Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. — 1 Samuel 12:3
As a mother, I am responsible for many different aspects of my children’s care: grooming, clothing, meals, and much to their chagrin, discipline. My husband and I have established a policy of following through with what we say. If we say we will go to the park, we make every effort to take them there. Follow through carries into the discipline area, as well. If we tell our children there are consequences for certain behaviors, we follow through. As we do, it assures them that they can count on us to do what we say.
Do they understand this principle? I believe they do. Not long ago, as I drove my son to preschool, I told him that I would look for new sneakers while he was at school. When I picked him up from school, he asked me if I brought his new sneakers in the car. I asked him, “How did you know I had new sneakers for you?” He said, “You told me you were going to get some.” Then I asked him if I always do what I say I’m going to do. He quickly said, “Yes!”
Although my son may sometimes hope I don’t follow through with my words, he knows that he can depend on me for the truth. I have established a track record.
In this verse, Samuel was making a point about his track record with the Children of Israel. He asked them, “Whose ox have I taken?” “Whom have I defrauded?” The Children of Israel answered back that Samuel spoke the truth! He was to be believed because his track record was clean. Samuel was establishing a point of reference. Basically it was: I have not lied to you and I am not going to start now; believe me when I tell you that you have done wrong.
We should be careful to keep our word. Then those around us can always be sure that we will do what we say.
Judges had governed Israel for almost five hundred years. With the anointing of a king, Samuel took the opportunity to remind the Children of Israel of his own credibility. It was common at that time for officials to make money because of their positions, but Samuel had not done that.
Samuel also reminded the Israelites of how God had sent leaders who had helped them in the past. He referenced the cycle that had become common to Israel, of forgetting God and then repenting and seeking deliverance. In verse 11, Jerubbaal is another name for Gideon, and Bedan probably refers to Barak.
Finally, Samuel challenged them to obey God’s commandments. “The Lord” is mentioned over thirty times in this chapter, indicating how much Samuel wanted Israel to serve God. Samuel’s own intentions were clear. He planned to continue serving God, and this included interceding for the people of Israel and teaching them God’s Word.
Samuel was meeting with the Children of Israel in late May to early June — an important time in wheat harvesting. There were two rainy seasons: yoreh (the early rains) and malqosh (the latter rains). Today, we would refer to these times as fall and spring. Knowing this, the thunderstorm that ensued was considered miraculous, as rain rarely fell during the harvest time. The people knew that rain at this time could cause great damage to the crops and that it was a sign of God’s displeasure regarding their request for a king. The miracle also confirmed that Samuel’s words were from God.
God chose Israel as His people because He wanted them to help other nations learn about Him. God promised not to abandon them, but He would discipline them for disobedience in an effort to cause them to live right.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The reign of Saul
A. The rise of King Saul
4. The final address of Samuel (12:1-25)
a. Samuel’s integrity cited (12:1-5)
b. Samuel’s plea for obedience to the Lord (12:6-18)
c. Samuel’s words of comfort (12:19-25)
What is your track record? We want a reputation that we do what we say we will. Even more importantly, we want to obey what God says to do.