Samuel looked up at Saul. Israel’s first king was watching the crowd in front of them. Samuel wasn’t sure if it was Saul’s natural stature, or if the man was standing confidently erect.
That knot in the pit of Samuel’s stomach just would not go away.
Samuel turned toward the crowd and raised his hands. He waited for silence. “I have served you as your judge since my mother set me apart in my childhood. Tell me if there is anything I’ve taken that doesn’t belong to me. Do I owe any of you an ox, sheep or goat? Have I ever taken a bribe that blinded my judgment? Speak up now so I can make amends before we continue.”
Everyone looked around. Nobody said anything.
An elder looked at Samuel. “There is nothing you’ve done wrong to any of us. We simply want a king to lead us.”
Samuel took a half step forward. “After Jacob took his family to Egypt God heard the cry of His chosen people and sent Moses and Aaron to lead them to this land of promise. Several kings have come along to avenge God’s punishment to us as we’ve turned away from Him. God has sent many judges to lead His people back to Himself as confession has led us to repent.
“It’s not by the strength of any of these people that you’ve been victorious, but only by the sovereign hand of God Himself. Rather than content yourselves with God as your head you’ve asked for a king so you’ll be like the nations around you. A king will do you no good if you choose to follow after useless idols and ideals.
“It’s only as you and your king follow God with all your hearts that you’ll succeed. When you turn your backs on Him He will turn His face from you and send another nation to exact His punishment on you. He has chosen you only because He decided to choose you. He will not allow His people to perish only for His name’s sake. You must keep your focus on God and God alone. Your children, and your children’s children, must continue to follow God for Him to protect you in this land.
“To show you the severity of your request I will ask God to send rain during this dry time of year. You must know God is in control of all things.”
Samuel dropped to his knees and raised his hands. “Lord Jehovah, I seek Your power at this time to display Your strength to Your people now. Let Your majesty reign on Your people at this time.”
An audible gasp rose from the crowd as Samuel stood and watched a cloud form above them. It quickly blotted out the sun by its thickness. Thunder followed the flashes inside it.
A few of the people ran down the road leading away. A bolt of lightning in front of them turned them back in their tracks. A torrential rain drenched everybody.
An elder approached Samuel. “Please, beg the LORD your God to stop this rain. We’ve been foolish in asking for a king. Our sins are too great to stand in His presence.”
Samuel waited for the echo from the latest round of lightning to still. “LORD God, I ask for Your mercy at this time.”
The rain ceased as the cloud dissipated and the sun returned to dry the people.
Samuel looked at Saul. Saul’s face was pale.
Samuel faced the crowd. “You and your king must never forget the awesome power of the LORD God. He alone is your only hope. He alone will protect and guide you all the days of your life. The day you chase after empty gods is the day He’ll turn away from you to keep you in this land. Never forget that.”
Usually when a coronation takes place the person in charge prays for a dry day. Samuel happened to be a bit counter-cultural in his approach to life. I’ve seen this trait repeated most frequently in those who follow God the closest.
Jesus Christ is exhibit A. I’m sure His disciples had scratched a bald spot on their scalp trying to figure out why Jesus was so abrasive to the religious establishment. Didn’t He know they’d need the Sanhedrin’s backing when they toppled the Romans from power?
As we’ve seen, Jesus knew exactly what He was doing. The disciples didn’t have the correct view as to just what Jesus’ mission was at that time.
The Jewish religious leadership was too close to their religion and too far away from God. That’s the point Samuel was making by asking God to bring a storm during the dry season in Israel.
There is a time for the power of God to be displayed and a time when God’s power is not as obvious.
Jesus showed God’s strength as much when He walked on Galilee and calmed the storm as He did when he played with the children.
God is in the big things as much as the little things. The tornadoes that cause such devastation are as much a display of God as the flowers that bloom from the rain that fell from those same storms.
God wants the same thing from us as He did from His chosen people back in Samuel’s day: obedience.
Samuel wanted the people to see that it wasn’t going to be a king that made them successful. They were going to have to keep depending on God’s provision and protection no matter who was in the position of leadership.
Samuel’s warnings were the same warnings Moses gave God’s chosen people and they’re the same warnings for us today.
Trust God for the big things and the little things. Don’t follow the current trends of society if they lead away from God and His teachings.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
I’ll see you later. Wade