CAN YOU BELIEVE WE ARE BEGINNING OUR 100TH DAY OF READING THE BIBLE TOGETHER!!!!?????? WHAT AN AWESOME BLESSING!!!
Chapter 9 — Saul was a Benjamite. If you think back to the end of the book of Judges … the Benjamintes were almost wiped out….remember there was a civil war and the remaining 11 Tribes of Israelites thought it was “right” to steal women (because they had made a rash vow to the Lord about the Benjaminites not having women from their tribes) so the Benjamintes could have a way to have wives?? God knew then, that of that line we would begin our Monarchy and HE gave them wives to continue their line. As we meet Saul, he is a humble man and through Divine Appointment Saul will be made king. God prepared Samuel for Saul’s visit. Samuel knew about Saul’s asses being lost (makes me think of Balaam.) These asses were Saul’s father’s, they were a sign of wealth … not something he would want to have to tell his father that they were gone or lost.
Chapter 10 — Saul is so humble and his kingship really started on the right path. He was tall, handsome, and the perfect “picture” of a king. Israel’s king was under the AUTHORITY of the ONE true God. Whereas pagan kings were under NO god….they saw themselves AS THE god!!
In verse 9 we are told that “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these things were fulfilled that day.” In verse 10 “…the SPIRIT of GOD came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying.”
I think about verse 9 when God changed Saul’s heart kind of like when each of us are saved. The day we are saved God changes our hearts so we WANT more of HIM, so we not only desire but can do HIS will in our lives. I think this is a beautiful verse of the change God can do when we ALLOW HIM to!!
Verse 19 –“But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said,NO appoint a king over us.” So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.” ISRAEL basically demanded a king, a human king like all the nations that surrounded them. However, Israel’s true king was God. God gave them their request….but God still felt rejected by their request.
Interestingly, Saul hid when Samuel was about to present him to the people. Possibly Saul was afraid of his new position and all the responsibility. Once he came out, he wrote down his duties and “deposited” them before the Lord. Samuel anointed his head and kissed him (no not that way.)
Chapter 11—we have this thing happening between the Ammonites (booooo hisssss , descendants from Lot) and the men Jabesh Gilead. Why did the Ammonites pick them to pick on? Because they were sure that Israel would Never come to their rescue. Recall back to the end of Judges, when they called a war by pony expressing the body parts of that poor raped woman. One tribe did not show. (This is also the same tribe the women were “stolen” from to marry the Benjamites after the civil war.)
Then they asked, “Which one of the tribes of Israel failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah?” They discovered that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly. For when they counted the people, they found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead were there. (Judges 21:8-9)
The book of Judges ended with judgment on the the Benjaminites. It was done and handled. So the Ammonites were wrong…all the Israelites DID come to their rescue. Saul had the SPIRIT OF GOD COME POWERFULLY UPON HIM…sends a message to the Ammonites with pieces of dead oxen. Then 330,000 men of Israel were organized and the next day Saul lead them in to battle and slaughtered the Ammonites.
Samuel made Saul king in the presence of the Lord. There (Gilgal) they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a celebration.
Chapter 12 This chapter is like a recap of things that have happened. If you didn’t get a chance to read or review the last few books, it is all right here in 1 small chapter. Samuel is making his farewell speech. And like all the greats before him, he reminds Israel of how great their God is … all HE has done for them. He reminds them of where God brought them from. Samuel reminds them of their prosperous times but more importantly of the times they FORGET about God. And then there it is…the ending. At the end of every Farewell Speech we see we have a CHOICE once again. We are told to pick a path… the path of GOD or the path without HIM. The If’s…
Now here is the king YOU have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the LORD has set a king over you. IF you fear the LORD and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you AND the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God-good! But IF you do not obey the LORD, and IF you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your fathers. (14-15)
God made it clear through Samuel that the Israelites will get the king … they asked for…and they ALL (the Israelites and the king) MUST follow HIM if they want all to go well with their lives. God also brought a thunderstorm during the wheat harvest. This could have been disastrous because if the storm was too big then it could destroy the wheat. God was showing them as a reminder of HIS power.
