Day 8

Samuel’s Final Speech

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan


1 Samuel 11:1-15, 1 Samuel 12:1-25, Isaiah 5:8-12, Micah 6:1-5

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 11:1-15, 1 Samuel 12:1-25, Isaiah 5:8-12, Micah 6:1-5

I still vividly recall my third year of law school, when graduation neared and I had no offer of employment. The plan had been to work at a Washington, D.C., law firm during the second summer and, by the end of my time there, secure a permanent offer to return upon graduation. But the firm suffered a financial downturn and could extend only two offers. (Another firm I’d turned down extended more than twenty.) Stressed out and covered in hives, I was sure I’d be forever unemployed.

Please, let me get this position. My heart uttered those words with every resume sent, every interview secured. Still, the rejections piled up. Then, one week before graduation, my resume found its way to the desk of a federal judge in Madison, Wisconsin. She conducted a phone interview, flew me out for a face-to-face, and offered a clerkship on the spot. It was one of the best jobs I could’ve gotten. And oh, how I celebrated, calling it as a blessing.

A month later, my fiancé and I ventured to Madison to begin our careers. We rented an apartment and moved in together. I didn’t know the Lord at the time. I wanted His blessings, but I didn’t want Him as Lord and King over my life.

Such was the state of affairs in Israel during the latter part of Samuel’s time as judge. The people asked for a king to reign over them “like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5), thus rejecting God as King. They got what they asked for. God chose Saul to be their king, and, empowered by His Spirit, Saul led the people to a great victory against the Ammonites. And oh, how they celebrated. They had their king! They had victory over the enemy!

With such immense blessings, they surely felt all was well. Don’t we tend to think the same?  When we’re being blessed—especially if we’ve received the very thing we asked for—we don’t see “warning” flags. To the contrary, we feel good about ourselves and our situation, perhaps even about our relationship with God. After all, we must be doing something right in order for God to bless us, right?

But blessings have more to do with God than with us. They reflect His amazing grace and His long-suffering character. They flow from His lovingkindness and goodness. “For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).

In the midst of great blessing, our hearts can still be far from God. And apart from Him, blessings are merely temporal and empty.

God was gracious in pointing this out to the people of Israel. Through the prophet Samuel, He interrupted their revelry to remind them that they had rejected Him and to point to where true prosperity lay.

“If you fear the Lord, worship and obey him, and if you don’t rebel against the Lord’s command, then both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God.”
– 1 Samuel 12:14

Madison ended up being the place where I met the Lord, where He drew me to Himself and saved me. That was the true blessing—the greatest blessing. Now, when I think of that time, I’m reminded that no matter what is happening outwardly in our lives, whether hardships or joy, the true measure of our well-being is in the posture of our hearts before God. The ultimate blessing is in following Him and allowing Him to reign as King over our lives.

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Kim Cash Tate is the author of several books, including Though I Stumble (2016) and Cling: Choosing a Lifestyle of Intimacy with God (2017). A former practicing attorney, she has a passion for studying and teaching the Word of God. Kim lives in St. Louis with her husband and their two young adult children.

Post Comments (73)

73 thoughts on "Samuel’s Final Speech"

  1. Marge says:

    That takes us up to the next level. Great poitgns.

  2. Alyson says:

    My Fiancé and I have been fighting this very battle. What is God’s call and what isn’t. It’s so comforting to know that so long as we are glorifying God and living for him no matter what we do we are in his will :)!

    1. Loree says:

      I di’dnt know where to find this info then kaboom it was here.

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  4. aprilinsydney says:

    Maybe the penny hasn’t dropped for me yet; I’m still grappling with how to know when it’s God at work?

    “When we’re being blessed—especially if we’ve received the very thing we asked for—we don’t see “warning” flags. To the contrary, we feel good about ourselves and our situation, perhaps even about our relationship with God. After all, we must be doing something right in order for God to bless us, right?”

