1 Samuel 11 "The Portrait Hall": The Prophet with the Caution Sign

God never designed His followers to feel fulfilled while allowing them to be mediocre about following Him. Yet, it seems a constant temptation of followers of God to commit only part of their lives to Him. It is easier to take our delight in the works of God than from God Himself, but it is not His design. The ancient warning sign is still very important to heed! You may be excited and hopeful with change, but it won’t work unless it is the RIGHT CHANGE!

Key Principle: Joy comes from following Him, not chasing after the trail of His benefits.

Cautions: Our text offers three cautions we must face in trying to solve our problems:

Caution #1) We jump too quickly! (12:1-2). Now you have what you want, but it comes with some issues (12:1). The new time has come, and my time as your leader has passed (12:2). Satisfaction Principle: Getting what you want brings a temporary satisfaction. It only lasts if it truly addresses the need.

Caution #2) We listen to the wrong voices! (12:3-5). I want you to publicly affirm that I have rules honestly in front of the new ruler (12:3). “You have dealt uprightly!” they affirmed (12:4). “Confirm aloud again, you have no cause against me before God!” Samuel cried out. “We have no cause!” the people confirmed. (12:5). Trust Principle: We should listen to those who know God and have consistently demonstrated obedience to His Word without self-interest motives.

Caution #3) We draw the wrong conclusions! (12:6-13). God redeemed you (not simply Moses and Aaron), and you are His! (12:6). Because of God’s redemption, remember what God has done for you. (12:7).

Look at the pattern: When you were lost in captivity and unable to escape, God sent leaders to pull you out of trouble (12:8). When they forsook God after their redemption, God brought pain and affliction (12:9). Through their pain they saw their sin and cried out in repentance, asking for deliverance anew (12:10). God’s response was to again send leaders to pull you out of the troubles (12:11). When the most recent troubles came, you expressed a need for a human ruler, though God was still at work before you (12:12). Here is the ruler God sent you (12:13). Misplaced Affection Principle: Real solutions are found in what God does, not simply the agents of His work.

Observe: The Word offers two principles concerning real choices

Principle #1) We are not victims in this world! (12:14-15). If you follow the Lord obediently and serve God, then you AND your king will walk obediently before God! (12:14). If you rebel against God’s Word, God will turn away from you as He did to those before you (12:15). Control Principle: When God’s people walk in profound obedience to Him, they take control of their history!

Principle #2) We must see the truth behind the obvious! (12:16-18). Step up and see what God has promised (12:16). Today is the harvest day. I will show you by calling for God to send a storm how powerful He is and how helpless you are. Do you truly think a king will solve a spiritual problem! (12:17). Samuel called on the Lord and the storms came heavily. The people feared Samuel (12:18). Misplaced Answer Principle: When we trust a physical solution to a spiritual problem, we deny the truth that God waits for us to acknowledge.

We must change –  not to earn His favor – but because of His love!

  • We must agree with the diagnosis of what is truly wrong! The people cried to Samuel, “Ask God to preserve us, we have sinned by looking for another answer to our spiritual condition!” (12:19). Repentance Principle: We don’t begin to solve a problem until we admit that we have one, and agree with God about what it is!
  • Repentance is a new beginning! Samuel called, “Stop being afraid! Yes, you are guilty. Yet, you can turn now to God and follow Him wholly!” (12:20). You must not chase after other solutions to your spiritual need, it won’t work! (12:21). Opportunity Principle: When we face the truth of our sin, we have an opportunity to begin a new and hopeful path!
  • God takes the first step! Remember, God will not abandon you because of His promise (12:22). Relationship Principle: God doesn’t expect you to do right to find Him; He finds you and calls you to do right!
  • God offers help! Beside, I will keep praying for you and keep instructing you in God’s ways (12:23). Remembrance Principle: God keeps His Word in front of His people when they really seek Him!

Face the warnings! Revere God, give Him your heart and hands, and recall what God has done for you (12:24). If you walk away in disobedience, you and all your solutions will be swept away (12:25). Warning Principle: God offers us opportunity to choose based on both warnings and experience.

Joy comes from following Him, not just chasing after the trail of His benefits!