Overcoming Rejection | 1 Samuel 8-12

January 2, 2020

Topic: Mental Health

Book: 1 Samuel

Scripture: 1 Samuel 8-12


Rejection! One of the ways the enemy uses to keep us in bondage is the spirit of rejection. We have all experienced rejection. It causes us to question ourselves and doubt our future. We all know rejection hurts. Rejection is very, very painful.

Do you remember the last time you felt rejected?

Was it someone who never returned a phone call?

Was it a boss who overlooked you for a promotion and terminated you?

Was it someone who rejected your marriage proposal?

Or maybe it was someone in your life who never thought you are good enough, no matter what you did to impress them.

HF: We are going to look overcoming rejection according to the word of God. We are also going to see what the seed of rejection can do to us and end up by praying for deliverance from the spirit of rejection.

Research Study: A lot of mental studies have been done in the area of rejection.

 On mental health study form Oxford Handbook of Social Exclusions stated, “Rejection is both a cause and consequence of depression.”

Psychologists tell us that for most people, the very earliest fragmentary memories that we have are the memories that come from about age 3 or 4. It is remarkable that how often, those earliest of memories have to do with this theme of ‘Rejection.’ Some of our earliest memories are memories of rejection.

Psychological research confirmed with MRI show that pain pathways, neurochemistry for physical pain and emotional pain overlap each other. For some reason we forget physical pain and remember emotional pain vividly. When you try to remember when you broke that bone or fell from the bike, it is hard to reconstruct exactly how it felt but the moments of rejection from the same period is remembered vividly.

Rejection affects our mental wellbeing as well..

Open your Bible to 1 Samuel 8

1 Samuel 8-12 is a unit of chapters. They are all about the transition of government from God’s leadership of His people through judges, to a period where Israel was now a united country, under monarchy or kings. That transition is covered in those 5 chapters.

Chapter 8 and chapter 12 have some parallels.

1 Samuel 8:1-5 1When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. 2The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.  3But his sons did not follow his ways. (In the entire Bible, the only reference to the sons of Samuel are in Chapter 8 and Chapter 12. Samuel was one of the godliest men in the entire Bible. Yet his action here may be a sin on his part. We never have the pattern of judges being appointed by men or of the office of judge being passed from father to son. Samuel was not right to appoint his sons judges over Israel.) They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” (Samuel’s sons became like Eli’s sons, however, Samuel did not enjoy the fruit of their misbehaviour). 4So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.  5They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.

There is the rejection with which these 5 chapters start.

There are two presenting two problems and a solution:

  • You are old.
  • Your son don’t walk in your ways.
  • Appoint a king to lead us.

Their remedy was now to appoint a king to lead them. Actually, in Hebrew, it says to Judge us, the very same word that is used to designate judges.

So Samuel whose job description is to Judge hears this. The elders say, “Appoint a king to Judge us.” It’s telling Samuel, “You’re fired.” He was the judge and now the people want a king to be their judge.

Look at the charge the elders bring up:

Samuel is Old: Problem 1: Age

We are little a surprised to hear this emphasis on age in the Bible. Most of the Bible heroes like Abraham; Moses start their ministry at the age of 75 and 80. Old doesn’t seem to be treated in the derogatory way that we are used to in our own culture. Clearly, age is a problem now in our culture.


In the anticipation of the presidential election in 2014, the Pew Research Centre published a study. In their study they 16 non-political factors that might determine whether the general voting public would favour a candidate or not. But 16 non-political factors were investigated and it turned out that age is a factor as well.

If two presidential candidates are running for office. According to the study, if one is 70 years or older, 36% of adult Americans acknowledge that they would be less likely to vote for that candidate. No other consideration.

But Samuel could have responded, “Hey! What does age have to do with it?” Think back to actually how God used Samuel in chapter 7. This is one of the most decisive victories ever against Israel’s enemies at the battle at Mizpah when the philistines were routed with Israelites having virtually no weapons. How did God use Samuel to achieve that victory?

1 Samuel 7:5 Samuel said “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the LORD for you.”

1 Samuel 7:7-13 7When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines. 8They said to Samuel, “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him. 10While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar. 12Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines.

 Who won the victory? It is God.

Through what human means? Through Samuel’s leadership.

Precisely how? Because he was praying for the people.

That’s how the battle was won.

You might think age could be a problem. If we are thinking of Israel’s leadership in terms of someone who can carry a heavy sword and carry a shield, maybe Samuel is old with some health issues.

Can that prevent him from praying effectively? The fundamental problem isn’t age; it’s whether you believe in God. They forgot Lord Samuel says.

Problem 2: Your Sons Don’t Walk In Your Way.

It was obviously a great disappointment.


TOI – June 14, 2015: According to psychologists, a lot of students end up making bad career choices under pressure from their parents. Parental pressure dominates children’s career choices even today.

 Many parents would wish that their children walk in their path or their steps with respect to carriers. We must never force our children to take up our career path or any career the child is not interested in.

