1Samuel 11-12

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 8, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Samuel is the last of the “Judges”. He is the man who will bridge the gap between the time of the Judges and the beginning of the Kings of Israel.

We’ve seen God raise up Samuel to bring a victory over the Philistines.

As Samuel grew old, the nation became concerned because Samuel’s sons were not good men.  The people demanded a king.

Last week we saw the unusual process involved when God chose Saul to be king over Israel.  Something about lost donkeys.  Saul is about to get his first test.

11:1-15 Jabesh Gilead

:1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.”

:1 NahashNachash – “serpent”.  If this makes you think of Satan, that’s probably pretty accurate.

:1 Ammonite

The Ammonites were the descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationship with one of his daughters, along with the Moabites. They were constant enemies of Israel. It was against the Ammonites that Jephthah had fought (Judges 10-12). It’s been about ninety years since Jephthah defeated the Ammonites and put them in their place. They’re beginning to push again at the borders of Israel.

The Ammonite threat apparently was building for some time. We will find that the fear of the Ammonites was one of the hidden factors in why the people were demanding a king from Samuel. (1Sam. 12:12)
(1 Sa 12:12 NKJV) And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.

Josephus records (Antiq. 1:6:5) that this war with Nahash takes place one month after the people have made Saul their king.

He also wrote that Nahash had been making war against all the Jewish people living on the eastern side of the Jordan River.
1. (68) After one month, the war which Saul had with Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, obtained him respect from all the people; for this Nahash had done a great deal of mischief to the Jews that lived beyond Jordan by the expedition he had made against them with a great and warlike army. (69) He also reduced their cities into slavery, and that not only by subduing them for the present, which he did by force and violence, but by weakening them by subtilty and cunning that they might not be able afterward to get clear of the slavery they were under to him: for he put out the right eyes of those that either delivered themselves to him upon terms, or were taken by him in war; (70) and this he did, that when their left eyes were covered by their shields, they might be wholly useless in war. [1]

I don’t know the source of this text, but “The Message” has an extra paragraph added to the end of the last chapter:

(1 Sa 10:27 The Message) …Nahash, king of the Ammonites, was brutalizing the tribes of Gad and Reuben, gouging out their right eyes and intimidating anyone who would come to Israel’s help. There were very few Israelites living on the east side of the Jordan River who had not had their right eyes gouged out by Nahash. But seven thousand men had escaped from the Ammonites and were now living safely in Jabesh.

:1 encamped

Nahash has laid siege to Jabesh Gilead. He intends to either wipe it out or make slaves of its inhabitants.

A siege will cut off all traffic coming in and out of a city.  It’s a way of starving a city to death.

:1 Jabesh Gilead

JabeshYabesh – “dry”.

Play map clip to Jabesh Gilead.
This was the city of Jabesh in the land of Gilead, the land east of the Jordan River, about 50 miles from Saul’s home in Gibeah.

Back when the nation of Israel brought judgment against the tribe of Benjamin for sheltering the wicked men of Gibeah, it was the city of Jabesh Gilead that had not responded (Judges 21:8-14) to join the war.

When the nation realized they needed to rebuild the tribe of Benjamin on the last surviving 600 Benjamite warriors, they needed women.
One of the things they did was to punish Jabesh Gilead for not helping against Benjamin. They killed everyone in the city except for four hundred virgins, which they gave to the men of Benjamin.
Saul is not only from the tribe of Benjamin, but he’s specifically from the rebuilt city of Gibeah.
There’s a good chance that Saul has some sort of a family connection with the city of Jabesh Gilead.
At the very least, Saul’s tribe has a huge connection with Jabesh Gilead.

:2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, “On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel.”

:2 put out all your right eyes

Nahash tells the people to either be: 1) wiped out by him, or 2) lose their right eyes

Some suggest this is the ultimate to enslave people.

When Korah and his group rebelled against Moses in the wilderness, Moses asked two of the men, Dathan and Abiram, to come to a meeting. They would not come. Part of their response:
(Nu 16:14 NKJV) —14 Moreover you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!”

It might be that they are saying that you’d have to blind them before they came up.

The NIV translates it this way:

(Nu 16:14 NIV) …Do you want to treat these men like slaves? No, we will not come!”

Josephus says that he put out the right eyes because a warrior would hide his left eye behind his shield while fighting and only look at the enemy with the right eye. If you put out the right eye, then the warriors are helpless.

:3 Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.”

:3 seven days

Nahash agrees to the seven days grace period. He most likely doesn’t think there is anyone to help.

