First Samuel is a book of great beginnings… and tragic endings. It begins with Eli as high priest during the time of the Judges. As a religious leader, Eli certainly must have begun his life with a close relationship to God. In his communication with Hannah, and inn his training of her son Samuel, he demonstrated a clear understanding of God’s purposes and call. But his life ended in ignominy as a sacrilegious sons were judged by God and the sacred ark of the covenant fell into enemy hands. Eli’s death marked the decline of the influence of the priesthood and the rise of the prophets in Israel.
We see a vivid contrast between young Samuel and Eli’s sons. Eli’s sons were selfish, but Samuel was helpful, Eli’s sons defrauded people, but Samuel grew in wisdom and gave the people messages from God. As an adult, Samuel became a prophet, priest, and judge over Israel. A person’s actions reflect his character. This was true of Samuel and Eli’s sons. It is also true of us. Strive, like Samuel, to keep your heart pure before God.
Saul showed great promise. He was strong, tall, and modest. God’s Spirit came upon him, and Samuel was his counselor. But Saul deliberately disobeyed God and became an evil king. We must not base our hopes or future on our potential. Instead, we must consistently obey God in all areas of life. God evaluates obedience, not potential.
David quickly killed Goliath, but waited patiently for God to deal with Saul. Although David was anointed to be Israel’s king, he had to wait years to realize his promise. The difficult circumstances in life and the times of waiting often refine, teach, and prepare us for the future responsibilities God has for us.
As you read First Samuel, not the transition from theocracy to monarchy, exult in the classic stories of David and Goliath, David and Jonathan, David and Abigail, and watch the rise of the influence of the prophets. But in the midst of reading all the history and adventure, determine to run your race as God’s person from start to finish.
Possibly Samuel, but also includes writings from prophets Nathan and Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29).
To record the life of Samuel, Israel’s last judge; the reign and decline of Saul, the first king; and the choice and preparation of David, Israel’s greatest king.
First Samuel begins in the days of the judges and describes Israel’s transition from a theocracy (led by God) to a monarchy (led by a king).
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