book of Acts gives us some indication of how they grasped the significance of it
remembering his death til he comes again, for it is written in Chapter 2 of Acts:

KJV Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

They lived in the reality of that which they had heard Jesus say midway into his talk with them in John's Gospel, in chapter 15. (His talk is recorded in Chapters 13-17).

KJV John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

May we grow in our understanding and experience of who God has made us in Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection, which is also our death and resurrection. He lives, therefore we live, and living in this reality, we not only remember the past deliverance, but we also live in that victory by faith today and consequently we steadfastly journey throught this life in the expectation of the joy of the future, as we view life in the light of this expected reunion with our Saviour and God! Lord, increase our faith..........

May the Holy Spirit today open up to us of the significance of this meal that we partake of together as the body of Christ which brings to us all the gifts of His grace, most importantly, the forgiveness of sins through and in the New Covenant.

In His forgiveness, we rejoice today!!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 17 Jun 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Samuel the Prophet and Judge 6/10/2012

Last week we considered the relationship between Apostle Paul and his young son in the faith, Timothy and of the approach that Paul took in sharing with Timothy of his future part in the ministry of the gospel. We recall how Paul affirmed him and encouraged him in the faith before giving him guidance and instruction as to the role that he, Timothy, would play in the future propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today's text of meditation is from 1 Samuel 8:1-20 in the Old Testament and took place approximately 1100 years before that which we considered last week. It also concerns the future of the Gospel as regardless of where we take a portion of the Word of God, it always has to do with that which has gone before and that which is taking place now, for those two time periods have everything to do with what transpires in the future. In last week's text as well as in this week's text two men are involved whose ministry is drawing to a close. In last week's text, the emphasis was on the passing of the preaching and teaching of the gospel to one man, while this week's text involves much more as the entire nation of Israel has come to a crossroad. They want a king, but what kind of king do they want? The God of Israel or a king like the kings of the other nations?

Before we read the text of our meditation today, we will give a little background to the principal person in this account: Samuel. His beginnings are found in the book of 1 Samuel, a history of which we will recount at this point. He was born in due time for the purpose of being raised up by the Lord so that he would be the instrument that would bring transition into the redemptive history of the King who would be born in the future, Our King Jesus the Christ.

We wish to look at three stages or periods in the life of Samuel which were a major part of the formation of who he became in the Lord's family. His birth family and early childhood, his youthful years and his elder years. We will do this because in order to understand the heart of Samuel it is important to visit the first two periods of his life: The influence of his mother/his childhood years and his response to the call of the Lord in the temple. He was being prepared and molded in his early years for his later years of service to the Lord as His prophet.

Like always as pertaining to this life on earth, our immediate beginnings start with our parents. Samuel's parents were godly people, for they went yearly to worship and sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh, the place of rest. This is the place where the priests of the Lord were also, the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas. This last sentence seems like it is just put there, but as we go through the beginnings of Samuel's life, we will see that the contrast between true inner righteousness and false outer righteousness is a key theme in this book of 1 Samuel.

There was a lot of struggle and strife in the home of Samuel, and it made life miserable for Samuel's mom, Hannah, who was barren. She took her sorrow to the Lord, poured out her heart to Him, promising Him that if He would grant her a son, she would give him to Him for all the days of his life. The Lord granted that prayer, Samuel was born and Hannah's great prayer of thanksgiving, acknowledgement and prophecy is recorded in the 2nd chapter of this book. Samuel spent his early years in the temple serving Eli the priest by doing the regular duties that needed to be done in the course of Eli's priestly duties.

The evil ministry practices of the two sons of Eli continue to be contrasted with the godly ministry in the temple by Samuel for Eli and it is in this background that one day early in the morning that the Lord begin to call Samuel to a greater ministry. Due to the unfaithfulness in the ministry of Eli, he had been visited by a man of God and had been told that his ministry was going to be ended, which ending would be shown through the death of his sons, Hophni and Phineas. Samuel had ministered for a number of years, doing the regular duties as a servant to Eli and had proved faithful in those duties. Now it was time for the Lord to call him to greater duty. Let us take a little time to consider as to how this occurred. This begins in chapter three of this book.

ESV 1 Samuel 3:1 Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

Samuel had grown to be a young man, he continued to serve under Eli in the midst of the evil that was happening right around him, right in the temple of the Lord. It is instructive to note that Samuel kept doing his job in this atmosphere, serving, serving, serving.. until one night,lying in his bed ready to go to sleep, he heard a voice call his name......not only once, but three times he heard the voice....Why three times?

