This great thing - This unusual occurrence.
When the Philistines, with their large army, prepared to make war with Israel, then the people were afraid. They had not that confidence that God would appear for them as before they had wickedly demanded a king. They knew that they were but a handful, compared with the armies of the Philistines, and to go out to battle with them seemed to be certain death. They did not feel as secure as they thought they should in possession of their king. In their perplexity they dared not call upon God, whom they had slighted. The Lord said to Samuel, They have not rejected you, but me, by desiring a king. 4aSG 68.1
Now, these men who had been valiant, and a terror to their numerous enemies, were afraid to go out against the Philistines to battle. They had their king, but did not dare to trust in him, and they felt that they had chosen him before the Strength of Israel. When they were brought into this perplexing condition, their hearts fainted. The people scattered, in their distress, and hid themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in high places, and in pits, as though escaping from captivity. Those who ventured to go with Saul followed him trembling. He was in great perplexity, as he saw that the people were scattered from him. He anxiously awaited the promised coming of Samuel; but the time expired, and he came not. God had designedly, detained Samuel, that his people might be proved, and might realize their sin, and how small was their strength, and weak their judgment and wisdom without God. 4aSG 68.2
In their calamity they repented that they had chosen a king. They had possessed greater courage and confidence while they had God-fearing rulers to instruct and lead them, for they obtained counsel direct from God, and it was like being led by God himself. Now, they realized that they were commanded by an erring king, who could not save them in their distress. Saul had not a high and exalted sense of the excellence and terrible majesty of God. He had not a sacred regard for his appointed ordinances. With an impetuous spirit because Samuel did not appear at the appointed time, he rushed before God presumptuously, and undertook the sacred work of sacrifice. While equipped for war, he built the altar and officiated for himself and the people. This work was sacredly given to those appointed for the purpose. This act was a crime in Saul, and such an example would lead the people to have a low estimate of the religious ceremonies and ordinances sanctified and appointed of God, prefiguring the sinless offering of his dear Son. God would have his people have a holy regard and sacred reverence for the sacrificial work of the priests, which pointed to the sacrifice of his Son. 4aSG 69.1Read in context »
“Behold,” he said, “I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and gray-headed; ... and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before His anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.” PP 614.1
With one voice the people answered, “Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand.” PP 614.2
Samuel was not seeking merely to justify his own course. He had previously set forth the principles that should govern both the king and the people, and he desired to add to his words the weight of his own example. From childhood he had been connected with the work of God, and during his long life one object had been ever before him—the glory of God and the highest good of Israel. PP 614.3Read in context »