Even if Nahash has heard that there is a new Israelite king (Saul), he knows they don’t have an army.

:4 So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept.

:5 Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, “What troubles the people, that they weep?” And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh.

:6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.

:6 his anger was greatly aroused


The Spirit and anger

It is possible to be filled with the Spirit and also be angry.
Jesus got angry in the Temple. Twice.

The first time was at the beginning of His ministry.

(Jn 2:14–17 NKJV)14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

Three years later the Temple was back to being a marketplace and He had to do it all over again (Mat. 21:12-13)

(Mt 21:12–13 NKJV) —12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’

I have a hard time seeing either of these events being done without some amount of anger and passion.

The problem for us is when we get angry and make excuses about it. Our anger is rarely “righteous”.
(Jas 1:19–20 NKJV) —19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
A safer thing for us is to stay away from anger:
(Eph 4:30–32 NKJV) —30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
A big shot business man had to spend a couple of days in the hospital. He was a royal pain to the nurses because he bossed them around just like he did his employees. None of the hospital staff wanted to have anything to do with him. The head nurse was the only one who could stand up to him. She walked into his room and announced, “I have to take your temperature.” After complaining for several minutes, he finally settled down, crossed his arms and opened his mouth. “No, I’m sorry, the nurse stated, “but for this reading, I can’t use an oral thermometer.” This started another round of complaining, but eventually he rolled over and bared his behind. After feeling the nurse insert the thermometer, he heard her announce, “I have to get something. Now you stay JUST LIKE THAT until I get back!” She leaves the door to his room open on her way out. He curses under his breath as he hears people walking past his door, laughing. After almost an hour, the man’s doctor comes into the room. “What’s going on here?” asked the doctor. Angrily, the man answers, “What’s the matter, Doc? Haven’t you ever seen someone having their temperature taken before?” After a pause, the doctor replies, “Yes, but never with a daffodil!”

:7 So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.” And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.

:7 cut them in pieces

This sounds like what the Levite did with his dead concubine after the men of Gibeah had raped and killed her. (Judg. 19-21)

The Levite had taken his dead wife, cut her into pieces, and sent parts of her to all of Israel.
I imagine that when the people of Israel got meat delivered to their doorsteps, they knew that something serious was up.

:8 When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.

:8 BezekBezeq – “lightning”. 

See map video to Bezek.

Seventeen miles to the west of Jabeshgilead.  Thirty-five miles north of Gibeah.  This becomes the staging ground for their attack on Jabesh Gilead. 

The concept of “numbering” them is about drafting and organizing an army.

The book of “Numbers” is about the “numbering” of Israel at the beginning and end of their wilderness wanderings.
When David “numbered” or took a census and got into trouble with God.  He was counting his army.

:8 three hundred thousand … thirty thousand

In all, 330,000 men show up.  The ox bit was pretty good at getting their attention.

:9 And they said to the messengers who came, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.’ ” Then the messengers came and reported it to the men of Jabesh, and they were glad.

:9 they were glad – Do you think???

:10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do with us whatever seems good to you.”

It sounds to me like they want to give the Ammonites a false sense that the battle is over, to let down their guard.

:11 So it was, on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day. And it happened that those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

:11 Saul put the people in three companies

Saul devises strategy, an unusual thing for a farmer and part-time donkey-herder.

The Ammonites are wiped out.  Sounds like a “God” thing.

This is a “God thing”.

:11 until the heat of the day

It would have been about a five hour battle.

:12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.”

It is interesting to note that the people didn’t go to Saul with this.  They go to Samuel.  Hmm.

:13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.”

:13 Not a man shall be put to death this day


Be gracious

Just as there are going to be people who will oppose you, there will be people who will be for you who will want to stick up for you.  And sometimes their ideas are not good.
Saul demonstrates great grace here.  He is aware that God has done the work.  He sees no place for revenge.
Jesus said,
(Mt 5:43–48 NKJV) —43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

When we love our enemies, and even pray for them, we will be a little more like our Father in heaven.  He loves His enemies.  He does kind things to those who hate Him.

Sometimes the advice to “put them to death” comes from inside of you.
When we’ve been in a tough battle, when we’ve faced opposition, sometimes we turn around and take our frustrations out on those who are next to us instead of proper enemies.
If I come home from work after a hard day, it’s easy to say unkind things to my family, when it’s really the issues at work that I’m upset with.
Learn to be gracious.

:14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.”

:14 Gilgal

See map video to Gilgal

Gilgal was that first place of Israel camping in the Promised Land after having crossed the Jordan River under Joshua.

