Saul’s First Test

1 Samuel 11:1-12:25


Intro: We left off with Saul being anointed King – Ch. 10 v.26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched

A) Ch. 11 – see Saul’s first TEST!!!!   RD V 1-2


B) Now Jabesh-Gilead was on the other side of the Jordan river: the area of the tribe of Gath. 


C) [the Ammonites], came from the area of the capital of Jordan today. Called Ammon 


The Ammonites had been severely defeated by the Israelites during the period of the Judges.[Jephthah]  

A) A) But now, about a hundred years later, they are rising up in power again. 


B) Nahash gathers together an army and comes against this Israelite city of Jabesh-Gilead. 

1) The men there offered to surrender because they did not want to suffer: “Let’s make a treaty.  We will pay your tribune, we will be your servants.  We don’t want to fight you.”  


C) They realized that they weren’t able to meet and fight against the army of Nahash. 

1) Rather than to be wiped out, they took a “better red - than dead” concept, and offered to make a treaty.


Now When the men of Jabesh Gilead as Nahash for a covenant, he agrees to settle peacefully with them –

A)  if all the men of the city will have their right eyes gouged out.


B) Now Why did Nahash make this demand? Of all the things he could have demanded, why does he want to put out your right eyes?


C) First, it was to glorify himself by humiliating the men of this city, and all of Israel.

1) Half-blinding the men of this city would bring reproach on all Israel by making Israel look weak and unable to prevent such an atrocity.


D) Second, it was to make the men of Jabesh Gilead unable to fight effectively in battle.

1) In hand-to-hand combat,& man with one eye has less depth perception,& is at a disadvantage to a man w/ two eyes.


It is interesting to me that the name Nahash = Snake or Serpent –

A) We see a similarity here between Satan, our spiritual enemy, and Nahash, the enemy of Israel.


B) Note several things- #1 Satan attacks us, but cannot do anything against us without our agreement. He asks for, and requires our surrender.


#2 Satan wants us to serve him, and will attempt to intimidate us into giving in to him.


#3 Satan wants to humiliate us, and exalt himself over us. Through humiliating one saint, Satan wants to bring

reproach on all God’s people.


#4 Satan wants to blind us, and if he cannot blind us

completely, he will blind us partially.

1)  He wants to distort our perception about – life and priorities / about eternity –


#5 Satan wants to take away our ability to effectively fight against him.


C) So we can see here the similarities between Nahash & Satan - 


v. 3 Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, "Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you."


4 So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5 Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field;

[ This again shows Saul’s Humility – Now that he was anointed King he wasn’t demanding to be treated like a King – Acting like a common guy – Just out in the Field with the Herd – { Good trait}  \

So  Saul said, "What troubles the people, that they weep?" And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh..6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.

A) Now this is interesting to me – The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Saul – { A Baptism of the HS


B) Essential for service in the OT – The Spirit of God would come upon God’s servants at various times

1) i.e. SAMSON –


C) On this occasion – the spirit of God comes upon Saul and he is filled with Righteous Anger

1) Interesting by product of the Spirit of God coming upon Saul


The Bible says (Ephesians 4:26), we can be angry, and do not sin

A) But most of the time our anger is selfish.


B) Here, Saul’s anger is not out of a personal sense of hurt or offense, but out of a righteous concern for the cause of the LORD among His  people.


C) Our God is a JEALOUS GOD – He is jealous for his People -  { Doesn’t like to see them hurt of taken advantage of.


D) Mother Bear – Don’t mess with my Kids –


E) Jesus filled w/ Righteous indignation{ temple abuse

So Saul is filled w/ this type of Godly rage for the people of God – and Influenced by the Spirit of God He Comes up w/ a vivid illustration for calling the people to battle –

7 So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying,” Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen."


A)  Here is what we learn from this – God wants his people united when it comes to Protecting Israel.


B) I couldn’t help but think about our current Battle taking place in this country –

1) Concerning an Institution that is very important to God – Marriage –


C) Man & a woman – Man shall leave his …… be joined to his wife – the two shall become one flesh


D) But there are those in this country who want to do away with that definition –

1) Marry whoever – another man / woman /


I believe that just as the Lord wanted the people of Israel united in this battle – against Nahash to the save the people of Jabesh Gilead

A) He wants the people of God united in Battle to save the institution of Marriage –


B) Why is this so important to God ?