Children really honour our fathers, not by doing the same career that they did. You can go into the career and do like Samuel’s sons. If you do like Samuel’s sons, it’s worse than if you had chosen any other carrier.

In the story of Samuel, this wonderful, excellent human being and servant of the Lord and struggle he had with the children, didn’t not follow in his steps.

They rejected Samuel, Reason: Age & Sons.

When the people rejected Samuel, actually it was God they were rejecting.

1 Samuel 8:7-18 7And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” 10Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

  • They rejected God as their king.
  • God allowed them to have their way.
  • The king would use their money.
  • The kings would enslave them.

God had told them that they would have a king:

Deuteronomy 17-14-20

14When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. 18When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.

1 Samuel 8:19-21 19But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” 21When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

  • They Rejected God.
  • They Wanted Security.
  • They Rejected God’s Servants.

How Did This Affect Samuel?

  • He felt rejected. He appoints King Saul as Israel’s first king. 1 Samuel 9.
  • He starts repeating what they accused him of being.

1 Samuel 12:1-3 1Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. 2Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, (He is repeating what they accused him of being and agreeing.) and my sons are here with you. (Here is the other reference to the sons and they are here with us.) I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 3Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”

I think Samuel says, “I am old, my sons are judges. Testify against me and my sons.”

At that point I think they took steps and resolution to throw them out of the office. We wonder why the sons are being invited to participate in this court room’s scene that unfolds, where Samuel says testify against me. We never read about them again. But Samuel from whom we get this material, Samuel himself was not really interested in dragging his sons names through the mud. The point was not his sons. That was just trumped up in order to hurt him.

It didn’t matter what his sons were in terms of this issues of kingship, because if Samuel died, his sons don’t take over. Judgeship is not an inherited office in Israel. To become a judge you have to be raised up by the Lord and filled with the Spirit. So, it’s just a pretext, a distraction, and a wound in order to make the ‘rejection’ even more painful.

 How Does Rejection Affect Us?

  • Rejection Attacks Our Identity.
  • Rejection Alters The Way You Look At Life And Others.
  • Rejection Can Block Us From Experiencing A True Relationship With God.

How Is Samuel Going To Respond?

What Do You Do When You Are Rejected As Samuel?

When you have an experience like that:

  • A door slammed on your face..
  • Someone discarding you and saying hurtful things.
  • How do you respond?
  • How should you respond?
  • Where do you begin?

If we look back at chapter 8, we got a great answer. Where you began is not where most of us begin.

1. Do Nothing – Say Nothing.

Do not unleash your fury.

The first thing you do is not to unleash your fury on those who have just rejected you and hurt your feelings. There are plenty of things you could have said. But where Samuel began is by saying nothing.

The way you respond if you want to imitate the good example of Samuel is you shut your mouth, you say little as possible. The danger is that if you say something or if at midnight you press the send button on that email or WhatsApp, is that come tomorrow morning you are going to be regretting what you said.

Proverbs 12:16 Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.

 A fool shows his anguish at once. He just lets it out. But a prudent man overlooks at the insult.

Proverbs 19:11 A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

James 1:19-20 Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

 Proverbs 29:11 “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”


There are wonderful Olympic athletes and archers who can just shoot an arrow at a bull’s eyes. But there’s no archer who is so skilful, so accurate that once he let his arrow, he can reach out and take it back.

Proverbs 26:18 Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is the one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”

 Like arrows shot with fire at the end of them or arrows fired with poisoned tips, is the man who deceives his neighbour and says, “I was only joking, I didn’t mean it in that way.” You can’t reach out, and get it back before it’s done its lethal damage.

When Samuel was the target of a personal attack, he says nothing.

  • First thing: Do nothing.
  • Second thing: Pray.

2. Pray

Bring it to the Lord. That’s exactly what the text says.

1 Samuel 8:6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.”

What would you do when someone really knocks your teeth out? Or Gives a blow to your gut? You say nothing, but you don’t do nothing. You get down on your knees and you pray. Bring it to the Lord. Pour it out. let him hear it.

God responds to Samuel to realize that it’s not all about him.

1 Samuel 8:7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

 Believe it or not, those vicious attacks against you may not always be about you. They may be a result of everyone forgetting there’s God.

Samuel deals with prayer. God quiets his heart. God asked Samuel to give them a king. Samuel begins to listen to everything they said.

1 Samuel 12:1 Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you…

This is now a reconciliation meeting. Samuel shows his disposition to listen.

1 Samuel 12:1-3 1Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. 2Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 3Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed.”

 What’s the next thing you do after saying nothing but praying?

3. My Sin First

This is what Samuel models. “Testify against me in the presence of the Lord.” He’s going to deal with their issues later. If you are having a breakdown relationship, if there has been a hurtful comment, the job that is on us if you are going to follow Jesus Christ is first start with our sin.

Mathew 7:3-5 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 When people come for counselling they say, “I just have a speck in my eye but he has a plank in his eye.”


