1 Samuel 7-8
1 Samuel 7-8
Samuel calls the nation to come to Mizpah, this was a place where they occasionally gathered like in the story of the Levite and his concubine. Here they’re called to recommit themselves to God and to get rid of the idols they’ve accumulated over the years.
During this recommitment the Philistines take the opportunity to attack Israel, but this time the people ask Samuel to pray for them that God might save them, and God answers Samuel’s prayer and drives the Philistines back.
After this battle the people approach Samuel and tell him they want a king, and that he should ask God to give them a king so they can be like the other nations. So at this point they’ve completely lost the plot, and why everything that has happened up until this point has come to pass. God has set them apart and created a whole body of law, and made them unlike their neighbors exactly to make sure they were unlike the other nations. They’re meant to be a nation set apart for God, and now they just want to fit in with the crowd.
Samuel is none too pleased by this and gives a speech that would make any libertarian proud when he lists off the abuses of government that they can expect to live under if they have a king, but God instructs him to anoint a king for them.
This, like every other time God has given them what they want because they demanded it, even though it’s not what he had planned for them, will backfire and come back to haunt them. Of the dozens of men that will rule over them for the next several hundred years, only a handful will be righteous. The vast majority will range mildly bad to downright wicked.
Jesus empowered the apostles with all of his power and authority, and this is displayed by the continuation of his healing ministry by Peter and John. When the lame man is healed, he goes into the temple with them to worship God and he’s leaping as he goes. This is fulfilling a prophecy from Isaiah that in the age of the messiah the lame will leap like deer,
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desertIsaiah 35:6
They make quite the splash when all the people recognize this man leaping as the one who would beg at the gate and was lame. Peter addresses them and tells them again that they gave over the long awaited to messiah to be killed even after Pilate found him innocent. They insisted on his death and traded him for a murderer. But he offers them an out, he says he knows the acted in ignorance but that they can still repent and turn from sin, that they can accept this gift and savior that they had killed.
The boldness that Peter displays in both his Pentecost speech and now here at the temple is nothing short of supernatural. He doesn’t shy away and he isn’t afraid to directly tell them that they played a personal role in the death of Christ. This after they were hiding with the door locked not too long ago, and he denied even knowing Jesus during his passion. The turnaround here is directly attributable to the Holy Spirit, who came to them on Pentecost. That’s when this bold change took place.
Maybe something for us to think about: how can we, who received the same spirit at baptism, and were strengthened in confirmation, be bold in our faith like Peter?
1 Samuel 9-11