9. WE SHOULD NOT DESIRE TO BE LIKE THOSE OF THE WORLD.
I Samuel 8:19,20 - "Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, 'No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.'"
This temptation is ever present, but we must resist. If we are like those of the world, we will share their destiny (i.e., the destruction of the broad path; cf. Matt. 7:13,14). We are to be distinct and holy for the Lord, not lovers of this world and its ways (cf. I Pet. 1:13-16; I John 2:15-17).
10. A GOOD START DOES NOT GUARANTEE A GOOD FINISH.
I Samuel 9:20,21 - "'And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on you and on all your father's house?' And Saul answered and said, 'Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?'"
Saul was a humble man--even bashful (cf. 10:22)--when he first became king, but that all changed. The power seemed to corrupt him, and he did many wicked things in an effort to try to retain power when he felt threatened. Solomon is another sad example of this truth. Getting a good start is vital (cf. Eccl. 12:1), but staying faithful to the Lord through every phase of life is a must (cf. Matt. 10:22).
11. FEARING THE LORD & SERVING HIM FAITHFULLY ARE EASIER WHEN WE CONSIDER THE GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE FOR US.
I Samuel 12:24 - "Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you."
Adversity will come, but no matter what situation you find yourself in, there are great blessings to be contemplated. A spirit of gratitude is invaluable for servants of the Most High.
12. DOING THAT WHICH YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO DO IS FOOLISH.
I Samuel 13:9,12,13 - "So Saul said, 'Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.' And he offered the burnt offering...'Then I said, "The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD." Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.'"
Regardless of his rationale, he sinned. He was not a priest and did not have the right to behave as one. Trying to justify one's sins is foolish. May we not be guilty of presumptuousness like Saul but live as humble stewards under Christ's authority in every way (cf. Col. 3:17).
13. THE LORD CAN DO GREAT THINGS WITH MANY OR WITH FEW.
I Samuel 14:6 - "Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, 'Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.'"
Jonathan was courageous and wise. Do we believe that God can still do great things with many or with few (e.g., I Sam. 17:50; Jud. 15:15; cf. Eph. 3:20,21)?