1 Samuel: From judge to king

1 Samuel 12:1–25

Transitions are hard.

Leadership transitions are hard. Because leaders are people. Flawed and heroic. We pick favorites. A leader may overreach her effectiveness. A leader may leave too soon.

In chapter 12, Samuel passes the baton to Saul. This is a big moment in Israelite history. This is not just transitioning from one leader to the next, like the change from President Bush to President Obama. This is a total change in the system.

From judges to kings.

This is like the change from the Articles of Confederation for 13 English colonies to the Constitution of the United States of America.

This is a radical moment.

And Samuel will not let the Israelites forget it. He’s going to stake this ground and name “God” in this place. Remember God, is what he’s saying. Remember God’s story with us. Remember the choices you’ve made that have brought us to this place. In that brief paragraph he summarizes the stories of Exodus and Numbers and Judges. Every time when God came through in a tight spot for the people.

And then as if to lay the guilt on thick, he reminds them of their own ungratefulness towards God, their childish insistence on having a king. As if the security of God’s protection was not enough.

Our own lives are a chain of transitions, one linked to another. High school to college. College to the so-called “real world.” Single life to married life. On and on.

It’s a powerful experience to name God at the crossroads. To remember your own story with God when you cross the threshold from on stage to the next.

Remember God’s story with his world and with you. And embrace the invitation to repentance, to take responsibility for how your own choices lead you here, if that’s the case.

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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