C) Several reasons: 1st being that Homosexuality is seen in the Scriptures as one of the most definitive  results of a nations – rebellion against God


Turn to Romans 1: 18-28


D) It was this particular sin that led God to Destroy the Cities of Sodom & Gomorrah

1) As if to say – when a society starts to embrace that Kind of sin – there is no turning back


E) They become to far gone – It is Vile = to Dishonor – it is dishonoring to the people and to the Lord – Vile also translated – filthy dirty


F) Debased mind = reprobate mind –


So there is a certain concern Perversion


#2 Reason this is so important to God – God knows the negative impact that it has on a nation when the family structure is weakened


Family = Husband & Wife – Kids – Biblical model


Norway/ Sweden / Denmark – Shambles

Reason #3  Marriage is a Picture – Christ & the Church

A) Adam’s asleep – the woman is taken from his side  Him - -


B) Christ was pierced in his side – The Church came forth from that wound –

1) New Jerusalem – Bride


C) God doesn’t want that Picture distorted –


D) So just as the People of Israel were asked to unite together – to protect Jabesh Gilead

1) Today we are being called to unite together to Protect Marriage – don’t be passive




Saul shows wisdom here in refraining to take action against those who opposed him

A) Satan would have loved to use this time of victory to divide the people –


B) And Yet Saul wisely sees this is a time for Celebrating – Exalting the Lord

v.11 for today the LORD has accomplished salvation in Israel."


RD v. 14-15

Saul had been anointed as king and even accepted by most of the people as king

A)  But it is here in this battle that he proves himself as their King – this celebration was to confirm his kingship


B) Now I think it is interesting that they go to Gilgal to Confirm the Kingship of Saul

1) Gilgal was the place of remembrance – Crossing of the Jordan – Memorial


C) It was here at Gilgal that the Kingship of Saul was confirmed


I find this interesting because – We also have our place of remembrance – CALVARY.

A) It was there at Calvary that the Kingship of our Hero – JESUS WAS CONFIRMED


B) His sacrifice – His Peace offering – results in our REJOICING !!!!


C) So here we see that Saul passes his first test as king –


As we move into Ch.12 – We see that God lays out the conditions upon which this new form of Govt in Israel would be successful - 


                   RD V. 1-3

In the midst of the celebrating – Samuel uses this moment as an opportunity to formally transfer leadership –

A) Samuel says – I am old & gray but note here now the king walks before you


B) Samuel point here I think is he wants them to see that – He is not handing Saul a mess

1) He is passing on a good legacy of leadership to King Saul – Model leader – for Saul to follow


C) He even did the right thing – when the people rejected his sons – because they were not like him

1) Samuel didn’t push the issue – My sons are w/ you


D) They were in the audience and not on the Platform –


 SO Samuel conducted himself in an exemplary way amongst the people of Israel

A) Samuel lived in a fish bowl – He was in the public eye from the time of his youth

1) Growing up w/ Eli the Priest –


B) But He conducted himself above reproach – GREAT TESTIMONY 


C) A great EXAMPLE – Jon Courson – Modest house – simple cars – Great example – Pastor Ch

(4-5) Israel affirms the blameless leadership of Samuel.

And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.” Then he said to them, “The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they answered, “He is  witness.”

A) Israel knew Samuel had been a good, godly leader. He had not led them for what he could get from them, but for what he could give to them.


B) This is a priceless testimony for any leader. How precious to stand before your own people, and to hear them affirm the integrity of your leadership!


C) The next thing that Samuel does is he recounts the Lord’s past deliverances of Israel  RD v 6a

                                                           STAND STILL


This is such an important principle – sometimes there is the need to stop – stop all activity – stop the movement – stop the distractions and consider  the work of the Lord –


How often does God get our full undivided attention -    DEVO’S TODAY – STRUGGLE




Samuel, in this remembrance of God’s work from the time of the Exodus until his present day,

focuses not on the history of Israel, but on the history of the righteous acts of the LORD.

