Same Song, Final Verse

A Ruler's Reduction: the Fall of Saul  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:03
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Each Generatoni Faces the same predicament: self or God?

I’ve never had a woman pastor so I don’t know if this practice holds true in all churches, but my experience has been that mother’s get honored on Mother’s Day and men get challenged on Father’s Day. I also know that one of the tasks of faithful preaching is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
I made myself a promise several years ago that neither a husband nor a wife would leave the service on “their” day feeling more beat up than their spouse.
In the spirit of that promise, I will conclude with a challenge for the dads who are present and I will also challenge families who are with them, as well as a final challenge for all of us regardless if we are single, empty-nesters, or in a full nest.
Today’s text is at the pinnacle of Samuel’s tenure as priest and judge. He has just handed the throne to Saul both privately, publicly, and now by acclamation of the people. Since he will no longer be deciding disputes between parties, he makes a final declaration then begins to fade to the background.
Transition: Many of us have had rocky patches in our lives. Some of us, like Samuel, feel frustrated by what we failed to pass on to our offspring, But overall Samuel is one who finished his race well. As he heads into the final lap of his ministry he is still standing and keeping pace.

Samuel is an example of Integrity (vv.1-5)

There are not many public figures who will open themselves to public criticism, but Samuel does that very thing here.

Faithful in the Past

1. He opens the floor for evaluation (v.3)
a. He asks for any examples of crookedness, bribery or mistreatment
b. The people state he is blameless
c. He declared with the Lord as his witness [or “his hand on the Bible”] that he only took what was dutifully owed him. And the people concurred.
2. His sons (8:3)
a. He mentions his sons in v.2 without comment,
b. This is a silent contrast because the people knew that Joel and Abijah had used politics for personal gain.
c. Samuel asks to be judged on his own merit, but was unafraid to remind people that not all have the same integrity.

Confident about the Future (v.16)

Based upon Samuel’s faithfulness to God and the unspoken faithfulness of God to vindicate him, he has such confidence in the righteousness and justice of God that he actually paraphrases Moses when God parted the sea by saying, “stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes”
Application: When our obedience is complete, we can rely upon God to come through in the future.
Transition: Samuel’s confidence was not a “blind faith” it was evidence-based.

God is an example of Faithfulness (vv.6-11)

God rescued them from many enemies (v.8)

God rescued them by bringing them to Egypt during famine.
God rescued them from Egypt by calling Moses and delivering them to the Promised Land.
This journey and conquest had too many times of God’s provision for me to list them all (thirst, hunger, snakes, false prophets, enemies, etc.).

Idolatry had been to blame for losses (vv.9-10)

Sisera, Philistines, Moabites defeated Abraham’s descendants because THEY turned from God to Baals and Ashteroth.

God provided victorious leaders (v.11)

Turning to God caused Him to raise up Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel
Transition: in this context of God’s mercy and the people’s rebellions, they are now at a fork in the road.

The people face a Predicament (vv.12-18)

They got their request for a King. God used the king to deliver a victory. Now they have to decide if they are going to trust the King or the God who chose him.

Samuel’s proposal: King& Peoplemust obey God (v.14)

Disobedience by either people OR their king can cause God to withdraw his blessing. (v.15)
APPLICATION: Politicians want to clean up DC, drain the swamp of Bureaucracy and Special Interests, mop up the cesspools of our Capitals, but what about the evil in our streets? I’ve seen enough filth in social media, private business, and community demonstrations to merit every bit of God’s wrath on every continent of our globe Who we elect to lead/serve us is only 1 factor in seeking God’s favor! We need both leaders and a populace who obey God!!

God’s exclamation point (vv.16-18)

Rain during wheat harvest is never good.
I realize some of you have a MUCH fuller understanding of agriculture than I. I knew that moisture is 1 enemy of harvest because the elevator will only accept it if the moisture content is low. I was reminded this week in a news interview that rain during harvest poses a 2ndchallenge. While the Fall/Winter drought has reduced the yield by some 70%, Spring rains are contributing to weeds that gum up the combine headers. Even though they didn’t use combines in Samuel’s day, rain during harvest slowed the gleaning and was a sign of the displeasure of whatever deity they believed in.
2. Rain and thunder on this day was a clear reminder that God will NOT overlook future disobedience or idolatry.
Transition: v.18 declares that the people realized God was NOT their equal. He is God, and they are not.

The people choose reverence & obedience (vv.19-25)

I warned you in the introduction that I was going to challenge families, fathers and all of us this morning.
Did any of you play “Mercy” when you were younger? Or kids, do you still play “Mercy” on during recess? Mercy is a version of arm wrestling where each player tries to bend back the wrist of the opponent until he cries out for “mercy” Who wants to challenge me to 1 quick round?
2. After the Springtime Thunderstorm, God has the Israelites in the “Mercy position” when Samuel tells them how to get God’s mercy.

Families, listen to the challenge (vv.20-21)

2 are things to pursue, and 2 are things to avoid.
Accept forgiveness
Do not turn away from the Lord
Serve with all your heart
Do not turn to empty things

Fathers, learn from Samuel (v.23)

You only have 2, but these 2 may be more difficult than your family’s 4.
Prayer – Pray that your family makes good choices.
Instruction – lead your family in discovering God’s Truth (not just taking them to church or leading supper devotions, but as you lie down, as you rise, and as you do life together)
I’m not going to reveal who is in this illustration because I didn’t get permission beforehand. But it is a TRUE story from THIS week in our church. Often the moral choices promoted by our Fathers is not the same choices that are offered by peers or other influencers. What would you expect a teenager to do if he or she went to summer camp and found a back of marijuana in the cabin? One of our teens found themself (I know “them” is a plural pronoun, but I’m using it intentionally to disguise the gender of the teen) in that very situation. Due largely to a Mother and Father who pray for and instruct their children, this teen and friends turned the baggie over to camp leadership without prompting from adults.
3. Parents: your prayer and instruction make a difference!!

All of us (v.24)

1. Reverence
2. Obedience
3. Remembrance


We all have too many opportunities to turn away from God and turn toward empty things.
My prayer is that the words of Samuel would haunt your memory,
1 Samuel 12:14 ESV:2016
14 If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well.
Our response song was another one requested by one of our fathers. As each of us consider the words of Samuel, I hope you will be able to honestly sing...

Response Song #506.... “I’d Rather Have Jesus


1 Kings 8:57–58 ESV:2016
57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, 58 that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.
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