Why did God allow Israel to pick their own king? Their request was totally expected by God. Look back at Deut 17:14-20. Saul is fulfillment of the Scriptures. Each King can be measured against this standard. This all points forward to JESUS as the Only King that will be appointed that WILL not fail us.
SOOOO many nuggets to chew on about WHO our God is in this chapter!! If you bible has cross references and if you have time and feel the Lord leading… check them out.
Sharing HIS love,
Chapter 4 – Just to give you an idea of our history line so far
The Exodus from Egypt was around 1440 BC
Joshua took them into the Promise Land 1400 BC
Judges were Raised up 1375 BC
Samuel was born 1105 BC
Tomorrow Saul will become King in 1050 BC
The Next major Historical Event will be the Nation Dividing and that will be 930 BC.
But we have a lot to fit in those years between!
The people TRULY had forgotten the major thing God wanted them to remember. Yes, God gave HIS people laws to live by to HELP them live a life separate from all the nations that surrounded them. He wanted them to love HIM with all their hearts and follow HIM. Now… NOT EVEN ELI’s (the High Priest) sons who were serving as priests remembered that they were NOT supposed to remove the Ark of the Covenant from the Most Holy Place. They didn’t remember NO one was supposed to be able to look at it or touch it except the High Priest and he could only enter the Most Holy Place ONCE a YEAR!!
So WHAT do these two guys do?? Well… sure we lost the battle… so let’s just take it into the next battle with us… yep.. that will do it… take this HOLY thing out of its Holy Place (at which point it just becomes wood and gold to be worshiped as an idol) … and then we will win the battle!!! Soooo.. how did that work for them???
A prophecy statement made back in chapter 2 was fulfilled:
‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always.”
Can you imagine the NOISE that was made when the Ark of the LORD entered the Philistine camp??? Even the Philistines noticed it and were troubled.
Poor Eli, he is 98 years old, served the Lord all his life, only warned his sons about their behavior and did not intervene or discipline them. Now he hears about the ark and his sons….. he fell backward, off his chair, broke his neck and died. THEN his daughter in law goes into early labor because of her husband’s actions… Ichabod (means “no glory”)… there is a name you don’t hear everyday!!
Chapter 5 –Do you remember back at the end of Judges 16 when they talked about their god ‘Dagon’, at the death of Samson, and I mentioned this was a name we would see again? Well… here it is!! Dagon was the chief god for the Philistines. See, not believing in just one God is a HUGE deal because it takes the control and power back into OUR hands. We can make and choose a god if the one we are worshipping isn’t working to our benefit.
I know we are reading the Bible but this little scenario between the Philistines was like watching a Three Stooges Movie in my head!! “NOOOOO… we don’t want it … we’re all getting sick… send it to the next capital.” “NO ….YOU take it… NO…You take it!!” Scripture tells us that “the Lord’s hand was heavy on the people..” in whatever city the Ark was moved!! These Philistines realized that God was powerful and their god Dagon was NO match for THE ONE TRUE GOD!! When we are down how we look up to Him, but when life is going “smooth” God is so easy to forget!!
Chapter 6— The Philistines even consulted their priests and diviners as to what to do with the ARK. They determine the best thing to do is send it back to the Israelites. BUT HOW would they send it back, none of them wanted anything to do with it??? So they “tested” the strength of our God by harnessing up a new mommy cow. Any of you a mom? Nothing separates us from our new babies. Our instincts are strong. YET God “passed” their test by not allowing himself to be tested, BUT to SHOW He is God. Did you notice that the Philistines send back IDOLS with the Ark??… Five gold tumors and five gold rats!!! Where do the cows take the Ark….. to the field of Joshua!!! The Levites (they should have known the laws and rules about touching and or looking at the Ark.) God struck down 70 Israelites because they looked at the ARK… remember it was NEVER to leave the Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place) or be touched or looked upon by anyone but the Levite High Priest…ONCE a year!!!
Chapter 7–Samuel says something so important in this chapter and it touched my heart deeply.
“If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
Isn’t that what God really wants from EACH of US?????…. To return to HIM with all our hearts, rid ourselves of all our idols, commit ourselves to HIM, and serve ONLY HIM. This is why Jesus Christ came for us. We have Jesus… they didn’t but the message is still the same.
