Israel now has their first human king. Saul has been selected, appointed, and praised with “Long live the king!” Samuel is the retiring leader, now, who pointed people to follow God as their King. Samuel is giving a “retirement” speech as he passes the reigns to Saul.
"It was the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron," Samuel continued. "He brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt. Now stand here quietly before the LORD as I remind you of all the great things the LORD has done for you and your ancestors. (1 Samuel 12:6-7 NLT)
It’s worth pointing out two things here. First of all, when a preacher says he is about to recount “all the great things the LORD has done for you,” you know you are in for a long sermon. Secondly, Samuel had them stand for the whole sermon. (That’s one way to keep from falling asleep!)
While we listen to Samuel’s sermon - the words of an old, grey-haired, faithful man of God – we will also look at the actions of Israel’s new leader-king – the actions of a young, untested, king chosen by God.
Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty-two years. Saul selected 3,000 special troops from the army of Israel and sent the rest of the men home. He took 2,000 of the chosen men with him to Micmash and the hill country of Bethel. The other 1,000 went with Saul's son Jonathan to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. All Israel heard the news that Saul had destroyed the Philistine garrison at Geba and that the Philistines now hated the Israelites more than ever. So the entire Israelite army was summoned to join Saul at Gilgal. (1 Samuel 13:1-4 NLT)
Saul is gathering the Israelites together for battle. This is exactly why the Israelites asked God for a king. They were being defeated and oppressed by people like the Ammonites and the Philistines. Saul already led Israel in victory against the Ammonites. Now they need to get ready for the big one: the Philistines.
"When the Israelites were in Egypt and cried out to the LORD, He sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them from Egypt and to bring them into this land. (1 Samuel 12:8 NLT)
Samuel, in his retirement speech, recounts the days when the LORD set the Israelites free from Egypt. They had no army back then. They only had Moses, a man of God, and the power of God to break them free. That’s exactly what happened.
When we face struggles in life, fighting the battles that get us through our day, it is good to remember the victories of our past. It is good to remember what the LORD has done. When we do, we gain the motivation we need to face today.
How about you? Do you remember times when God has given you victory over your struggles? Do those victories give you encouragement to stay faithful today? Do you remember what the LORD has done?