1 Samuel 7-8:   “The Israelites Get Right With The Lord, Then Request A King

By

Jim Bomkamp

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1.     INTRO:

 

1.1.                     In our last study, we looked at chapters 4-6.  We saw in that study how that Israel during its dark period at the end of the era of the judges began to be troubled and attacked by the Philistines who wanted to wrest control of the land of Canaan from Israel.  We saw the price that rebellion by Israel against the Lord during that dark period exacted against Israel and also how that having turned away from knowing and following the Lord that the Israelites became very superstitious.

 

1.1.1.  We saw that Israel went to battle against the Philistines and initially was soundly beaten in a battle against them.  Then, Israel decided that they would take the Ark of the Covenant with them into the next battle with the Philistines.  They are thinking that the Ark will be to them like a lucky charm and guarantee their success.  However, the Lord did not go with Israel into the battle, and thus they are soundly defeated and the Philistines capture the Ark and take it back to one of their cities to place it proudly on display in one of the shrines to their god Dagon.

 

1.1.2.  The Philistines who had captured the Ark end up during the evening having their god Dagon tipped over by the Lord and made to fall prostrate before the Ark.  This happened on two successive evenings.  The second evening both the head and the hands of Dagon were cut off, with only Dagon’s trunk left intact.

 

1.1.3.  A plague of big tumors or hemorrhoids also breaks out among the Philistines after the Ark arrives in their city.  Thus, the Philistines send the Ark to a second Philistine city, and a similar plague breaks out.  Then, when the Philistines try to send the Ark to a third Philistine city, the residents of the city refuse to allow it to enter for fear a similar plague will break out among them.

 

1.1.4.  The wise men of the Philistines are finally consulted about what to do about the Ark and they recommend to the Philistine lords that they try to send the Ark back to Israel, and, then they come up with a test to see if indeed it is the Lord who is causing these calamities among them wherever the Ark resides. 

 

1.1.5.  We saw that the Lord reveals through the calamities He brought upon the Philistines after they captured the Ark that He can defend Himself and doesn’t need anyone’s help.

 

1.1.6.  Finally, the Ark ended up in Israel, however the Israelites did not honor and reverence the law of the Lord and cover up the Ark as they should.  Instead, out of curiosity they looked inside of the Ark.  This then caused many people in that city to die of the plague. 

 

1.1.7.  Finally, the Ark was brought to rest in a man’s house in Kiriath Jearim where a  guard was placed on it.

 

1.2.                     In our study today, we are going to look at chapters 7-8.

 

1.2.1.  We will see in chapter 7 that the next generation of the children of Israel begin to lament being oppressed by the Philistines and not having the blessing of the Lord over their lives and nation.  Then, Samuel leads them in repentance and getting their lives right with the Lord.

 

1.2.2.  In chapter 8, we see though that the children of Israel suddenly decide that they must be as the other nations and have a king to rule over them as a nation, and they come to Samuel and request that he appoint a king to rule over them.

 

2.     VS 7:1-6  - 1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. 2 From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord. 3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone. 5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 They gathered to Mizpah, 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 sons of Israel at Mizpah. -  The new generation of Israelites lament the fact that they do not have the Lord’s favor, even though they have the Ark back with them, and then, Samuel leads them to repentance before the Lord

 

2.1.                     We saw in our last study how that the children of Israel had lost the Ark to the Philistines because they had taken it into the battle with them thinking that if the Ark came into the battle that the Lord would be with them and give them the victory.  However, they learned from that experience that just having the Ark with them did not guarantee that the Lord would be with them nor that they would have His favor.

 

2.2.                     In our last study, we also commented upon the fact that erroneously many Christians even in our day think that if they observe various external rites or possess Christian artifacts that they also will have the Lord’s favor.  However, just as the Israelites thought that by having the Ark with them that they would have God in a box, we Christians shouldn’t think for a moment that we can have God in a box.

 

2.2.1.  We saw likewise that many Christians even today do many religious sorts of things thinking that by doing them that they will have the Lord’s favor.  Thus, they may make signs of the cross, wear a cross around their neck, wear a Saint Christopher, wear holy underwear (in the case of the Mormons), repeat certain prayers, put off committing certain sins during Lent, etc., etc. 

 

2.2.2.  However, we concluded that the only way to gain the Lord’s favor is to surrender your whole life to Him, trust in the promises of His word, and trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  This is the same thing that we see the Israelites doing in these verses.  They are getting their hearts and lives right with the Lord.

 

2.3.                     We see here that Samuel on this day leads the children of Israel to get right with the Lord and to begin by putting away the foreign gods that they have been worshipping.

