Stand Still – Who is your daddy? What rules you? Who is your king?
I grew up in the city. My neighborhood was split down the middle with two kinds of people. There was the “country/roughneck/redneck” crowd and there was the “wanna be gangster/thug/homeboy” crowd. Jacob was a pretty good mix of both. He was the neighborhood bully. He lived directly behind my house with his dad and brothers (when they weren’t locked up in prison somewhere); his mom had passed away when he was young.
Jacob’s dad was a huge man. He always wore leather and drove a huge Harley Davidson motorcycle. Jacob seemed like a giant too.
The only decent memory I have of Jacob, his dad, or his house has to do with his dogs. They had two Dachshunds. I cannot really remember their names; they may have been Sandy and Penny or something like that. These two dogs were very sweet. I really enjoyed playing with them.
Sometimes, when Jacob or his dad would come around, both dogs would cower. Do you know what I mean? Their bubbly personality would make a dramatic shift. Their tiny faces would transform. Smiles turned into fearful gazes. Their tiny little backs would quickly arch then abruptly collapse to the floor. Each tale would be tucked between their legs. They both would expose their bellies, and this routine would make its finale with shivers. Both dogs would be trembling. Their little faces, ears, legs, and paws would be shaking with submission. Then, on occasion, they would tinkle.
Penny and Sandy recognized the authority and power of Jacob and his dad. They would fully submit to each of them. This routine was the dogs’ way of saying three things… “You are the boss!” “You are my daddy!” “You are my master!”
Now, I would like you all to take a moment to great one another. As you great one another, ask your neighbor one of these three questions… Who is your daddy? What rules you? Who is your master?
1 Samuel 12 – Samuel’s Farewell Address
A Plea for Credibility – 12:1-5 (READ)
Samuel is trying to establish his personal credibility and personal integrity in order to inspire confidence in his upcoming exhortation.
I would like to do the same thing…
I want to be clear. I am not here to take something from you today. I have no desire to defraud you. This time is not about oppression. I do not want to unjustly treat you or try to control you for my own personal gain.
My only goal comes from 2 Timothy 2:15, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Please, remember Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
As we go through this sermon, do not forget that God’s word is: alive, active, sharp, it pierces to the point of dividing soul/spirit and joints/marrow, it is a discerner of your thoughts, and it also discerns the intentions of your heart.
As we move on, I want you to know that I have no desire to wound you. However, realize that God’s word might cut you. God’s word will lay bare the thoughts and intentions of your heart.
(I hope you will respond like the people did in Acts 2:37, “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”)
One request… Will you listen to what God has to say to you today through His word? Will you then ask yourself, “What should I do?”
Stand Still and Reflect – 12:6-8 (READ)
Take a moment and circle a phrase in verse 7 (it is also in verse 16).
Stand still. Stop. Pause. Unplug.
Samuel wants the Israelites to take a moment to remember and reflect upon all the amazing things God has done throughout history for His people.
I would like you to do the same thing. Stop and think! Think about EVERYTHING God has done throughout history… Creation, the great flood, Tower of Babel, the birth of Isaac in Abraham’s old age, Joseph’s life, the plagues in Egypt, Moses parting the Red Sea, manna, Mount Sinai, and the list goes on and on and on and on again!
God’s righteous deeds are AMAZING. Think through your life. Think through the lives of your family and friends. Think through the various timelines of history. God’s work stands tall.
Don’t forget what God has done.
But They Forgot – 12:9-12 (READ)
They love me, they love me not. They love me, they love me not.
Have you ever played that fantastically fickle game with God? One minute you are all about God, then the next minute you forget Him.
Samuel is trying to help the Israelites see that their affection for God is like a roller coaster. One moment it is up the next it is down. However, God’s deliverance has always been consistent (verse 11).
It reminds me of James’ admonition in the first chapter…
James 1:5-8, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:22-24, But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Do you struggle with double-mindedness and forgetfulness?
Samuel wants them to see that God has always been their deliverer. King Nahash and the Ammonites are no match for God, but as FEARS increase so does FORGETFULNESS.
Your worries and your struggles are no match for God, but as FEARS increase so does FORGETFULNESS.
Are we any different?
Choices and Consequences – 12:13-15 (READ)
Our choices have consequences. Samuel is highlighting a simple concept for the Israelites.
Choose good or bad. One choice goes up. One choice goes down.
We have decisions to make everyday. It will go well if we… Fear God. Serve God. Obey the voice of God. Do not rebel against the commandment of God.
Romans 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Samuel further explains that the people AND their king must follow the Lord in order for all to go well.
When people do not obey the voice of the Lord and rebel against the commandments of the Lord, the hand of Lord will be against them and their king.
Stand Still and Recognize – 12:16-18 (READ)
Once again, Samuel is trying to capture the attention of the Israelites. This time he does it with a miracle. The season of the wheat harvest is during the months of May and June. Israel receives most rainfall during the winter months. Rain during the wheat harvest is rare. This miracle was performed so that the Israelites would come to their senses and recognize two facts. First off, Samuel wanted them to acknowledge their wickedness (verse 17). Secondly, this miracle provides yet another testimony of God’s strength and power (verse 18).
Stand still. Stop. Pause. Unplug.
Stop and think for a moment! Think about your past. Can you think about a time when God gave you EXACTLY what you wanted, but it did not go so well? Are you able to see how you got exactly what you wanted, but it was not good for you? Can you see how your desire for something other than God has exposed your own wickedness and the frailty of your flesh?
Don’t Let the Past Haunt You – 12:19-25 (READ)
After seeing Samuel’s miracle, the people immediately see that they have made a wrong turn. They can see the error of their ways. Hindsight is 20/20, and their anxiety level explodes. The Israelites are on their knees begging for mercy after acknowledging their foolishness (verse 19).
Samuel’s response is golden. He walks us through how to deal with sin…
Do not be afraid. Acknowledge your evil actions. Do not turn aside from trying to follow the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart.
Then the bull’s eye (core theme) of the entire chapter…
12:21, And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.
This reminds me of King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes…
1:2, Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
2:26b, This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
This goes back to my initial questions during the greeting. What rules you? Who is your king? Who is your daddy?
Stand still. Stop. Pause. Unplug. Honestly answer the questions before God.
I am here to encourage you. DO NOT turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver. Everything is meaningless WITHOUT the king! Everything is empty WITHOUT the king!
Remember the promise of God in verse 22. Read it aloud with me!
Samuel is a faithful servant of God and Israel. Look at verse 23. If you would like to know how to minister to people, this verse underlines (2) key points. PRAY and INSTRUCT in the good and right way! That is the job of all God’s priests – remember if you are a Christian, you are part of the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Follow in Samuel’s steps.
The last (2) verses of this chapter sum up Samuel’s farewell address.
12:24 – ONLY fear God. Serve him faithfully with ALL your heart. Remember all the great things he has done for you!
12:25 – If you still choose wickedness, you and your king will be swept away!
Joshua 24:15, Choose this day whom you will serve.
Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
James 4:4-10, You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Romans 6:16-23 (READ) – δοῦλος
Will you be a servant of sin or of righteousness?
Will you be a servant of death or of life?
Will you be a servant of an earthly king or the only Sovereign King (the King of Kings – 1 Timothy 6:15)?
STAND STILL. STOP. PAUSE. UNPLUG.
Choose this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:15)
Philippians 2:9-11, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.