In today’s chapter, although Israel is celebrating, it is a very sad day for the nation. As Samuel gathers all of the people together to speak to them about the arrival of their first king he explains to them that they have rejected their God in doing so. If there are any pastors that are reading this blog; I imagine that, much like myself, you feel the sadness of Samuel seep through these pages as you read. It is a very depressing thing to speak the word of God, know that it is truth, know that it is needed and have people openly reject it. I imagine that Samuel’s mind was boggled when he spoke to them. If Samuel and I have anything in common, he expected the people, after his strong words in regards to their turning from God, to repent. I imagine that Samuel, knowing that was he was saying was the truth of God, expect people to be weeping that day. I would have expected people to, when faced with the reality of their darkened hearts, to desire to change. I consider this chapter the alter call of Samuel. Samuel is giving them one last chance to repent before he dismisses them. But no one was convicted of their sin. They all heard the message of God and simply would not respond to it. I imagine that Samuel was a wreck emotionally. Can you imagine his mixed feelings? They were people that he loved so much, and prayed for regularly, a people that he had ministered to and tried to meet their needs, a people that he had shown compassion to and tried to point them in the right direction. Now Samuel is flooded with these conflicting emotions of disappointment, love, anger, wrath, fear and disillusionment. I wonder at what point during Samuel’s sermon/speech did he realize that it was pointless. I have to wonder if he had many more words of warning and persuasion, but as he saw the faces of the people he realized that no matter what he was to say, these people had made up their mind and no one or no God was going to change it. Samuel experienced that day what God has gone through for six thousand years in dealing with man. Pastors, leaders, we aren’t experiencing anything “new” today. The heart of man is bent toward sin and destruction (Rom. 3:10-11). I wonder how Samuel felt when the people (the only time in which they spoke during the engagement) said in unison, after the warnings, “Long live the king.” I would bet that Samuel was often awakened from his sleep by those words following that day.
But even in all of the disobedience, God, for some reason, decided to make a way. God took the disobedience of these people and used it for good in the redemption of man. Through this sad, sad situation, God would soon set up a kingly line through David that would bring the Messiah to the world. Even though His own people rejected Him and He had every right to destroy them; He still made a way for redemption. Romans 5:8 tells us “that God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”