 

2.3.1.  When we as God’s people who are in a backslidden condition want to get right with the Lord, the first step that we must take is to put away all of the idols in our lives.  An idol for us is anything that we put ahead of the Lord or that we give the attention to that belongs to the Lord. 

 

2.4.                     Just putting away their false gods isn’t enough for the children of Israel to gain God’s favor however,  so Samuel also leads them to confess their sins to the Lord and then he makes an offering to the Lord for their sins.

 

2.4.1.  We Christians must realize that in our lives that it is not enough for us to be right with the Lord if we only recognize that we have sins in our lives and yet we do not confess and repent of those sins before the Lord.  This is the great truth of 1 John 1:9, which also assures us that, “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

2.4.1.1.      When we Christians have committed any sins, the Lord expects us to repent of those sins, confessing each and every one as well as memory permits us. 

 

2.4.1.2.      Our repentance and confession of our sins allows the blood of Jesus to cleanse us of our sins and to remove the guilt for those deeds from our consciences, and this is a very freeing thing for us.

 

2.4.1.3.      King David wrote in Psalm 32:1-6 about what happens when we do not confess the sins that are in our lives, “1 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! 3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.Selah. 6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.

 

3.     VS 7:7-12  - 7 Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the Lord; and Samuel cried to the Lord for Israel and the Lord answered him. 10 Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. 11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car. -  The Philistines draw up in battle to Israel fearing an attack against them by Israel, and then, after Samuel prays for a terrified Israel and offers a sacrifice for their sins, the Lord routes the Philistines before the Israelites

 

3.1.                     Here we see that the Philistines were afraid that Israel had come together to mount an attack against them and so they decided to make a surprise attack against Israel before the Israelites had the chance to strategize and begin a war campaign.  This plan by the Philistines proved to backfire on them however.

 

3.2.                     The Israelites were terrified now that the Philistines had drawn up against them for battle.  They cry out to Samuel not to cease praying for them as a nation.

 

3.3.                     We saw in the previous sections of scripture that the Israelites had at this point put away their idols from them, and they had also confessed their sins.  Now, Samuel will make a sin offering for them.

 

3.4.                     The mere offering of sacrifices will not cause anyone to gain the Lord’s favor, for there must be an internal brokenness before the Lord consistent with genuine repentance, as Ps. 51:17 tells us, “17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

 

3.5.                     A sacrifice must be offered however.  The children of Israel had repented, removing their many idols from their lives, and they had even confessed their sins before the Lord.  However, there is no forgiveness where there is no acceptable sacrifice to the Lord for sins. 

 

3.5.1.  People today will sometimes pretend to have a relationship with God, claiming even to have faith in God and even to try to live in obedience with the Lord.  However, without the sacrifice of Christ no one is able to come into relationship with the Lord for our sins separate us from God and only application of the blood of Christ shed for our sins upon Calvary’s cross can atone for our sins so that we can have a relationship with the Lord. 

 

3.5.1.1.      There must be “an offering for sins.”  The blood of Jesus upon the cross of Calvary was the once for all time offering for our sins that alone can provide for mankind’s sins to be paid and atoned for, for Heb. 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins, “…and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

 

3.5.1.1.1.           The blood sacrifices in the Old Testament looked forward to that day when the blood of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, would be shed once for all for all sins, and it is only by looking forward that those sacrifices could be effective in people’s lives in providing atonement for their sins.

 

3.5.1.2.      These verses tell us that not just any sacrifice for sins will work, but only that which was provided for us by the Lord Himself, the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son from all eternity:

 

3.5.1.2.1.           1 Tim. 2:5-6, “5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

 

3.5.1.2.2.           John 14:6, “6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way , and the truth , and the life ; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

 

3.6.                     Because the people had truly repented to the Lord from their hearts, the Lord accepted the sacrifice of Samuel, who was now acting as a priest to the people.  He also accepted Samuel’s  intercession in prayer for them.  The people were now right with the Lord and so now He was free to act mightily on their behalf in delivering them.

 

3.7.                     The Lord fights for Israel.  The god Baal was the storm god of the Canaanites, and so the Lord demonstrated to the Philistines His superiority over Baal by thundering against the Philistines causing them to go into complete confusion.  The children of Israel were then able to easily conquer the Philistines.

 

4.     VS 7:13-14  - 12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. -  Samuel sets up a memorial stone for the Israelites to commemorate the Lord giving them this great victory over the Philistines

 

4.1.                     In the book of Joshua we saw that six times the children of Israel set up memorials to the great things that the Lord had done in giving them the various victories while conquering their enemies in the land of Canaan.

 

4.2.                     This “Ebenezer” stone was set up by Samuel between Mizpah and Shen so that the children of Israel throughout their generations would see it and remember the great deeds of the Lord on this day in giving them this great victory over the Philistines, when the Lord thundered against the Philistines.