1 Samuel 4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The Lord called, but Samuel as he was accustomed to hearing the voice of his master, Eli, quite understandably went to him in response to his call. Eli responded by telling Samuel by saying that "I did not call you, go back to sleep." Samuel went back to bed, and the Lord called again, "Samuel." Again he arose, went to Eli but the same thing happened, but with additional words of affection from Eli, "I called not, my son." He again went back to his bed.

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.

After the second time, an explanation is inserted between the second call and the third call, which gives us insight as to why Samuel did not recognize the voice of the Lord. He neither knew the Lord nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. The Lord had not yet opened up Samuel's understanding to Himself.

The Lord called the third time, again he went to Eli and said the same thing as he had before. This time Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. It is interesting to put oneself in the shoes of Eli at this point, for it is difficult not to wonder at the battle that must have been going on in the mind of Eli as he had been spoken to earlier (1 Samuel 2:27-36) by the man of God concerning his honoring of his sons over the Lord and of the end of his part in the ministry.

It seems at this point that Eli made the choice to honor the Lord over his own self preservation, for he told Samuel to go lie down and if he call you, say "Speak, Lord, for you servant hears." Samuel went back to his bed and lay down.

KJV 1 Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

Wow!! The previous three times the Lord has called, but notice on the fourth time what happened: The Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, calling his name twice..."Samuel, Samuel." And Samuel again was obedient to the counsel of his dear master and mentor, for he said those wonderful words that the Lord loves to hear from those He created in His own image: "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears."

This place is too wonderful to pass over quickly as it offers us insight into the personal call that the Lord has for those that He calls to Himself for His purposes. It is unclear what it means when it is written that the "Lord came, and stood," in the context of the Old Testament, but we cannot but read this place in the Word in amazement and awe. The One who created all things, the One who cannot be contained by a building, the One who is a spirit now comes and stands before Samuel!!!! Is this a shadow of Christ?

Then the Lord spoke to Samuel....

11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

Samuel now heard that which had been spoken unto Eli earlier, and it was not a very encouraging message to hear as the first message from the Lord. How did Samuel handle that Word from the Lord? What if we had been in Samuel's place?
Let us see how Samuel responded to that message....

15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

It is diifficult to determine what the word "lay" means for in the Septuagint (The Greek translation of the OT) it is translated as sleep, in the Hebrew it seems to mean the act of lying down. Did he lay awake all night or did have such a peace that he slept all night? It is hard to tell, but we do know that in the morning he got up and did the usual thing in the opening of the temple doors. But he feared to pass on the message that he had heard from the Lord....... A test is before Samuel. Will he hold back a little, or will he say it as the Lord had told him. As for ourselves in this day and age when there is growing resistance to speaking as the Lord speaks, will we hold back in order not to offend? What happened next?

KJV 1 Samuel 3:16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.

Wow!! In the morning, a voice comes again, but this one is from Eli who calls, "Samuel, my son." Consider the respect that Samuel had for the office of the high priest in that knowing all he knew, he maintained his place in the government of God in the temple. He respectfully answered by saying the same words that he had earlier said when he heard the voice, by saying, "Here am I." But let us take note that he did not say, "speak, Lord, for your servant hears." For he now knew the difference between the voice of God and the voice of man. Instead of Samuel saying, "speak, Lord, for your servant hears," it was now Eli's turn to say to Samuel, '"speak, Lord, for your servant hears." And it would be the message of the Lord that would be spoken through Samuel. Eli gave encouragement to Samuel by telling him not to hold back....

KJV 1 Samuel 3:17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.

And Samuel passed on the message that he had received from the Lord, exactly as he had heard it......

KJV 1 Samuel 3:18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.

The judgment of the Lord was relayed to Eli through Samuel and Eli responded in the way that he did. I have questions over this place. Was it too late for Eli? Did he do wrong in accepting the Word of the Lord in which there was no way that even if he repented and turned to the Lord, that the Lord would not change His mind? In the book of Jeremiah and in other books we see that judgment was threatened upon His people if they did not repent, and in some cases they did turn from their evil ways to the Lord and the Lord relented, staying the judgment. But in other cases, He did not stop the judgment, saying through the prophet that it was too late...This is another place of mystery in the Scriptures that leaves us asking for more wisdom and understanding from the One who is all wisdom.

What happened next? Well, it seems like the ministry of Samuel now began to flourish in Israel. It makes more sense to include 4:1a in chapter 3...