    In this instance, if I get what I want, how do I know whether it’s God blessing me or just me getting what I want and it’s not necessarily from God?

    For example, I moved to Sydney at the end of last year. I wanted a job and found one, right up my alley. Interviewed, was offered the role and a mind-blowing salary, convenient location, etc. Six weeks in and I knew in my heart it was all wrong. Very wrong. I was still in my probationary period so I gave notice.

    What went wrong? I thought God was opening doors. But it mustn’t have been Him at work for it to turn out so badly (and oh, did it turn out badly).

    What did I miss? Any insight appreciated, because I have become somewhat paralysed when it comes to decision-making for fear of not doing what God wants me to.

    1. Courtney says:

      That sounds frustrating, I’m sorry it went so poorly. I think in our human minds, all we can do is look “objectively” (that’s the hard part) at a situation, pray for wisdom, seek Christian advice, and be honest with ourselves about our motives. If we have done all of that and still see open doors that could honor God, then walk through them. I have been paralyzed by the future before, but reading the book “Just Do Something” was an eye opener. Sometime no obvious answer means go forth and honor God in all the ways you can wherever you end up going.
      Praying for wisdom for you :) Remember that if you went there with good motives, you have no idea what God may have done in you, or someone around you in the 6 weeks you were there

      1. aprilinsydney says:

        Thank you for the encouragement, Courtney :) I’ll have a look at that book, too. And you’re right about that last bit, who knows what God achieved in that short amount of time? Have a lovely day x

      2. Tammy Budd says:

        What a wonderful and wise reply. ❤️ April in Sydney, praying for you! Such encouragement here!

    2. Sarah M says:

      I don’t think that God’s will is some elusive thing for us to find. I think His will is for us to seek Him, not just His will.

      Let me try this way: I heard of a missionary who found out about a tremendous need for the Gospel in the jungles of Africa. His heart was touched by the stories and he decided, “Until God stops me, I will go.” And he went for 15-20 years! And then God stopped him. Brought him back to Canada and he began to pastor a church there, saying, “Until God stops me, I will serve.” And he ministered there for 12 years.

      God’s will isn’t a command, it’s an action – it’s a movement. Perhaps, it was God’s will for you to have that experience in Sydney – I’m sorry if that sounds insensitive. I don’t know what the situation was like for you or how bad it got – maybe it was His will for you to have that in the fabric of your story so that further down the road, you can relate with someone who desperately needs to know God cares for them. I guess, if you can boil it down, God’s will in Scripture is for us to make disciples. We may start down a path that seems good and even fit with that mission statement, but God will stop you before it gets too far if it’s not the best for you.

      1. aprilinsydney says:

        Hi Sarah M, thank you. Not at all insensitive. Your story of the missionary reminds me of driving lessons, where the instructor says, “carry on until I direct you otherwise”. Maybe I need to stop trying to figure it all out, just go for it, and like you said if it’s not want God wants, he’ll change my course.

      2. Emma says:

        So much truth in this!!!

    3. Gema Muniz says:

      Sister know that God uses all for our good, even things that are good for us ending up being a bit of a challenge. God blessed my husband and I with a son, a new job, and the opportunity for me to be a stay at home mom. Everything seemed awesome! It was all I ever dreamed of, but boy was it challenging. I spent lots of time alone, my husband worked crazy hours, all my family lived an hour and so away, and keeping up with a new born was not easy. But even though I struggled I grew closer to God. Is interesting the things God will teach you when you are all alone and your full dependence is on him. Seek God sister and ask him what he wants to work in you, what he wants to teach you. God bless you

      1. aprilinsydney says:

        Thank you, Gema. Wise words. I’m ashamed to admit that I lean less on God and more on my own problem-solving skills, with dubious results. Something to work on.

        1. Cathy says:

          We all do…but just getting in the habit of “being still”with God and listening more talking less usually allows our God antennae to be up and picking up God’s will through others through scripture through our thoughts & dreams. He can make it pretty clear IF we allow and stay open like Samuel. The gift of free will is a double edged sword. Our will can be leaned on so much more easily than God’s if we let it.