 

4.3.                     The word “Ebenezer” means “stone of help.”  This name is a reminder of how that the Lord helped the children of Israel in this battle against the Philistines.

 

5.     VS 7:15-17  - 15 Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built there an altar to the Lord. -  Samuel served as a circuit judge over Israel

 

5.1.                     We see here how that throughout his life that Samuel traveled a regular circuit as a judge deciding legal matters for all of the tribes of the children of Israel west of the Jordan. 

 

5.2.                     We see here how that Samuel was a hard worker functioning faithfully in his God-given calling as a servant of the Lord.

 

6.     VS 8:1-9  - 1 And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. 3 His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; 5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8 “Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.” -  The children of Israel ask Samuel to find and anoint them a king, one like the kings of the other nations

 

6.1.                     Samuel’s two sons were named Joel (“Jehovah is God”) and Abijah (“Jehovah is my Father”), however they did not live up to their name for they proved to be wicked sons just as were the sons of Ely, the high priest when Samuel was a boy. 

 

6.2.                     These boys acting as judges over Israel in the southern portion of the land perverted justice and took bribes.

 

6.3.                     Samuel was given completely to his work for the children of Israel as was mentioned, and this is possibly at least part of the reason that his sons, whom he appoints as judges, were rebellious and did not follow the Lord.

 

6.3.1.  When we as God’s people are serving Him in the ministry, whether fulltime or not, we must realize that our first and most important ministry is at home and with our own family.  Paul wrote that we are immediately disqualified from ministry if we cannot first keep our home in order and be an example as a leader there.

 

6.4.                     Samuel was a faithful man and yet his sons were wicked, and thus I believe that we must learn from this and be careful not to judge Christians because of the fact that their kids do not grow up to follow the Lord.  Even good and faithful men and women, such as Samuel, sometimes raise up children who because of their own free will choose to be rebellious against the Lord.

 

6.5.                     We see here in these verses that all of the elders of Israel came to Samuel and requested that he appoint a king over them.  There were several reasons why the children of Israel wanted a king, including:

 

6.5.1.  The era of the judges was a dark time and every man was just doing what was right in his own eyes (we saw that written a few times in the book of Judges), and the people wanted better and more uniform justice for themselves.

 

6.5.2.  Samuel’s sons whom he had appointed as judges were corrupt and thus the Israelites weren’t getting their cases determined justly and fairly.

 

6.5.2.1.      Samuel surely must have known that his sons were rebelling, but this complaint of the people about his sons must have pained him greatly.

 

6.5.3.  The children of Israel wanted someone to be a central leader over them for during the period of the judges though a judge might arise he usually wasn’t universally accepted or followed.

 

6.5.4.  The children of Israel wanted a king like all of the other nations had a king.

 

6.5.4.1.      They were desiring the wrong things for their lives, and this was a grave sin on their part, one which they would one day live to greatly regret.

 

6.6.                     This request of the people to have their own king was very displeasing and discouraging to Samuel on many levels.  He knew that the people’s hearts were not in the right place and that they were desiring the wrong things, but their request of a king was also a rejection of him (Samuel), the leader that the Lord had raised up and appointed.

 

6.7.                     When Samuel prays about the people’s request to have a king, the Lord tells him to go ahead and heed their request and give them a king.  Then, the Lord comforts Samuel by telling him that the people hadn’t really rejected him, they had rejected the Lord from ruling over them.

 

6.7.1.  It is a comfort to us as Christians and Christian leaders to know that when people reject us, and our ministry and godly counsel, that they are really rejecting the Lord.  Knowing this helps us from taking things too personally, for we are God’s representatives.

 

6.8.                     Warren Wiersbe writes about how that the scriptures reveal that the Lord had intended in time to give them a king, “There is every evidence in the Pentateuch that Israel would one day have a king.  God promised Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob that kings would be among their descendants (Gen. 17:6, 16; 35:11), and Jacob had named Judah as the kingly tribe (49:10).  Moses prepared the nation for a king when he spoke to the new generation preparing to enter the Promised Land (Deut. 17:14-20).”

 

6.9.                     So, the desire to have a king wasn’t really where Israel had gone astray from the Lord, it was the fact that they wanted this king and they wanted him NOW, and, they wanted a king for the wrong reasons, so that they could have a king like all of the other nations had a king.

 

6.9.1.  God is going to give them a king in Saul, but he won’t be the one He would have for them.  That would be king David, but it was not yet the Lord’s timing to raise up David, His man, as king over Israel. 

 

6.10.                The children of Israel were living as “carnal believers” following the lusts of their own flesh instead of the Lord’s desires for them, and thus they were hell-bent to have a king appointed over them.

