1 Samuel 12:9
But they forgot the LORD their God, and 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.
Samuel's Admonitions to IsraelB. Dale 1 Samuel 12:1-25
Samuel's Dealings with the PeopleW. G. Blaikie, D. D.1 Samuel 12:6-25
Doctrine in HistoryB. Dale 1 Samuel 12:8-12
National Judgments the Consequence of National SinsW. Brickwell.1 Samuel 12:9-15
Unheeding Warnings Prepare for Judgment1 Samuel 12:9-15

1 Samuel 12:8-12. (GILGAL.)
This is an important chapter in the history of Israel. In it are set forth certain truths of universal import, which are also illustrated, though less distinctly, in the history of other nations. They are such as follows: -

1. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD (ver. 8). "It hath pleased the Lord to make you his people" (ver. 22). Of his own free and gracious will, always founded in perfect wisdom, he raises up a people from the lowest condition, confers upon them special blessings and privileges, and exalts them to the most eminent place among the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26, 27). As it was with Israel, so has it been with other peoples. His right so to deal with men cannot be questioned, his power therein is manifested, his undeserved goodness should be acknowledged, and the gifts bestowed employed not for selfish ends, but for his glory and the welfare of mankind.

II. THE SINFULNESS OF MEN. "They forgat the Lord their God" (ver. 9). So constantly and universally have men departed from God and goodness as to make it evident that there is in human nature an inherited tendency to sin. "It is that tendency to sinful passions or unlawful propensities which is perceived in man whenever objects of desire are placed before him, and laws laid upon him." As often as God in his great goodness has exalted him to honour, so often has he fallen away from his service; and left to himself, without the continual help of Divine grace, his course is downward. "In times past the Divine nature flourished in men, but at length, being mixed with mortal custom, it fell into ruin; hence an inundation of evils in the race" (Plato. See other testimonies quoted by Bushnell in 'Nature and the Supernatural'). "There is nothing in the whole earth that does not prove either the misery of man or the compassion of God; either his powerlessness without, or his power with God" (Pascal).

III. THE CERTAINTY OF RETRIBUTION. "He sold them into the hand of Sisera," etc. (ver. 9).

"The sword of Heaven is not in haste to smite,
Nor yet doth linger, save unto his seeming
Who, in desire or fear, doth look for it." -

(Dante, 'Par.' 22.) Morning by morning doth he bring his judgment to light; he faileth not (Zephaniah 3:5). "History is a voice forever sounding across the centuries the laws of right and wrong. Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. For every false word or unrighteous deed, for cruelty and oppression, for lust or vanity, the price has to be paid at last; not always by the chief offenders, but paid by some one. Justice and truth alone endure and live. Injustice and falsehood may be long lived, but doomsday comes at last to them in French revolutions and other terrible woes" (Froude, 'Short Studies').

IV. THE BENEFICENCE OF SUFFERING. "And they cried unto the Lord, and said, We have sinned," etc. (ver. 10). Underneath what is in itself an evil, and a result of the violation of law, physical or moral, there is ever working a Divine power which makes it the means of convincing men of sin, turning them from it, and improving their character and condition. A state of deepest humiliation often precedes one of highest honour. It is only those who refuse to submit to discipline (Job 36:10) and harden themselves in iniquity that sink into hopeless ruin.

V. THE EFFICACY OF PRAYER. "And the Lord sent...and delivered you," etc. (ver. 11). "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses" (Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28). As it was with Israel throughout their history, so has it been with others, even those who have had but little knowledge of "the Hearer of prayer."

"In even savage bosoms
There are longings, yearnings strivings
For the good they comprehend not,
And the feeble hands and helpless,
Groping blindly in the darkness,
Touch God's right hand in that darkness,
And are lifted up and strengthened"

(The Song of Hiawatha')

VI. THE PREVALENCE OF MEDIATION. "Then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron" (ver. 8). "And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel" (ver. 11). He sent help by men specially raised up and appointed, and deliverance came through their labours, conflicts, and sufferings. One people also has been often made the medium of blessing to others. And herein we see a shadowing forth of the work of the great Mediator and Deliverer, and (in an inferior manner) of his people on behalf of the world.

VII. THE INCREASE OF RESPONSIBILITY on the part of those who have had the experience of former generations to profit by, and who have received higher privileges than they (vers. 12, 19). "Now all these things were written for our admonition," etc. (1 Corinthians 10:11). "Two things we ought to learn from history: one, that we are not in ourselves superior to our fathers; another, that we are shamefully and monstrously inferior to them if we do not advance beyond them" (Froude). - D.

And when they forgot the Lord their God he sold them into the hand of Sisera.
Let us learn from this transaction the important lesson, that national judgments are the certain consequences of national transgression! A lesson, taught not merely in this particular passage of Jewish history, but written in characters the most legible upon every period of their national career — a truth, for the confirmation of which we need not search the annals of other countries; we have merely to look back to the past experience of our own. Yes, whatever be the instrument to which the Almighty may see fit to entrust the execution of His vengeance; whether it be the sword, or the famine, or the pestilence, or the far more terrible scourge of popular fury and civil discord; whether He raise up a tyrant to oppress His people, and grievously afflict them with a rod of iron; whatever may be the means employed to inflict the chastisement, the occasion of that chastisement is sin. The same spirit is at work among us, — the self-willed spirit of insubordination, — the spirit of opposition to all constituted authority — of dissatisfaction with all long established institutions. The same principles are broached among us; principles which, if carried out to their legitimate conclusions, must lead inevitably to the same miserable results. Now, as in those days, the "majesty of the people" is held to be the only true source of power; the will of the multitude is substituted for the authority of God! Surely, when we see these things come to pass, there can be nothing very unreasonable in the fear that trouble may be hard at hand; that the day of calamity may be nearer than we are willing to believe? Should the Almighty "deal with us after our sins, and reward us according to our iniquities," (Psalm 103:10), the issue may be easily foreseen. Did the transgression of our fathers draw down upon them the calamities which we this day deplore, and are we better than they? No! in nowise. Our privileges, indeed, are greater — our deliverances have been greater — our responsibilities are greater — let us beware lest our condemnation, also, be greater.

(W. Brickwell.)

"Things to which," says Manton, "we are used do not work upon us; we are not much moved with them. Custom maketh men sleep quietly by the falls of great waters, where much noise is; and some parts of the body grow callous, brawny, dry, and dead, as the labourer's hand, and the traveller's heel, by much use." So doth the conscience gradually lose its force. At first, like a cataract, its great roar astounds the soul, and effectually prevents its slumbers of carnal security; but by-and-by its noise is scarcely heard, and men are even lulled to sleep by its sound. Now this is to be dreaded exceedingly, for it is the forerunner of doom. No more warnings are heard because sentence has gone forth and the man's destruction is sealed.

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