19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
21 And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
1 Samuel 4:1 And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.

As we conclude the second season of his life, let us consider some observations here. We might say that Samuel passed the test in that he did not hold back at that which the Lord told him to speak to Eli concerning judgment. We recall another man young man of the Lord who was tested, but in a different manner: Joseph. While he was in the begnning years of his time in Egypt, he was tempted sexually by Potiphar's wife continually, but he resisted that which he was offered, saying: KJV Genesis 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

In both cases, their integrity of their hearts was being tested and in these cases, they proved faithful to their Lord. This was not always the case, for King David was not so faithful in his life at all times, but when confronted with his sin, he repented and was forgiven by God. Here in Samuel's case, from this point on, he was established to be a prophet of the Lord. The Lord appeared again unto Samuel in Shiloh (the place of rest), the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by His Word and Samuel spoke this Word to all Israel.........He spoke that which the Lord told Him to speak. Today we have His Word and may we take heed of the lesson that we have had placed before us here in this meditation. We must speak that which the Lord has spoken to us in His Word.

Chapters 4-7 are kind of a meanwhile throughout the lands, Samuel is not mentioned until 7:3. The ark of the covenant, the main topic of these chapters is described here..

04488 732.04 In Ex 25:10 ff, Moses receives the command to build an ark of acacia wood. Within this ark were to be placed the tables of the law which God was about to give to Moses. Upon the top of the ark, probably not as a lid but above the lid, the Heb: kapporeth, in the New Testament Grk: to hilasterion (Heb 9:5), is to be placed, which was a golden plate upon which two cherubim, with raised wings and facing each other, covered the ark. From the place between the two cherubim God promises to speak to Moses, as often as He shall give him commands in reference to the Israelites.

There is much to glean from in these chapter but we will pass over that part of our meditation today, but yet recognizing that to get the most of what happens in chapter 8, it would be best to read and meditation over chapters 4-7.

When you do read those chapters, notice how the truth of the statement that the Lord will not share his glory with anyone comes home to those who despised the Word of the Lord.........Despising the ark of the covenant was not small matter, for it was the Lord's. But it was not to be worshipped in and of itself, but it was that which was given to them to reveal the Lord by tying them to past speakings and revelations of the Lord. It was meant to draw them to the promises of the Lord and not something that by having it in their presence it would make them true worshippers. It pointed them to their God in the same way that any outward practice or observance must point to Christ in His redemptive work.

Let us pick up with our friend Samuel again......I will insert comments inside the text as we go....

1 Samuel 7:3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
5 And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.
6 And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.

Samuel was well accepted as the prophet of Israel, or we could say, as their spiritual leaderTo address their fear of the Philistines, he called upon them to return to the Lord, to turn away from other gods. to prepare their hearts to the Lord, and to serve Him only: And He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines, who were pagans. They heeded his advice. He then called them together to a convention at Mizpeh.(watchtower) where he told them that he would pray for them unto the Lord. They came, symbolized their return to God, and admitted that they had sinned against the Lord. From this point on Samuel became their judge, or governor which involved his settling disputes in the lives of His people. We would assume that he judged Godly judgment amongst his people.

How did the Philistines like this approach?

7 And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.

They did not like that the children of Israel were gathered together,they threatened Israel, who then feared the Philistines, and so they cried out to their leader and their intercessor.. Samuel heard their cry, and acted on their behalf...God heard and acted on their behalf...He routed the Philistines.....

8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.
9 And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him.
10 And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.
11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Bethcar.

12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
14 And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

Samuel set up a memorial at a specifc place in time and history which would mark this deliverance by the Lord for succeeding generations so that they would not forget the mighty works of the Lord. In essence, in this place and on this day, we were delivered from the enemy, the Philistines by our mighty God. There was not only deliverance, but there was protection, there was restoration.....and there was peace.

15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.
16 And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.
17 And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD.

Samuel remained faithful to the Lord as their representative of Him all the days of his life. Yearly he went around Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpeh to judge Israel, and returning to his home, in Ramah (hill), where he from there administered justice to his people. The last verse of chapter 7 reads: "and there he built an altar unto the Lord." But as he aged, his influence diminished.........

