…ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the Lord your God was your king. 13 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the Lord hath set a king over you.
Samuel’s farewell speech: 12:1-25 Samuel is now ready to withdraw completely from leadership. In his last speech, he warns the Israelites against turning from God. He also calls for a destructive storm, to demonstrate that their motives in asking for a king were sinful (16-19).
16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. 18 So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. 19 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.
However, Samuel reassures Israel: the Lord will not desert them, and Samuel himself will continue to serve by praying for the welfare of the nation.
20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lordwith all your heart; 21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 22 For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. 23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.
Samuel’s farewell highlights one danger of success, and the danger of depending a successful leader rather than on the Lord. How might what Samuel says apply to us in our churches today?