Chapter 8 – BIG BIG BIG CHAPTER!! Israel ASKS for a King… so they could be like all the nations around them. They still did not understand that God was their KING!! Oh no. It wasn’t the asking of for a king that was wrong. God even said back in Deuteronomy I will GIVE you a king, it was the REASON THEY WANTED IT was wrong. Samuel gives them a warning, from God, of what would come if they truly had a king at this time. THEY STILL WANT A KING!!!
God has told HIS people OVER AND OVER again… you shall have no other gods before me and you shall make NO COUNTERFEIT gods. God is a jealous God…. He wants ALL of us. ALL of our hearts. HE WANTS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH US… just as HE wanted with HIS people in the OT. My Pastor Dave did a marvelous sermon this weekend. One of his major points was that God wanted a relationship with the nation of Israel…..they were nobody…a bunch of servants YET..they TRUSTED the BLOOD OF AN INNOCENT LAMB, they covered their doorways with this INNOCENT BLOOD and they were saved in the first PASSOVER. THIS is the SAME thing HE has for us today… IF WE TRUST THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT LAMB THAT MADE THE FINAL SACRIFICE FOR US…. JESUS CHRIST…. Then we also are right with God. The wonderful thing with Jesus Christ is that he was the FINAL sacrifice so when we accept HIM … we have the promise of happiness in this life, the abundant life here, and eternal life with HIM.
So where is your faith… in the blood of the innocent lamb (GOD), or in counterfeit gods? Where do you turn when you are afraid? Where do you turn when your life is coming apart at the seams? Where do you turn for happiness (money, sex outside of the way God designed it, clothing, food, shopping, TV, music, drugs, alcohol, etc.)?? The things I have listed in and of themselves are not bad… it is how we use them, and what we turn to that can destroy us because we are not turning to God when we need comfort, saving, help, a deep loving relationship, etc. So again… I ask… what is your faith in? (Believe me… there is NO finger pointing here…. this is a question I have to ask myself daily and allow God to help me in the areas I am weak.)
What a great study today… to show us how very deeply God desires a close…forever relationship with us.
Sharing HIS love,
Chapter 1 – Thus far, Israel has been ruled by Judges for over 200 years. Eli and Samuel are the last of those judges. Samuel is born near the end of Eli’s life.
We begin with Elkanah and go through his lineage. His father, Jeroham was of the house of Kohath (one of the sons of Levi). Tohu was Elkanah’s great grandfather and was a Levite. This tells us that Samuel was born into the Tribe of Levi, placing him in line for a priesthood position.
Elkanah has two wives (rut row.) Although polygamy is in the bible many times, this was NEVER God’s perfect plan. (states that in marriage “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become ONE flesh.”) So WHY do we see polygamy so often in the bible among God’s people? There are many reasons such as producing more offspring to help in the man’s work and to assure the continuation of the man’s family line; numerous children were a sign “back in the day” of great wealth and status; in societies where many young men were killed in battle, polygamy became an accepted way of supporting women who otherwise would have remained unmarried and very likely destitute. Again, keep in mind it was never part of God’s perfect plan … and look at the destruction it always lead to in the few books we have read so far.
Speaking of destruction in a family… LOOK at the way Peninnah (means “jewel”) treated Hannah (means “grace”)!!! Peninnah had children and Hannah did not. Elkanah would take his family to Shiloh, the religious center of the nation (Josh 18:1) to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. During these times, he would give the portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and all her sons and daughters. BUT he gave a double portion to Hannah because he loved her and the Lord had closed her womb. OK… can you see why polygamy is not such a good idea???
Peninnah apparently was quite jealous in her knowledge that Elkanah loved Hannah. YEAR AFTER YEAR Hannah’s “rival” kept provoking her in order to IRRITATE HER!! OBVIOUSLY Elkanah did not understand because he asked Hannah “why are you crying?” YES, we all know men and women are wired differently because God designed us that way. It is obvious that Elkanah loved her and wanted Hannah to know it was fine with him if she didn’t have children because they had each other.
As sad as this next section is, it is also a scripture of GREAT HOPE, and shows the POWER OF PRAYER (intercession)!!