KJV 1 Samuel 8:1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

Samuel, rightfully concerned about the future of the ministry in Israel, placed his sons as judges over Israel, but they did not walk in the ways of the Lord that Samuel their father had. At this place we must pause and wonder how Samuel could place his sons who were greedy, took bribes and perverted judgment, into a place of leadership over Israel after having observed what had happened with Eli and his wicked sons.........He was a man like any other man, as James described Elijah as being a man of like passions, but he prevailed in prayer in the days when he was a servant of the Lord. We are all broken clay pots, as Paul wrote in this place: 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

The elders (am not sure what authority they held), hearing what Samuel was doing for the future of the ministry, came to where he was to give him advice on how it should be done, stating their reasons for doing so as well as giving him direction: Recognizing the authority that Samuel worked under, they asked him to give them a king to judge them.

6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

Samuel did not like that request that he give them a king to judge them, so he did what he was naturally accustomed to doing: He prayed to the Lord....And the Lord responded to his faithful servant...As Samuel turned to the Lord in prayer, I wonder what he thought as far as how the Lord would respond to him. The elders had challenged his decision in putting his corrupt sons to lead them into the future, now the elders were asking him to give them a king to judge them. Samuel knew that that was not the answer, for the pagan kings would become tyrants and rulers over them to the end that his people would become slaves. How would the Lord answer this one? What would He say?

7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, 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 unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

Here is what Samuel heard from the Lord: Grant unto them their request in all that they say unto you, Samuel. For they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not be their king, reigning over them. The Lord goes onto to tell them that this is nothing new that has come to pass, this has been going on since He had brought them out of Egypt in that they have forsaken Him, serving other gods even as they are doing now. You have been my faithful servant, speaking my Word, and so it is not about you, but it is about me: "They are rejecting me."

The Lord goes onto tell Samuel to hearken/heed their voice, but give them some warnings as to what they are asking for by showing them what kind of king will be reigning over them.......

10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.

Let us not miss the consistency of Samuel's life, in that when the Lord spoke and what the Lord spoke, Samuel spoke all that the Lord told him to speak. Note the "all" in verse 10.

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries,(maker of ointment) and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

He will not be a king who will serve you, but you will serve him. He will not judge in the manner that Sameul had judged, for Samuel had judged in the way that the Lord judges, according to the heart, as one sees in the 16th chapter of this suspense filled book of grace and truth. He blesses those who honor Him and He curses those who despise Him.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.
22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

Verse 18 seems to be speaking of that happened as the result of their asking for a king in a historical sense, but I do not understand much more than that. But let us note that their asking for a king had been prophesied by Moses. Let us look at this prophecy from Moses.

Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

The fulfillment of this prophecy was now coming to pass and through their not wanting the Lord to rule over them, the purposes of God's redemptive plan would be worked through the rejection of Himself. Hmmmm. Is not that how God saved us, by using our fallenness and sinfulness to cause us to reject Him, kill Him for our atonement and restoration? Do we see some prophetic prophesy hidden in this happening? Do we see a shadow the cross in this place? I think so....Wow.....

Samuel was the last judge, and now the kingly office would be set up. Saul would be the first one, he would prove unfaithful and then it would be David who would succeed Saul and then it would be Solomon....But that is getting way ahead of our story, so let us return to Samuel and his ministry.

In verse 19 we see perhaps one of the saddest verses in this book, as after all the warnings that were given by God through Samuel, we read these words: " 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed (repeated) them in the ears of the LORD.
22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

How God's heart must have been breaking at the words "Nay" as He heard them affirm their rejection of Him. How Samuel's heart must have been breaking as he suffered with God as together they saw in the future the toll that was going to be exacted upon those who were rejecting the Lord. How our God's heart is breaking today (may ours be breaking also) at the "Nays" that are being shouted today in the rejection of our Creator, Redeemer, and Judge! This part of this account is overwhelming for me as it causes me to enter into the sorrow that must have been present there that day in the heart of God and his servant Samuel. But yet, out of the ashes of this sorrowful rejection would come a king, first King Saul who would be removed, but then would come King David, who would be a shadow of our King Jesus the Christ. We see through this awful day a new day coming, we see a cross being lifted up on Calvary, we see our Saviour looking upon us with compassion towards our sin, we hear Him speaking the words, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," we hear our fallenness mocking Him in our lack of understanding, we hear Him cry out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me," we hear Him cry, "It is finished," and we see Him die......but then we see Him risen from the dead and we hear the words of comfort spoken by Him to us: "Peace be unto you.".......Lord, we worship you.........

May we continue to be faithful to the Word that has been given to us, so that we would speak that which we hear from the Lord through His divinely inspired and infallible Word.

In Christ's love,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 10 Jun 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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I am the Vine, Ye are the branches 6/17/2012
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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