Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you. If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.
Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes: Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves. So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.” Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:13-25)
When The People Demanded A King
Israel had a tumultuous past. Formed from the Hebrew slaves of Egypt they became a great nation of people wandering four decades through a wilderness because of rebellion against the Lord. They constantly murmured, complained, argued, and failed at every turn. The day finally came when they entered the land of promise dwelling in a place of milk and honey. This was not enough. They became filled with their own desires and forgot God. He punished them. They repented for a time before lapsing back into sin. The cycle continued throughout the time of the Judges ending with the final judge, Samuel. Now they want a king. Unsatisfied, jealous of the nations around them, they plead with Samuel to give them a ruler.
This was not a surprise to the Lord as He knew they would eventually call for a man to rule over them. Sadly the greatest king they would ever have would be the protection and benevolence of the Lord but they lacked faith to see Him. Samuel was heartbroken because of their rejection of him. He granted them what the Lord approved – their own king. He warned them of the responsibility to accept a man as king. The faithfulness to the Lord God as King did not diminish with the coronation of Saul. They still must be obedient to God.
This is a great story because Samuel proves to them how serious their choice will be. He calls for God to send thunder and rain that day and He did. It must have been some kind of thunder and rain because they got the message. It would be easy to assume any thunder storm after that reminded the people of what Samuel said to them about serving a man as king rejecting the Lord Jehovah God. The lesson was simple: obey God and He will bless you; disobey God and He will punish you.
We should not miss the message of a rain storm or thunder storm. The ‘Samuel Lesson’ is still powerful today reminding us whom we serve. We can serve man and turn from God or we can serve God alone and find blessing. When it rains it should remind us who is in charge of the world. As the thunder and lightning blasts through the heavens we should remember the One who commands the elements by the power of His voice. We are puny compared to His might. Remember what Samuel said: “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” I hope it rains today! That will be a great story!
The greatest question of our time is not communism vs. individualism, not Europe vs. America, not even the East vs. the West; it is whether men can bear to live without God. (Will Durant, On The Meaning Of Life, 1932)