Monday, August 25, 2008

Prophet Samuel (6) - King and Retirement

Although Samuel knew that Israel did not need a king, he obeyed the Lord. He received a very clear word about who should be king.

Now the day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel: "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him leader over my people Israel; he will deliver my people from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked upon my people, for their cry has reached me (1 Sam 9:15-16).
Samuel obeyed God even though he knew a king would bring harm to the people he loved. Sometimes prophets have to take tough actions.

After Saul was appointed, Samuel made a retirement speech.
Samuel said to all Israel, "I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day (1 Sam 12:1-2).
This speech suggests that he did not fully understand his calling. It was true that his would no longer be the judge for the nation, but God had never intended to have that role anyway. More important, you cannot retire from being a prophet. God was not finished with Samuel in this role. Although, he was old and gray, he would have several prophetic words to bring in the future. He pointed to his sons, but they were not prophets. Samuel was still the prophet to the nation, not his sons. He should not have been retiring.

The second part of his speech was all about money.
Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right." (1 Sam 12:3).
This was a bit rich. It was true that Samuel had never accepted bribes or cheated anyone, but he had allowed his sons to take bribes and pervert justice, so he was being a bit precious in demanding that the people give witness to his innocence.

Most ministries can get by with technical holiness, but a prophet to the nation must be squeaky clean in their handling of money.

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