A speck of dust out here, you cannot even see. As objects move closer to you it becomes an issue. If you have a speck of dust, you cannot even see it. But once you have it on your eyes, you can feel the speck of dust. This is the only place where you can feel a speck of dust. It is painful. It waters your eye. It makes your vision blurred. A speck of dust in your eye is as if you are having a plank there for the way it affects you.

An ophthalmic surgeon is the one who performs surgery on the eye. If he has to do surgery on someone’s eye, he first has to make sure that there is no dust in his body, his apron or equipment. But he is not going to end in his self. He is first going to make sure that he is dust free, but then he is going to take out the plaque out of the patient’s eye.

Mathew 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Once you have dealt with your own sin, you can be trusted to point out something. Well, there’s an issues here. You have forgotten God. That’s the issues that Samuel drives home. But it starts with you.

Samuel says, “Tell me whatever it is I have done.”

1 Samuel 12:3 Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”

Notice that he doesn’t say:

  • Have I ever disappointed you?
  • Did I ever do anything that you didn’t like?
  • Have I ever failed to lived up to you expectations?
  • Did I ever hurt anyone’s feelings?
  • Is anything that I have done, that you wouldn’t have done?
  • Have you been in my position?

Those kinds of issues are irrelevant. Either it’s putting you in the place of God which we are not going to forget God when Samuel or its irrelevant. If you want to bring a microscope, of course you are going to find problems.

The Bible reminds us we all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he’s a perfect man. There’s always going to be sins. What Samuel does to set the agenda, these are all going to be egregious sins, to warrant these kind of attack that came to him.

Did I take an ox? Don’t ask me I have covered it something.

Egregious sins are the standard if you are judging a fellow human being. If you are expecting not to find minimal sins, then you are imagining they are God, of course you are going to find a little imperfection and so on.

Samuel stands ready to make it right.

1 Samuel 12:3 If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”

He doesn’t just promise to say I’m sorry. He is going to in fact repent.

Were do you end? When do you end? What’s the last thing you do?

You first say nothing, then you pray, you tell God everything. Then when you heart is in the right place, it’s my sin first, and then as you can turn to the problems to be dealt with as Samuel does.

How do you end? They don’t end with Samuel getting his way. They don’t decide to re-elect him. They don’t end with a testimonial dinner; it doesn’t end with any of those things.

How do you know when to stop? Where do you end? You end where you begin with prayer.

4. Pray Again.

It is in prayer that Samuel ends.

1 Samuel 12:23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.

You end with prayer. You end with the point where you are now praying for the other person. Jesus said the same thing, in the Sermon on the Mount and this is appropriate for us to close with.

Mathew 5:43-45 Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven”

 You will know that you have come to the right place, not when you know that you are getting out well with that other person, not when you are best friends. That may or may not happen. Not that they finally agree that you are right in dealing with some of those issues. But when you are finally finding yourself actually praying for them in real love, even like your Father in heaven.


  • Rejection Is A Projection Of People’s Issues. Figure out how to use rejecting for your good.
  • View rejection as protection, protection from something or someone that tis not meant to be in our lives anymore.

Steve Jobs survived being rejected from his own company.

Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985. As many now know, he had quite a tenacious and unwavering personality that could put people off. The board of directors at Apple took note of this and fired Jobs from the company he founded. Of this experience, he said,: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Ousted from Apple after a failed boardroom coup, Jobs formed his own start up. That start up was eventually purchased by a desperate Apple, which was in dire need of product leadership at the time. Not long after, Jobs would become interim CEO, then permanent CEO, and Apple would go from tech industry punchline to the most valuable company in the world.


Michael Jordan, The Greatest of all time in basketball,  Who Stands at 6’6, Once Got Rejected From a Basketball Side in high school Due in high school.

In his sophomore year, Jordan tried out for the varsity team but was rejected, as he just stood at 5’11. These days there are high school players in the US as tall as 7 feet. Jordan wasn’t even 6 feet tall at the time. This fueled the fire in Jordan and he went to work. After being rejected, he worked hard all year long and also added roughly 4 inches to his height by the following year.

 Steve Jobs was rejected by his own company, the end product is Apple.

We have all faced rejection in our lives so many times. We are loved by God. We are accepted by God.

Psalm 27:10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.

God did not create us to experience rejection. Satan’s strategy is to keep us isolated.

I want to tell you that when we face rejection when people push us out, God pulls us to himself. Rejection is a projection of people’s issues. His brothers rejected Joseph. Moses was rejected by his people. David was rejected by Saul. Elijah was rejected by Ahab and Jezebel. Jesus was rejected by his people. Apostle Paul was rejected by the Jews in many places where he preached. When you are rejected, God pulls us to him. Our rejection causes us to come out of situations where God does not want us to be there. God pulls us out of situations and pushes us to our purpose.

Jesus accepts you this morning. He died for us and can we commit ourselves into his hands.

 I started by asking, “When was the last time you were rejected?”

I end by asking you, “What are you going to do with it?”

Let’s Pray.