1 Samuel 12:1-7 Faithfulness & Integrity
1 Samuel 12:1-7
1 And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. 2 And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. 3 Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” 4 They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” 5 And he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.” 6 And Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. 7 Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your fathers.
Samuel having crowned Saul as king and established a new regime for Israel seeks closure for God’s direct rule over the nation. The age of theocracy (God as king) has ended, and a new regime of human kings has begun. Samuel’s message consists of a grave warnings against rebellion and the consequence of certain discipline. Samuel concluded his service as judge by an open invitation to the people to surface any dishonest acts or oppression that he might have committed against any person. Although he would be relinquishing his role as judge but he would continue as prophet of Israel. His faithfulness and impeccable integrity has kept the Israel from sinning against God that protected them from their enemies.
I have walked before you from my youth until this day – Samuel recounted the days of his service as prophet before the people. Ever since his mother dedicated him as a Nazarite to Eli the high priest, he has served as prophet and judge before the people until this day. By recounting his length of service, Samuel wanted to impress on the people that he had no hidden agenda, only love and unreserved dedication towards them.
They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” – Samuel gave an open invitation to the people to surface any acts of dishonesty, improper practices or oppressions that he may have committed during his years of service. And the people unanimously endorsed Samuel’s impeccable character and integrity. By presenting an open invitation, Samuel silenced all rumors and those who attempt to taint his reputation. In doing so, he established his credibility as a man of God who is fully qualified as a spokesman for God to instruct the people in the way of truth.
Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all… – Samuel was about to rehearse to the people the things that transpired from the days of captivity in Egypt and what God has done for them and for their forefathers. In so doing, Samuel reminded the people of the consequences of disobedience in hopes that they may learn from their past mistakes. The people’s recent demand for a king attested to their disobedience in that history did repeat itself and they have once again failed to learn from their past mistakes.
- Faithfulness and integrity are the twin pillars of an effective ministry and enduring legacy. If you could find a word that aptly sums up Samuel’s ministry, that would be “flawless”. The bible did not record any hint of sin nor did the people surface any dishonest acts. His sons, evil as they were could not taint his reputation as the prophet and judge of Israel. During his tenure as prophet, he anointed two kings and stood against the tyranny of Saul. Samuel’s faithfulness to God and his impeccable character made him God’s very own confidante. And he went down into history as one of the most powerful prophets of Israel. When a man’s work is built on faithfulness to God’s call and integrity towards the truth, nothing can taint it or tilt it.
- Faithfulness is the quality that causes one to bring enduring change and prosperity to the community. Faithfulness is the ability to stay on course despite great challenges. Without the perseverance to see through change one element at a time, there can be no enduring transformation. Before any change can be possible, a change maker will face a myriad of challenges: oppositions from people who resist any form of change; hindrances from external circumstances; facing our own weaknesses and personal change; and understanding God’s perspective and timing. Many people had a genuine call in their lives to be change makers of their time. But they were detracted from that call because their personal desires over shadowed the glory that God has prepared for them; the cost of pursuing the divine call is above what they are prepared to give. Perhaps, what kept many faithful to the call is the fellowship of the Spirit and the irresistibleness of God’s glory. A believer who has a lifestyle of constant fellowship with the Spirit, and who has seen God’s glory will remain faithful to the end.
- Integrity is the currency of influence and impact. Integrity denotes the integration of confession and action. A man has integrity if he consistently does what he professes to be true. When a man possesses integrity, he is trustworthy and earns his right to influence others. People will listen intently to what he says and believe them to be true. Integrity is earned and established over a period of time along with a spectrum of challenges and temptations. Integrity must start with the willingness to admit one’s own weaknesses and hold himself accountable to a group of people; he must first learn to trust others with his own frailty and imperfections. As a person is found trustworthy with smaller responsibilities and assets, he will be entrusted with greater responsibilities. Integrity is not a static virtue; it grows with each challenge and temptation. Therefore, a person of great integrity will possess immense potential to influence and to impact. A person of integrity is definitely one who fears God and obeys the truth. Perhaps, the question is: do I fear God enough to walk in the truth and to obey His instructions?
- Is integrity more important than gain? When the stakes are high and when you are out of the public eye, temptation becomes unbearable for most. Make resolution to be aboveboard in all your dealings. Colossians 3:5-6 say,
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
- Faithfulness is the virtue that causes the believer to plough through all obstacles that stand in his way and to accomplish his calling. Hebrews 12:1-2 concerning faithfulness to God’s call say,
“Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Faithfulness involves knowing God’s plans and tasks on a daily basis and to accomplish them. We must also understand the temptations that may distract us from the goal and actively put them off.
Dear Lord, I am aware that faithfulness and integrity are the virtues that will enable me to accomplish your will and gain your glory. Fill me with your Spirit so that I could stand firm against all temptations. Speak to me concerning the plans for my life, and help me to stay faithful to what you have entrusted to me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.