A) His point being – God has been a good & faithful leader to You.


B) What we are seeing here is that the Lord is reiterating to the people thru Samuel –

1) This king idea is not my BEST – Not my perfect will – but I will permit it


C) Once again – this story illustrates very clearly that there is a perfect will of God and there is the permissive will of God – OUR CHOICE


D) If you want to choose to accept that which is less than the perfect will of God for you he will allow it

1) And it can even work out to be a good thing – but there are going to be conditions 


E) And that is really what we are seeing here – God is saying – if you want a king – fine here he is –

1) But God is also going to lay out guidelines concerning how this – new Govt is should function


RD V. 13- 15 



Here is the condition of their success – as long as you and your king are walking in obedience and the fear of the Lord – You will do well


A) God is saying – Look if you want an human figure head – to look to fine – { not necessary but fine


B) As long as You and that Figure head know that I am still in Charge – Look to me

1) Obey me – The result will be PROSPER


C) But the minute that you – take eyes off of me – stop obeying me – Disaster


D) Saul was to be an instrument to lead the people to the Lord


Ever true ruler is one who allows himself to be ruled by God – Not ruled by God – will be a tyrant

A) I pity the husband who says – I am the boss of my home – Lead your home astray


B) But blessed is the husband who realizes he is a man under authority – God’s authority

1) God wants to rule your home if you will let him


C) He wants you to be ruled by Him – lead your home accordingly


That is exactly what God calls us to today – Live a Yielded life –

A) Yielding to his Word and the the Voice of His spirit working in us


B) This country – Past History – Founded as a nation – that was yielded to God

1) Peter Marshall – The light & the glory


C) How far we have moved from those days –

1) Result – Highest Violent Crime rate in the world

2) Highest teen suicide

3) Highest teen pregnancy

4 ) Highest amount of Rapes /

5) Highest percentage of Divorces in the world

That is what Samuel is warning Israel about – Forsake the Lord – and there will be dire consequences –


16 "Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes:17 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."


18 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.


Thunder and rain were unusual during the wheat harvest.

A) This was a truly remarkable sign from God.


B) The sign was especially meaningful because one of the common gods of that day was Baal, who was thought to be the god of thunder and rain.


C) The LORD was showing that He was the true God of the weather.


D) Now Because it was the wheat harvest, the sign displayed not only God’s power, but His judgment also. 1) Heavy rain during the harvest could destroy all their crops.

                               RD V. 19-22


Notice, when people turn aside from God, they turn to vain or empty things. 

A) Have you ever noticed what stupid things people do when they turn aside from God? 


B) The Bible tells us in Thessalonians that when people reject the truth, God allows them to be deluded.  When they have not the love of the truth, God will bring them into a delusion; where they will believe a lie rather than the truth. 


C) They end up trying something to satisfy that inner gnawing and thirst.  w/ empty things

Listen God created man to worship.  Built within each man, there is a worship drive. 

A) I’ve  got to worship something. 


B) Now, when I don’t satisfy that drive in worshipping God,

1) I’ll worship something else to worship – Car / Job / Celebrity / my dog – You name it


C)   The drive to worship is within us, and if we don’t worship God, we’ll worship all kinds of strange things. 


D) So Samuel warns them not to turn aside from worshipping the LORD, because they will begin to worship vain things that cannot profit nor deliver. 


E) They can’t help you when you are in trouble.

1) Save me Cadillac / Save me Madonna / Save me Ben Franklin 


F) These vain things cannot deliver you when you are really in need.  They are just vain. 


Now I love what Samuel says in v. 22 –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


There are several key thoughts there:

1st It pleased the Lord to make you his people


A) That is why it pleased the Lord to bruise his son


B) That is why Jesus for the Joy set before him endured the cross – Bride –


C) God is pleased tonight that you are His Child – can I encourage you to ACCEPT THAT

1) Rejoice in that


2nd God will be faithful to you – because His name and reputation are at stake –


23 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

[ Sin of Prayerlessness]


Samuel was known as a man of Prayer


24 Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."