Samuel begins the process of stepping downs as the Judge of Israel. He has already felt rejected by the people who wanted a king so he simply begins to resign his position to allow King Saul to begin his reign. With a successful battle plan and victory King Saul won the hearts of the nation and the people thought that this is exactly what they wanted. They were willing to follow him so Samuel knew it was time for his leadership to be over.
Each one of us will reach the final chapter of our lives and at the end of our careers the question will then be, have I lived a life that is as blameless as Samuel?
Read 1 Samuel 12:1-5
People that put themselves on trial:
1) Have nothing to hide
Samuel begins to step down as the judge of Israel even though his work will not be completely done. He starts by asking the people to judge him and his ministry through all these years and if he is found guilty of anything he will make things right.
To “Testify against me” meant that Samuel was using the Bible as the guide to rightly judge him by.When we judge others and ourselves it cannot be based on opinion but it is based on the absolute truth of Gods word. Our society today is about opinion and their own personal thoughts. In fact personal opinion is the trump card if there is a disagreement even if one is being proved wrong. What people do not realize is that they are really making themselves god because they are saying that their word (opinion) is the final determiner of what they think. It is scary to think that absolute truth does not exist and I am not sure they understand the consequences of everything being right in their own eyes. They believe themselves to be right and pure but in the end when they stand before God they will see that they missed the mark of His Holiness.
Proverbs 30:12 There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth.
So Samuel lets them know that right judging starts with God and His word He asks them if he took anything from them or obtained money illegally or deceptively He asks them if he has ever taken a bribe to look the other way when he was to judge a dispute. Samuel is specific with them and wants to know at the end of his life if there is any wrongs that need to be made right. What a testimony about the kind of life that Samuel lived that at the end of his ministry all the people agree that he has not defrauded or ruled unfairly.
This will also be an example to the Kings that will follow Samuels’s leadership to model after the life he lived. The people will one day look back and see that the way Samuel ruled as opposed to the way the Kings ruled. Our lives are always to be lived in such a way that people can clearly see the standard that God has called us to. (Matthew 5:16)
2) Want to be right with others
“I will restore it to you”
One of the true signs that God has changed your heart is your concern for making things right with others.
Luke 19:8-9 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
This does not mean that you will be right with all people because some people will not accept your apology or your restitution. Your job as a Christian is to live a life that no one can say that you took money from them, deceived them, or abused their friendship in anyway.
Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Jesus did not live peaceably with all people but that was not because of Him but because of others who did not want to accept the truth He was telling them. Not everyone liked Jesus but they could not find anything about His life that proved He did not practice what He preached.
Relationships matter to God because He created us to be in relationships with others. When we are at odds with others because of things we have done then we have to go and try and make things right. Matthew 18 is about making things right with others who have offended you and it is our responsibility to do all we can to be right with everyone we deal with.
Read 1 Samuel 12:6-7
3) Will be listened to by others
We all have had people that we do not take advice from because they are not living by the very advice they are giving. Hypocrites are what many in the church are called and they are correct some of the time. Hypocrites comes from the term of were playing a role and there are many in the church that are playing the role of Christianity but are not truly Christians.
When your life is lived consistently for many years then you will gain the ears of others. John Maxwell calls it the Law of E.F. Hutton. This saying is based on a commercial when everyone would be talking until one person would say “well my financial advisor is E.F. Hutton and he says”… at this point everyone would stop what they were doing to listen to what the person was going to say. Based on the commercial E.F. Hutton had such a reputation in the financial world of being successful that he gained the ears of all the listeners.
With the Law of E.F. Hutton, as John Maxwell calls it, he says to be a person that is listened to is to means you have to be a person with high character. How you live will open doors to speak into other peoples lives.
Samuel was able to speak and say very hard things to the people because he earned that right to be heard by the life he lived consistently for all those years. He loved God and loved the people he served along with a high moral life earned him the right to speak.
1 Samuel 12:8-17 is about Samuel reminding them of the pattern Israel has in rebelling and repenting toward God. In verse 18 Samuel calls on God to demonstrate that what Samuel just said was of God by sending a powerful storm. This time of year would have been an unusual occurrence and the fact that Samuel prayed and it happened was proof enough to the people that what he said was from God. He then tells them that they have sinned against God by requesting a King that was not in Gods timing.
As Christians we have some difficult things to say to people because eternity is at stake. People that do not give their lives to Christ will be eternally separated from God. (John 14:6) Because of the things we need to say to people our lives need to be put on trial daily so we do not lose the platform God has given us.
1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Read 1 Samuel 12:19-25
4) Can share the grace and truth of God
I love that it says that even though you have done wicked things he encourages them continue to serve God because He will not forsake you. Samuel tells them they do not have to live in Fear of God because God still loves them even in the midst of their sin. (The Fear the Bible talks about is a respectful fear but not a frightened and afraid to approach fear.) When people sin they usually say that there is grace so they keep on sinning or like Adam and Even they hide from God because they knew they have sin in their lives. God does not either one of those but wants us to come to Him like a child with a broken toy asking Him to fix he mess we have made. He wants us to go and sin no more (John 8:11) but He wants us to know that He will not condemn those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
One of the worse things you can do as a follower of Christ is to think that because of your sin that God has neglected you. You cannot out sin God’s grace although as Samuel let the children of Israel know, there are consequences to your actions. Never be confused with Gods forgiveness of your sin and the consequence you may live with on this earth because of your sin.
Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
The Israelites had the same problem we have today and that is thinking that some things in this world will satisfy us. We think that if we can get a new house, a new car or even a new spouse then we will be happy.
Jeremiah 2:13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
A cistern that cannot hold water is useless. Yes it may satisfy you for the moment but the reality is, no matter how big the cistern, it will run dry and leave you thirsting for something else. Whatever you are chasing that is not from God will never satisfy you because God did not make it to satisfy you. The very thing you are looking for can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. (John 7:38)
Sin has a law of diminishing return and the more you try to do things the worlds way the more you will find that the things of the world will leave you thirsting for more. Solomon says you will become weary in trying to satisfy yourself (Ecclesiastes 1)
Saving Grace is God not dealing with us how we deserve. We deserve separation from Him for all of eternity but instead He allows us an opportunity to be back in a right relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:31)
We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and when we put ourselves on trial daily we will see that Gods grace will go out to others. Samuel promises them that he will continue to pray for them and calls them to live Godly lives.
Christians are called to put themselves on trial and the first trial we are to put ourselves on is if we are truly Christians.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
The second trial we should put ourselves on is if we are living by the standards of Christ. Before we take the Lords supper we are supposed to make sure we are not taking it haphazardly.
1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
If we as Christians would put ourselves on trial then we would be like Samuel who gave the people a clear way to live their life. Focusing on ourselves does not mean we do not speak the truth but it does mean that what we say will be heard clearer because of the life that we live.