Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Twelve]: The Decreasing Prophet. In this chapter we find the king is raised up and Samuel understands that he is passing off the scene. The relationship of Samuel to Saul’s kingship echoes the relationship of John the Baptist and Jesus. The prophetic is not an end in itself. Most prophets don’t get this. It is important to know that prophet’s are heralds of that which God is about to do. In the midst of this a prophet must maintain his integrity and keep a tender heart even though he may be wounded by others and not quite understand all that God is doing in a time of shift.
[1Sa 12:1-25 KJV] 1 And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. 2 And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons [are] with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. 3 Behold, here I [am]: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received [any] bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. 4 And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand.
The era of the Judges is coming to an end and now kings will rule over Israel. There are times that the prophet hearkens to the voice of God and times that he hearkens to the voice of the people. God never desired that a king would rule over Israel but in 1 Sam. 8:14 He instructs Samuel to hearken to the voice of the people and give them what they want. This level of the prophetic is very powerful and very dangerous. There are times that the prophet speaks what will come to pass. Other times these things come to pass because the prophet speaks. God has told me many times “if you say it I will do it. If you will not say it I will not do it.” This is where miracles will happen but be careful what you ask for. Many times what we demand now becomes a restriction later that will exclude us from God’s greater blessing.
Samuel also realizes now that a king walks before the people that his day is over. In John 3:30 John the Baptist said “I must decrease that he (Jesus) may increase…” So it is with every prophetic generation. The prophetic in the earth is always the herald of the new thing that God is doing. They are making way for the king. When He shows up the prophet must be prepared to no more be center stage. Most prophets don’t get this. Those that do hold everything loosely and keep their eyes on Jesus and on their assignment in the earth.
Samuel also addresses before the people the issue of his integrity. We know from 1 Sam. 9:7 that Samuel’s ministry consisted of responding to long queues of inquirers who came to hear from him as a prophet. It was expected that when they came they were to bring an offering. Now later in his life Samuel asks the people “did I take a bribe?” The unanimous answer was no. His integrity was intact. What is the difference between a bribe and a donation? In receiving a bribe a prophet tells the person what they want to hear. In receiving a donation the giver acknowledges that they are not in control of the transaction and that whatever God says is what the prophet will convey. In a seeker sensitive generation such as ours – this subtle nuance is often missed on the part of God’s people because they are used to having things their way.
5 And he said unto them, The LORD [is] witness against you, and his anointed [is] witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, [He is] witness. 6 And Samuel said unto the people, [It is] the LORD that advanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. 7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers. 8 When Jacob was come into Egypt, and your fathers cried unto the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, which brought forth your fathers out of Egypt, and made them dwell in this place. 9 And when they forgat the LORD their God, he sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 And they cried unto the LORD, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee. 11 And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe. 12 And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God [was] your king. 13 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, [and] whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you.
Samuel points out that in serving the people from Moses till the present day that God had never failed to take care of His people. Yet the people continually looked out on the world around them and wanted to have a king like other nations. When the people of God take their cue from the way the world does things – difficulties ensue. For many decades the church has patterned itself after the corporate business models of Wall Street with rigid hierarchical structures that do not foster sensitivity to the moving of the Spirit of God. Decisions are often made either by committees and votes of the congregation or by inflexible, dictatorial leaders who consult no one least of all God. Neither of these extremes reflects God’s choice. The early church followed neither of these patterns yet brought the known world to its knees at the foot of the cross. They were led by servant leaders in the context of spiritual family who rejoiced together, suffered together and brought a testimony that turned the world upside down. The people in Samuel’s day didn’t want a history lesson they wanted a king and a king is what God gave them. Even though this meant from God’s viewpoint that they were rejecting Him – nonetheless He will remain faithful – even to the point of eventually sending His own son in the office of the king by whose very existence spoke of the peoples rejection of His own leadership.
14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: 15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as [it was] against your fathers. 16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes. 17 [Is it] not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness [is] great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king. 18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
The coming of thunder and rain threatened the harvest. Samuel is a carrier of the glory of God and the kingdom of God is centered on him and flows through him in great authority. As God gave Adam and Eve dominion to subdue the earth so Samuel demonstrates what it is to be a principality and a power in the earth. The rain and thunderstorms meant a delay in harvest if not destruction of the harvest. Anything that makes you do a double-take pray to interpret. It is the natural state of the believer to rule and reign in life under a yoke easy and a burden light. When that is not descriptive of your life you should pause and take a good look at yourselves. Suffering is not the base state of the believer. If you will allow God to help you look at yourself transparently you may see something very correctable in yourself that will unlock great blessing over your life.
19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins [this] evil, to ask us a king. 20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; 21 And turn ye not aside: for [then should ye go] after vain [things], which cannot profit nor deliver; for they [are] vain. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid 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 how great [things] he hath done for you. 25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.
Herein is a great mystery. We are taught in Christianity that if we choose other than what God has for us that He will reject us and leave us to our own desserts. That is not what we see happening when the people choose a king. God points out through the prophet Samuel that yes the people have done wickedly but nonetheless the Lord will not forsake them FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE. The words of Jesus echo in our ears “go and sin no more …” There came a point in the people’s desire for a king that they had to get it out of their system so to speak. So God allows this to happen and yes there are consequences but God still loves them as He loves you and will not abandon you even though you make wrong choices at times. Anyone who has any honesty about their walk with God will acknowledge this as the basic true of the Lordship of Christ.
In the midst of this we see the tender heart of Samuel. Because the people rejected God as their king Samuel was wounded deeply. Yet he purposes that he will not cease to pray for the people and for the king they chose. He will continue to teach them about God’s goodness unlike many today who preach hell and damnation even to the most faithful of believers – all in the hopes of keeping the people in line. God is not interested in leading us by threats and intimidation or fear. Rom. 2:5 says that it is God’s goodness that leads us to repentance. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will continue to work with us and we (if we choose the fear of the Lord) will walk tenderly before Him and not take His patience for granted.
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