1 Samuel 12

* Samuel testifies his integrity. (1-5) Samuel reproves the

people. (6-15) Thunder sent in harvest time. (16-25)

1-5 Samuel not only cleared his own character, but set an

example before Saul, while he showed the people their

ingratitude to God and to himself. There is a just debt which

all men to their own good name, especially men in public

stations, which is, to guard it against unjust blame and

suspicions, that they may finish their course with honour, as

well as with joy. And that we have in our places lived honestly,

will be our comfort, under any slights and contempt that may be

put upon us.
6-15 The work of ministers is to reason with people; not only

to exhort and direct, but to persuade, to convince men's

judgments, and so to gain their wills and affections. Samuel

reasons of the righteous acts of the Lord. Those who follow God

faithfully, he will enable to continue following him.

Disobedience would certainly be the ruin of Israel. We mistake

if we think that we can escape God's justice, by trying to shake

off his dominion. If we resolve that God shall not rule us, yet

he will judge us.
16-25 At Samuel's word, God sent thunder and rain, at a season

of the year when, in that country, the like was not seen. This

was to convince them they had done wickedly in asking a king;

not only by its coming at an unusual time, in wheat harvest, and

on a clear day, but by the prophet's giving notice of it before.

He showed their folly in desiring a king to save them, rather

than God, or Samuel; promising themselves more from an arm of

flesh, than from the arm of God, or from the power of prayer.

Could their prince command such forces as the prophet could do

by his prayers? It startled them very much. Some will not be

brought to see their sins by any gentler methods than storms and

thunders. They entreat Samuel to pray for them. Now they see

their need of him whom shortly before they slighted. Thus many

who will not have Christ to reign over them, would yet be glad

to have him intercede for them, to turn away the wrath of God.

Samuel aims to confirm the people in their religion. Whatever we

make a god of, we shall find it deceive us. Creatures in their

own places are good; but when put in God's place, they are vain

things. We sin if we restrain prayer, and in particular if we

cease praying for the church. They only asked him to pray for

them; but he promises to do more, to teach them. He urges that

they were bound in gratitude to serve God, considering what

great things he had done for them; and that they were bound in

interest to serve him, considering what he would do against

them, if they should still do wickedly. Thus, as a faithful

watchman, he gave them warning, and so delivered his own soul.

If we consider what great things the Lord hath done for us,

especially in the great work of redemption, we can neither want

motive, encouragement, nor assistance in serving him.

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