Posts Tagged Samuel
Reading about the disobedient Israelites and arrogant Saul brings me down! Enter David, son of Jesse…
Samuel is mourning Saul, but God tells him to get some oil and go anoint the next king. Samuel hesitates because the current king still lives! He would be risking his life. But Samuel trusts and heads to his next assignment, despite the risk.
It’s interesting that his own father does not consider David to be king-worthy. All Jesse’s sons are present for Samuel to evaluate – except David. Samuel asks Jesse if these are ALL his sons. I love Jesse’s answer:
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Jesse’s like, “Well, ya there’s one more, but it’s just David. Why would you even ask about him? He’s out there somewhere…” Wouldn’t you bring all your sons before Samuel if Samuel asked you to bring all your sons?
God judges the heart. He selects the weak for positions of honor. He does not consider height or appearance, but seeks hearts that are after Him.
So Samuel anoints David as the next king.
Wait…what about the current king? What are we to do about him?
Well, isn’t it a strange coincidence that King Saul somehow randomly recruits David to play the lyre for him? No coincidence. God is at work. His will is going to be accomplished. There’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Lastly, it’s noteworthy to point out something in verse 23. Did you catch it?
“Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”
In the first part of the verse, it says “the spirit from God” and in the last part, “the evil spirit would leave”.
Seems God is the one sending the evil spirit. Upon researching this a bit, you’ll find that it is inconsistent with God’s character to directly send evil spirits. Although He does punish people for their disobedience (and Saul is clearly disobedient to God), so some have suggested God simply allowed the evil spirit, not directly sent it.
I tend to think this is more a matter of linguistics. The word used for “evil spirit” here is the word rauch, which has a wide range of translations, including air (i.e., breath or wind); the vital principle of life or animating force; the rational mind where thinking and decision-making occurs; the Holy Spirit of God (Gesenius, 1847, pp. 760-761) and disposition of mind or attitude (Harris, et al., 1980, 2:836).
Furthermore, the word used for “evil” here is , which is translated “bad,” “unhappy,” or “sad of heart or mind” (Gesenius, p. 772).
Could it be that Saul was suffering from his own bad attitude? There have been many times I’ll sit and listen to music to chase away a bad mood.
The bottom line is this: God has intervened and suddenly David, a small shepherd boy whose own father considers him simply that, is now God’s anointed and finds himself somehow inexplicably in service as the king’s own armor-bearer.
Coincidence? I think not…
Stay tuned, it’s just starting to get good!
Up to this point, God was the King of the nation of Israel. God’s plan was to assign prophets to be the liaison between He and them. And that was working well through Samuel. Unfortunately, Samuel’s sons were selfish, greedy little perverts.
The nation of Israel did not like this arrangement, so they looked around at how other nations were doing it and demanded their own king.
To be honest, I don’t really get why they were in such a hurry to get into a situation where a king would recruit their children into the army, where they would be forced to labor for the king, where their own daughters would be taken from them to serve in the king’s kitchens and courts, etc.
Surely, it would not have been worse than a few bad-apple prophet sons.
“But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.” So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.
And so it begins…
Lord, I know I can be as selfish and short-sighted as these people. Forgive me when I get so fixed on what I want, when I want it, that I miss out on Your best plan for my life. Today, I choose to surrender. I choose Your way, not mine.
Okay a few cool things I noticed today in 1 Samuel chapter 3.
First was how Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Verse 3 says: “Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli.”
Later in this chapter, we find out that Samuel didn’t even know the Lord yet (see verse 7). Yet, he was “serving the Lord” by assisting Eli. I read this and thought to myself how complicated I try to make things. Sometimes serving the Lord is as simple as doing well what He’s asked us to do in the place He has put us. I’m sure being an assistant to a priest was not the most glamorous job in the day, but this is how Samuel served God.
The next thing I noticed is the fact that God called Samuel. While it’s true that God does use you and me to evangelize and spread the good news, there are a few times in scripture when God does the calling all by Himself. Certainly, the story of the conversion of Saul to Paul is a great example. Paul thought he was doing God a favor by persecuting a little religious movement called The Way, but God had different ideas. Saul did not come to God on his own – God called him. Jesus called people during His time on earth, too. When the Son of God comes up to you and says, “Follow Me” that’s a pretty good example of God calling you directly.