(Jos 4:19 NKJV) —19 Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.

Last week we saw Samuel set up Gilgal as a place for Samuel and Saul to meet. (1Sam. 10:8)

(1 Sa 10:8 NKJV) —8 You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.”

With Shiloh being destroyed in the Philistine war, it seems that the people are using Gilgal as one of the places for gathering the nation.

Samuel uses this opportunity to strengthen and confirm what God has done in choosing Saul as king.

:15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

:15 they made Saul king


God picks leaders

Even though it is a good thing that we all aspire to mature and serve the Lord, possibly even in some sort of a leadership role, there is also a sense in which God is the one who picks out leaders.
When James and John wanted to have the number one and two spots in the kingdom, part of Jesus’ response to them was:
(Mk 10:39–40 NKJV) —39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”

In other words, God is the one who chooses leaders.

We know that Saul was already the king.
He chosen “king” before Samuel met Saul, when God whispered in Samuel’s ears about meeting him the day before.
He became “king” the moment that Samuel poured oil on his head.
He was confirmed “king” when they drew lots and Samuel finally picked Saul out to be king.
Here, after the great victory, the people realize that Saul really is their king.
We see the same ideas when Moses led the nation.
There was a fellow named Korah (Num. 16) who led a rebellion against Moses.  Korah and his friends thought they could do a better job of leading than Moses and Aaron.

The earth swallowed up Korah and his rebels.

Then God had the tribes each submit a “rod” to be kept before the Ark.  (Num. 17) In the morning, Aaron’s rod had budded and produced ripe almonds, showing that he was God’s pick for being priest.

God makes sovereign picks.

God confirms the picks with “fruit” (or “nuts”) – like Saul’s victory.

Man does well to recognize what God has already done.


God’s wisdom

I find it interesting to see that God picked a man from the tribe of Benjamin to face a crisis in Jabesh Gilead.
Benjamin is the one tribe that had a pretty close connection to this city, even though it was located within the tribe of Gad, it was Benjamin that had this deeper connection because of the mess from Judges 21.
Who would have been better suited to have a passion to raise and lead an army to save Jabesh Gilead, if not someone from Benjamin?


God’s grace

I find it interesting that a city that had been wiped out by Israel (Jabesh Gilead) is now being saved by Israel, and particularly Benjamin.
I find it interesting that the wicked city of Gibeah has now been rebuilt, and it is the one that has produced the first king, as flawed as he was.
It almost seems as if God is cleaning up the messes of Judges 19-21 with this war.
And it happens in the middle of a terrifying enemy – Nahash.
In the middle of a war, God demonstrates grace.

12:1-25 Samuel challenges Israel

:1 Now Samuel said to all Israel: “Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you.

Now that the people have a king and it has been a pretty successful thing, Samuel wants to remind the people that this isn’t the time to forget the Lord.

:2 And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day.

:2 from my childhood

Samuel had been living as a priest since the time that he was weaned, about three years old.  God began speaking to Samuel when he was about twelve years old.

:3 Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.”

:3 whom have I cheated?


Self Examination

Samuel is going to have some difficult things to talk about with the people, but before he does, he asks them to examine him.
This is the same idea behind Jesus teaching us about judging others.
(Mt 7:1–5 NKJV)1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Too often people take this to mean that we should never have an unkind word to say to others, even if it’s true.

Jesus’ whole point is to make sure that you look in the mirror and examine yourself first before pointing a finger at others.

:4 And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.”

:5 Then he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they answered, “He is witness.”

:5 His anointed

This is Saul.  He has had the oil poured over him.  He has been “anointed”.

:5 you have not found anything in my hand

Even though Samuel’s sons had been known to take bribes, the people had never seen anything wrong in Samuel.

The point is this

Even though the people were afraid of Samuel’s bad sons becoming leaders, the fact was that Samuel was still the “judge”, and he was still good.
The people were demanding a king out of fear and a lack of trusting God, not on the fact that Samuel might have been wicked.
In other words, they had the wrong reasons for wanting a king.

:6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt.

:7 Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did to you and your fathers:

:7 that I may reason with you

Samuel is going to briefly remind the people of some of God’s great works.  He wants to show them what a great king the Lord has been for them.

:8 When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place.

When they cried for God to help them, He helped them.

:9 And when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them.

When the people walked away from the Lord, they got into trouble.

:10 Then they cried out to the Lord, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’

:10 the Baals and Ashtoreths

The male and female Canaanite gods.

:11 And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety.

:11 Jerubbaal – Gideon

:11 Bedan – some have suggested this might be another name for Barak.

