Bible Study – What’s Your Track Record?

Key Verse

“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.”. . . & “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.”
— (1 Samuel 12:3) & (1 Samuel 13:13)

What's Your Tack Record?

1 Samuel 12 & 13


Judges had governed Israel for almost five hundred years. With the anointing of a king, Samuel took the opportunity to remind the Children of Israel of his credibility. It was common at that time for officials to make money because of their positions, but Samuel had not done that. Samuel also reminded the Israelites of how God had sent leaders who had helped them in the past. He referenced the cycle that had become common to Israel, of forgetting God and then repenting and seeking deliverance. Finally, Samuel challenged them to obey God’s commandments. “The Lord” is mentioned over thirty times in this chapter, indicating how much Samuel wanted Israel to serve God. Samuel’s intentions were clear. He planned to continue serving God, and this included interceding for the people of Israel and teaching them God’s Word. Samuel was meeting with the Children of Israel in late May to early June — an important time in wheat harvesting. There were two rainy seasons: yoreh (the early rains) and malqosh (the latter rains). Today, we would refer to these times as fall and spring. Knowing this, the thunderstorm that ensued was considered miraculous, as rain rarely fell during harvest time. The people knew that rain at this time could cause great damage to the crops and that it was a sign of God’s displeasure regarding their request for a king. The miracle also confirmed that Samuel’s words were from God. God chose Israel as His people because He wanted them to help other nations learn about Him. God promised not to abandon them, but He would discipline them for disobedience, to cause them to live right.

King Saul started with high ideals, good motivation, and God’s strength behind him. Two years into his reign he chose a small group of three thousand fighting men. Michmash was north of Jerusalem. Gibeah, where Jonathan and his one thousand men were camped, was approximately fifteen miles away. Jonathan and his troops defeated the Philistine garrison at Geba, and King Saul sent the word around to encourage his people. The Philistines took this act as a declaration of war and gathered their massive army together to fight against Israel. The Children of Israel, seeing the army gathering against them, quickly became fearful. Many went into hiding, and those who stuck with Saul were described as “trembling.” Saul became impatient and made a sacrifice just before Samuel arrived. Saul’s downward slide was characterized by three attitudes: impatience, pride, and unbelief. Saul made unwise decisions because he looked at things with the natural eye instead of the spiritual eye of faith. He then tried to cover up his actions with half-truths and lies, minimizing his faults and not taking any blame. Israel was greatly outnumbered. The Philistines were “as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude” (v. 5). In chapter 13 verse 2, Saul had three thousand men. By verse 15, he was down to six hundred.



As a mother, I am responsible for many different aspects of my children’s care: grooming, clothing, meals, and much to their distress, discipline. My husband and I have established a policy of following through with what we say. If we say we will go to the park, we make every effort to take them there. Follow-through carries into the discipline area, as well. If we tell our children there are consequences for certain behaviours, we follow through. As we do, it assures them that they can count on us to do what we say. Do they understand this principle? I believe they do. Not long ago, as I drove my son to preschool, I told him that I would look for new sneakers while he was at school. When I picked him up from school, he asked me if I brought his new sneakers in the car. I asked him, “How did you know I had new sneakers for you?” He said, “You told me you were going to get some.” Then I asked him if I always do what I say I’m going to do. He quickly said, “Yes!” Although my son may sometimes hope I don’t follow through with my words, he knows that he can depend on me for the truth. I have established a track record. In this verse, Samuel was making a point about his track record with the Children of Israel. He asked them, “Whose ox have I taken?” “Whom have I defrauded?” The Children of Israel answered back that Samuel spoke the truth! He was to be believed because his track record was clean. Samuel was establishing a point of reference. Basically, it was: I have not lied to you and I am not going to start now; believe me when I tell you that you have done wrong. We should be careful to keep our word. Then those around us can always be sure that we will do what we say.
Disobedience does not pay. That is a concept that we try to teach our children while they are still young. The discipline we give them is intended to help them understand just how foolish their disobedience was, and also to cause them to remember not to disobey in the future. However, once we become adults, we must take care not to forget this concept ourselves. In today’s text, Saul became nervous when Samuel did not arrive, and the men of his army began to desert him. He disobeyed God’s commandments when he made a sacrifice, which should have been done only by a priest. Samuel told him that he had “done foolishly.” As we face each day, we do not want to do foolishly. We want to ask God to help us obey Him. We will be glad that we did!



Question 1
In 1 Samuel 12:3-5, Samuel asked if there was anyone who was accusing him of any misdeeds. In his high offices as prophet and judge, he would have faced opportunities to become corrupt. What can we do to make sure that we are not corrupted by power at any level?
Question 2
What miracle did God perform at Samuel’s request?
Question 3
What lessons can we apply to our own lives about keeping God first? What is your track record?
Question 4
In 1 Samuel 10:8, Samuel tells Saul to wait in Gilgal seven days and Samuel would come and offer a sacrifice. After Saul disobeyed Samuel and offered the sacrifice himself (1 Samuel 13:8-12), who did Saul blame? How does this parallel some people’s actions today?
Question 5
Saul’s downward slide seems to follow a pattern in 13:8-12. What pattern do you see? How could a pattern like this apply to one’s spiritual maturity?
Question 6
Perhaps you are waiting for an answer from God. How can you encourage yourself to keep holding on in faith?



We want a reputation that we do what we say we will. Even more importantly, we want to obey what God says to do. God is never late. He wants us to wait on Him no matter what the circumstances appear to be. He wants to help us build our faith and spiritual maturity and to lead us to victories. If we are obedient, God will give us the victory in His time.