First Samuel 12 features extensive dialogue between Samuel and the people of Israel:
“And Samuel said unto all Israel . . .” (12:1-3)
“And they said . . .” (12:4)
“And he said unto them . . .” (12:5a-b);
“And they said . . .” (12c)
“And Samuel said unto the people . . .” (12:6-18)
“And all the people said unto Samuel . . .” (12:19)
“And Samuel said unto the people . . .” (12:20-25)
Through its record of this dialogue, it provides rich teaching concerning some key characteristics of faithful spiritual leadership.
A Proper Testimony
Samuel challenged the people to testify before God and the king about his not dealing righteously with any of the people. He offered to make restoration for anything that they would testify that he had done wrongly (12:3). The people affirmed that he had not wronged them (12:4).
He was able to have effective ministry with the people because he had maintained a sterling testimony before them. Apart from such a testimony, faithful spiritual leadership is impossible.
A Proper Perspective about Life
Samuel attested to his mindset that it was “before the Lord” that he lived his life, especially as he ministered for Him (12:3, 7). He spoke of the Lord as a witness against the people concerning his righteous dealings with them (12:5). He spoke of their great wickedness that they had done “in the sight of the Lord” (12:17).
He showed His belief in the Lord’s attending to what he and they were doing by telling them that the Lord would act before their eyes (12:16) when he would call unto Him (12:17). He then called upon the Lord (12:18a), and the Lord answered Him by sending thunder and rain (12:18b).
Samuel showed that he lived his entire life with the proper awareness of being always in the sight of God. Only by cultivating such a perspective about our lives, especially in our ministries, will we be faithful in our spiritual leadership.
A Proper Ministry
Samuel’s ministry on this occasion displayed many aspects of a proper ministry:
- Focused on God as the LORD (31x), especially as their King (12:12), throughout his ministry to them – 12:3; 5; 6; 7 (2x); 8 (2x); 9; 10 (2x); 11; 12; 13; 14 (3x); 15 (3x); 16; 17 (2x); 18 (3x); 20 (2x); 22 (2x); 23; 24
- Exhorted them to fear the Lord (12:14, 24) and serve Him (12:14, 20, 24) with all their heart – 12:20, 24
- Reminded them of their history – 12:7-12
- Reasoned with them of God’s righteous dealings with them – 12:7-13
- Confronted their sin – “perceive and see that your wickedness is great,” 12:17
- Confirmed their sinfulness – “ye have done all this wickedness,” 12:20
- Encouraged them appropriately after they had acknowledged their sinfulness – 12:20-22
- Assured them that he had prayed and would pray faithfully for them – 12:23
- Taught them the good and the right way – 12:23-25
- Appealed to them earnestly – 12:20-21; 24
- Warned them diligently, especially about idolatry – 12:15, 21, 25
To be faithful in your spiritual leadership, you will have to have a proper testimony, a proper perspective about your life, especially about your ministry, as being in the sight of the Lord, and a proper ministry to the people whom you minister to as a spiritual leader.
© Rajesh Gandhi