The Point:  Every time the people cried to God for help, He delivered them.

:12 And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.

Apparently the people had been aware of the building Ammonite threat at the time that they asked for a king.

This time, when the trouble came, instead of crying to God for Him to deliver them, they chose their own plan.  They decided what needed to be done instead of the Lord.  This time they opted for a king to help them instead of God.

: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.

God has given you what you asked.

: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.

:14 obey His voice


The way out

Samuel is laying out the two choices before the people.
Even though they have sinned in why they have asked for a king, God is still willing to help them.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You made your bed, now lie in it”?
We’ve been told that if we’ve made a mess of things, that we’re just going to have to live in that mess.
Sometimes we get to thinking that God is saying the same thing to us as well.
Don’t get me wrong – there are consequences for our actions.  If we’ve made a mess, there will be a mess to be cleaned up.
But the point is that some things can be cleaned up.
It may have been the wrong time for the people to be asking for a king, but God has given them a king and now they have a chance to choose to follow the Lord instead of just following what the others nations are doing.
Even when we’ve made wrong choices, there is a way out of our mess and we can still choose to fear the Lord, serve Him, and obey Him.
Example:  It’s not an uncommon thing for people to initiate a divorce, then remarry, and then realize that they had made a stupid mistake, sometimes wishing they could go back to their first spouse.

You can’t unscramble an egg.  But you can make a good breakfast.

You may have made mistakes, but you can still choose to serve the Lord from where you are right now.

: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.”

:17 your wickedness is great

The idea of having a king is not wrong.

God already had given the people laws kings in Deuteronomy 17.

The issue was motive.  The issue was “why” they wanted a king.

(1 Co 13:1–3 NKJV) —1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Sometimes even good things can be wrong when our motive behind it is wrong.

: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.

:17 wheat harvest … rain

The beginning of the wheat harvest occurs at the end of June and the beginning of July.  It seldom rains in Israel during that time.  The sky is usually cloudless.

Why is Samuel doing these things?

Samuel is trying to impress the people with the notion that the things he’s saying are from God.  He wants them to pay attention.
He’s made them think about his own integrity.
He’s going to demonstrate that God is giving him the words to say.
It’s important that the people don’t go away from this gathering with the idea that Samuel is simply upset because he’s now out of a job as leader of the nation.
It’s important for the people to realize the truth that they have sinned and they need to seek the Lord.

: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.”

The people get the point.  They realize that they’ve handled things wrongly.

: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.

:21 after empty things


Empty things.

Turning to the wrong things won’t help you.
(Je 2:13 NKJV) “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.
In the Holy Land, because of the lack of water, the people would collect rain water in huge underground reservoirs, called cisterns.  They were carved into the rock and the people would divert the rain water into the cisterns to store it.  But woe to the person who spends all this time carving out a cistern that doesn’t hold any water.  A lot of work for nothing.
In contrast, God is like a fountain of living waters, an artesian well, a source of fresh bubbling water.
Sometimes we spend time on things that are “empty”
Play Geico Guinea Pig Rower commercial

Does that really seem like a great way to lower your electric bills?

I think it’s an “empty thing”

Sometimes the things we spend our time doing in life are just as silly and empty.
What do you turn to when you’re in trouble?  We need to look to the Lord.

: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.

:22 it has pleased the Lord


God’s love

Sometimes we get disappointed in people and we go way overboard with our displeasure.  We put them on our “black list” and they can never get off of it.
God may not be pleased with all the sinful things we get into, but He still loves us and has good hopes for us.
Read this together:
(Ro 8:31–39 NKJV) —31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Even though the people have sinned, God still loves this people.
God loves you.

: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.”

:23 in ceasing to pray

In Samuel, we see two qualities of a spiritual leader.



The implication is that Samuel has been continually praying for the people.  And he isn’t about to stop.
There actually is a time that God told someone to stop praying.  God told Jeremiah:
(Je 7:16 NKJV) “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.

God had gotten to the place with the nation where He was going to bring judgment and nothing was going to stop it.

But that is the exception to the rule.  As a general rule, a spiritual leader will pray for his flock.  It would be a sin not to.
Samuel is considered in the Psalms as a man of prayer:
(Ps 99:6 NKJV) Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.
We need to pray for those we lead.



Samuel knew that he wasn’t just to pray.  He was to teach.
The early church knew of these priorities.  As things began to grow in the early church, the apostles asked the church for helpers so they could devote their time to what was important.  They said,
(Ac 6:4 NKJV) —4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

[1] Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1996). The works of Josephus : Complete and unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson.