14 If you fear the Lord and serve and obey Him and do not rebel against His commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! 15 But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against His commands, His hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.
1 Samuel 12:14-15
This is something new for Israel if both you and the king who reigns over you. Israel now has a king, their first king – Saul, a Benjamite who stood a head taller than anyone in Israel.
Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?
1 Samuel 10:1
And a little later in the same chapter after Samuel had gathered representatives from all the tribes of Israel,
24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
1 Samuel 10:24
Almost immediately (chapter 11) King Saul was put to the test when the city of Jabesh Gilead was besieged by Nahash the Ammonite. A treaty was sought, but Nahash would only make a treaty upon one condition, every man would have his right eye gouged out.
When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger.
1 Samuel 11:6
Whereupon he gathered 330,000 men in all and came to the defense of Jabesh Gilead.
11 The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
1 Samuel 11:11
When Saul had been anointed as king some were not pleased and did not accept him as their king. Thus after this great victory against the Ammonites they demanded to know who those men were.
12 The people then said to Samuel, “Who was it that asked, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Turn these men over to us so that we may put them to death.”
13 But Saul said, “No one will be put to death today, for this day the Lord has rescued Israel.”
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the Lord. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
1 Samuel 11:12-15
Here Saul showed wisdom in granting clemency to those same men as bloodshed would have only led to future feuds. Then we come to Samuel’s farewell speech and our verses for today and just prior to those verses Samuel provides a short history as a preface to his warning.
8 “After Jacob entered Egypt, they cried to the Lord for help, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.
9 “But they forgot the Lord their God; so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines and the king of Moab, who fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned; we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel, and He delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety.
12 “But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us’—even though the Lord your God was your king. 13 Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you.
1 Samuel 12:8-13
So the warnings to obey in the verses we have for today were truly nothing new except they now included the a king, the king of Israel. If you fear the Lord and serve and obey Him and do not rebel against His commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against His commands, His hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.
Thus for Israel even with a king Samuel leaves them with the following admonishment
20b [D]o not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of His great name the Lord will not reject His people, because the Lord was pleased to make you His own.
1 Samuel 12:20b-22
23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
1 Samuel 12:23-25
Did you catch that it would be a sin against the Lord if Samuel failed to pray for the people of Israel? As Christians are we praying for our country, the United States? I cannot say it is a sin if we do not, but I do believe we should follow Samuel’s example and pray for our country, praying as many as possible would come to know they Jesus as their Lord and Savior before their end comes. Also, in Samuel’s remarks is an admonition to remember the Lord is our real king, now some president or prime minister or some other head of government. Our King, our true King is Jesus.
Think on this today and this weekend especially when you are at church. Your King is Jesus … and He is your (our) King every single day, not just on Sundays at church.