 

6.11.                Refusing to follow the Lord and have His “perfect” will for their lives, the children of Israel will now enter into the Lord’s “permissive” will for themselves, and the Lord will next use their new king and circumstances as a mean’s of disciplining them. 

 

6.12.                The Lord’s “permissive will” is a place where the Lord sometimes allows His children to live.  He won’t disown or reject them living in His “permissive will,” however they will miss all of the great blessings of being in His perfect will and calling for their lives, and in that place He will use the circumstances of their lives to discipline and correct them.

 

6.13.                Warren Wiersbe makes the following profound comment about the Lord’s discipline in our lives when we leave His “perfect will” for us and come to live in His “permissive” will, “The greatest judgment God can give us is to let us have our own way.  “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Ps. 106:15).”

 

6.14.                Many times we as Christians act as the Lord’s counselor telling Him what He needs to be doing, or even by claiming things in prayer that may not be the Lord’s “perfect” will for our lives.  We should in these times instead just be asking for the Lord’s “perfect” will for our lives.

 

6.14.1.                     Pastor Chuck Smith has told us that he has an agreement with the Lord that if he ever asks anything from the Lord that is not His “perfect” will for him that the Lord would just ignore his prayer.

 

6.15.                Have you ever given the Lord an ultimatum, “Answer this by such and such a time or else I’ll …?”  Doing this is also foolish for it puts the Lord to the test and places us in God’s “permissive” will for our lives, and in that place we will experience the discipline of the Lord to correct us. 

 

6.16.                The Lord tells Samuel to ‘solemnly warn’ the children of Israel and tell them what it will cost them if they do go ahead and have a king appointed over their lives.

 

7.     VS 8:10-18  - 10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 “He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 “He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 “He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 “He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 “He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17 “He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 “Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” -  Samuel leads the children of Israel to soberly count the cost of having a king placed over them

 

7.1.                     Kings always require a lot from their subjects.  Samuel enumerates for the children of Israel what having a king will require of them:

 

7.1.1.  Their sons will be drafted into the military.

 

7.1.2.  Their sons will work and harvest the king’s fields.

 

7.1.3.  Their daughters he will take to become cooks and bakers.

 

7.1.4.  He will take the best of their fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants.

 

7.1.5.  He will exact a 1/10th tax of their seed and vineyards to pay his officers and servants.

 

7.1.6.  He will take their male and female servants for his own work.

 

7.1.7.  He will take the best of their young men and donkeys for his service.

 

7.1.8.  He will take 1/10th of their flocks.

 

7.1.9.  He will make them his servants.

 

7.1.10.                     One day they will cry out to the Lord because of their king, but He will not hear or answer their prayers.

 

7.1.10.1. The children of Israel do cry out to the Lord because of the kings that were placed over them, for the kings not only exact much from them, as indicated here, but the kings were also an instrument of the enemy to lead them astray from the Lord as a nation.

 

8.     VS 8:19-22  - 19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord’s hearing. 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.” -  The children of Israel insist upon having their own king, and the Lord tells Samuel to heed their words

 

8.1.                     Even though Samuel had laid out for the children of Israel all that it would cost for them to have a king over them, and the cost would be great, and even though he told them that one day they would greatly regret demanding a king, the children of Israel insist that this is exactly what they want to do.

 

8.2.                     Sometimes people just have to learn the hard way the importance of obedience to the Lord and His word. 

 

8.2.1.  We parents see this same thing happen with our children regarding the things that we try to teach them.  When children reach adolescence they suddenly begin to think that they know better than their parents and that the rules that their parents place over them are stupid.  However, time has a way of correcting kids, for after they have experienced the hard knocks in life because of going their own way, then they realize the wisdom of their parents.

 

8.2.2.  God will use trials to correct us if necessary, but its much easier for us if we will just learn from the Lord telling us from His word what we should or should not do.

 

9.     CONCLUSIONS:

 

9.1.                     Child of God, today do you find yourself in the Lord’s “perfect” or His “permissive” will for your life?

 

9.2.                     If you are in His “permissive” will for you and living under the Lord’s hand of discipline, there is only one way to get back into His “perfect” will so that you can enjoy all of the great blessings of being there.  It is to get right with the Lord.

 

9.3.                     As we saw the Israelites in chapter 7 lamenting that they no longer had the Lord’s favor, and then they sought out Samuel to lead them in repentance to the Lord, I want to ask you if you are right with the Lord today?

 

9.3.1.  Have you removed the idols from your lives?

 

9.3.2.  Have you confessed all of your sins to the Lord?

 

9.3.3.  Have you trusted in the blood of Jesus and the completed work of Christ on the cross ALONE to atone for your sins?

 

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