          1. aprilinsydney says:

            So true, Cathy! I’m not very good at stilling my mind, but I recall in those times when I have been able to do so, I experience clarity. Thank you x

          2. Buffie says:

            Well done arcltie that. I’ll make sure to use it wisely.

    4. Kaitlyn G says:

      Hi aprilinsydney,
      I want to say first that this question is something I wrestled with for a long time, not knowing what is from God or what his will for my life was. I had a few wonderful mentors who helped me come to the realization that God doesn’t have one single “plan” or path for each of us. His will is that we use whatever talents, passions, interests, or opportunities that come our way to glorify him and grow his kingdom. In other words, if you can glorify God in the choice that you’re considering, it wouldn’t be a wrong decision.

      And I think something that trips us up a lot when we think of the ways God blesses us is that we are expecting them be to physical blessings. I do think when good things come to us we should always give God thanks and praise, but more often the blessings he has promised us come by way of inward transformation. He blesses us with joy and contentment with our life situation. He blesses us with peace and comfort in the face of anxiety or grief.

      I’m not sure if that really answered the questions you were asking, but my hope is that you find confidence in your life choices. If you are trying to serve and glorify God, he will be so pleased with whatever the particulars are! Praying for wisdom and confidence for you, and thanks for sharing! :)

      1. aprilinsydney says:

        Hi Kaitlyn, thank you for your encouragement and prayers, your response has renewed my hope.

    5. Marie says:

      Totally get where you’re coming from! My husband and I experienced this same issue after his 6 years on staff at a church ended very badly. The head deacon told us he would “make our lives hell” until we left. We struggled for so long over how we could have missed what we thought was so clearly God leading us there until we realized (many years later) that He uses the incredibly painful experiences to make us more like His Son. Hope you find some peace as you move forward to what God has in store.

      1. aprilinsydney says:

        Hi Marie, thank you. I agree there are lessons and growth through pain. It’s just so, well, painful. Thank you for your blessing of peace x

        1. Meredith says:

          Wow,everyone has given such thoughtful advice! I love it! I’d agree, sometimes God gives one clear direction, and other times He doesn’t. In those cases, I’m encouraged by this thought from Jen Wilkin, that when one path isn’t made clear, we can simply walk forward in a choice that allows us to glorify God. If one choice gives us more opportunity to know, love, and glorify Him, then that would be the wiser option! And in the end, God is sovereign and good, and no choice we make (or don’t make) will ever be able to thwart His plans for our lives and the redemption of His people.

  5. Abbs says:

    “Blessings are temporary and empty when my heart is not focused on God…” what an interesting thought for me to conceive. When I do not see Him as my greatest blessing, I get caught up in the world of comparison and shame and guilt- even concerning certain blessings! Nothing will ever truly bless or satisfy me without His being in that hole that craves every manner of things. Father Above, please create in me a heart that runs toward you.. that longs to be obedient in the face of trials, knowing I have every blessing I would ever need because I have YOU!! May I be filled with a joy that shines because I have your Spirit- the greatest blessing ever!!

  6. churchmouse says:

    Thinking of all my undeserved blessings – the ones He so generously gave even though my walk with Him was hesitant, tenuous, and rebellious. He continued to pursue me with His great love. It humbles me even today. Lord I’m so grateful. You never gave up on me. Thank you. Thank you.

  7. Kristi says:

    “For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.” – 1 Samuel 12:22

    Those first few words jumped out at me today – “For the sake of His great name.” Sometimes I get so weary praying for my loved ones who have wandered from the Lord or don’t yet know Him. And I often think that it’s up to me to draw them back. But this verse reminds me of what I know deep down to be true – it’s not up to me because it’s not about me. It’s about God. He will bring deliverance, healing, and reconciliation, not for my sake, but for the sake of His great name!

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