Here, we see a kind of humorous calling from God to Samuel – late at night while he was sleeping. After the third time of being awakened in the night, Eli, being wise, finally recognized this as the calling of God and had to tell Samuel how to respond (because Samuel did not yet know God).
Which is is another cool thing I noticed in today’s chapter. We often need those older and wiser in the faith to point things out to us. That’s why it’s so important for each of us to have a Christian “sage” in your life.
I love the last part of this chapter. It’s encouraging to read how Samuel grew up with the Lord:
“As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle.”
At first I was thinking about how cool it would have been to have been raised in the Temple with the priest, and how much I could have learned. However, I re-read this passage and see that Eli is not even mentioned – well, except for how he did not discipline his sons, and how God was going to reign down in judgement on him and his family. So, Samuel grew up and THE LORD was with him.
We can walk with God – every minute of every day. It’s what God wants for us. Yet, how simple is it to get distracted or busy and not spend the day with Him? I love John Eldredge’s book entitled, “Walking With God”. This book has some helpful insight into how to walk with God in really practical ways.
Lord, I want to serve you where you’ve put me – even though sometimes it seems like I could be doing something a bit more glamorous. Forgive my pride. Thank you that I have wise “sages” speaking life into me. And, today, I choose to walk with You.
1 Samuel 6 talks about how the Phillies returned the ark to Israel, and at a great cost – not only in lives lost because of taking it, but the “guilt” offering that had to accompany it on its return.
1 When the ark of the LORD had been in Philistine territory seven months, 2 the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the LORD ? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.”
3 They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it away empty, but by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you.”
It got me thinking how costly it is to mess with God. I’m reminded of the scripture that says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
It also got me thinking about the whole concept of “guilt offering.” Not sure how applicable it is since the Phillies were not God followers to begin with, and they stole something from God. But – have I stolen anything from God? Is it more costly to give back PLUS the guilt offering?
Something to think about…
I probably already mentioned this, but the books of Samuel in the OT are some of my favorite Bible passages. They read like a gladiator movie or Indiana Jones or something.
I am especially fond of this chapter where the Philistines put the ark of God in their temple next to their Dagon god. In the morning, the Dagon had fallen on its face before the ark. So, the Phillies put Dagon back up. The next morning, same thing – Dagon fell over before the ark, but this time his head and limbs broke off and were lying in the threshold.
After that, they kept moving the ark around because where ever it went, the people of that area were inflicted with terrible devastation like tumors. Finally, they realized it would be better to send it back to Israel.
It got me thinking about what kind of abomination do we carry with us? Is there anything in our lives, or in our homes that is not pleasing to God? Are there things that tempt us that we keep within reach? Maybe there are things that aren’t bad per se, but rob us of time or focus. Perhaps it’s time to send them back to the enemy because they’re causing devastation in our lives.
Wondering what God told Samuel in chapter 3? Check it out:
11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ” 1 Samuel 3 (NIV)
So in chapter 4, we see God carrying out his judgment upon Israel. You see, back in chapter 2 Samuel’s sons dishonored God and took advantage of their position in leadership and stealing from God and taking advantage of women at the temple. Look at the devastation their disobedience caused:
Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek. 2 The Philistines deployed their forces to meet Israel, and as the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand of them on the battlefield.
And, later in the chapter:
10 So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
Eli’s sons were killed. The ark of God captured by the enemy.
What a sobering reminder of the consequences of disobedience to God’s commands.
Lord, keep me from temptation to do things my own way today. I long to follow You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
Ever heard the voice of God? Samuel did. Well, he thought at first he was hearing Eli call him, but it turned out to be the voice of God:
4 Then the LORD called Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
How amazing would it be to actually hear God’s voice audibly – to where you get out of bed and go to someone else in the house who you thought was calling you?! This is a good reminder for me to listen for His voice. Although I can’t say I’ve ever actually heard his voice audibly, I do know when He has actually spoken to me in my heart. I wonder how many times I’ve “thought” things and dismissed them when it was actually God speaking to me. Plenty, I’m sure.
The other reminder in this chapter is to be honest with each other. Eli asked that Samuel to tell him exactly what God said, even though it was not pleasant to hear. But that’s a story for another day…
Have a great day.