“In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a VOW saying, “O Lord almighty, if you will ONLY look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for ALL the days of his life, and no razor will EVER be used on his head.” PRAYER is a powerful gift we have from God, it is a form of serving God (Luke 2:36-38) and obeying Him. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us to be anxious for nothing, but in all things, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. My two favorite scriptures in regard to prayer are:
- Romans 8:26 – “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself INTERCEDES for us through wordless groans.”
- Hebrews 7:25 – Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because HE always lives to intercede for them.
My reason for sharing about prayer is because if God gave us specific Scripture to tell us that Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercede on our behalf …. HOW important is it that we PRAY for all things, for others, for ourselves?? In a word… VERY.
Hannah made a Nazirite Vow for her son from birth to be separate and set apart for God. Samson’s parents’ made a Nazirite vow for him from birth to be separate and set apart for God. (See Numbers 6 for information on the Nazirite vow.) And in the NT we will see that John the Baptist received the Nazirite vow from birth. Hannah dedicates Samuel to the Lord. Once he was weaned, about 3 years old, she took him to the Tabernacle, and left him in the care of the High Priest, Eli. I KNOW this was a great honor for her. However, I can only imagine that as a human mother, with a young son, it must have tugged on her heart strings. However, she KEPT her promise to God. She took him with a bull, flower, and wine for a sacrifice. She reminded Eli who she was and that she had made a Nazirite vow for Samuel before his birth. Her last verse tells us a lot about Hannah and Samuel. “So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the LORD there.
Chapter 2 — Hannah praises God with her prayer. This prayer is later mentioned in Luke 1:46-55 by Mary in her own praise song called the Magnificat.
I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always. (1 Samuel 2:35)
In this verse a priesthood is promised. Later in 2 Samuel, David is promised an eternal throne. Both of these look forward to the prophecy of the Messiah yet to come. Jesus becomes man’s eternal Priest, King (Judge), and Prophet.
Eli’s sons were “scoundrels; they had not regard for the Lord.” RUT ROW!!! NOT a good thing here!!! In Leviticus we learned that the priests were entitled to share in the offering. However, the Levites were STILL to tithe their best from all the tithes given from the 12 Tribes. Eli’s sons will get their share; however they are wicked men completely taking advantage of their “position”. They took the best part of the animal BEFORE it was offered to the Lord. “They were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” And… ummmm …did I forget to mention they also were sleeping with the other workers!
I so enjoyed reading about Hannah and Elkanah going to see Samuel each year during the sacrificial time. As a child, Samuel wore a linen Ephod and his mother made him a little robe and took it to him each year. Eli prayed over Hannah (the same woman he once thought was drunk because she was praying with her lips for a son but not speaking out loud) asking that God would give her more children for the one she gave to HIM. “And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.” HOW BEAUTIFUL WAS THAT!!
Eli heard about all his sons had been doing, rebuked them, and he tells them:
If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” (1 Sam 2:25)
Unfortunately, the sons could not have cared less. God tells Eli that his strength will be cut short and no one in his priestly house will reach old age. God tells him that Hophni and Phinehas will be a sign unto him and will die on the same day. He tells him:
But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.
God also tells him He would raise up a faithful priest who will do according to what is in MY heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house and they will minister before my anointed one always.
Chapter 3 – I LOVE the first verse: “The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.”
Remember how corrupt, disrespectful, rebellious, idolatrous, self-centered the entire nation of Israel had become? Look at the way Eli’s sons had acted (just like everyone else and not like priests). Therefore, in those days the word of the Lord was rare and there were not many visions. So when the Lord spoke to Samuel…not only does Samuel think Eli is calling for him, But it takes Eli, the HIGH PRIEST three times to recognize what was happening to Samuel!!! Verse 7 states: “Now Samuel did not yet now the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.”
Once Eli realized what was happening he taught Samuel what to do. I am sure what Samuel heard from the Lord was a bit surprising for him… about the judgment that would fall upon Eli’s family. We learn a little more about Eli … Eli’s sons BLASPHEMED God and Eli FAILED to restrain them. WHOAAAAAAA!!!
A reminder that NONE of us are perfect … EXCEPT the one God sent for us.. JESUS CHRIST so we could have eternal life with him.
And Samuel… he was open and honest with Eli as Eli asked. Then we end today with “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up. And he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through HIS word.
The LORD is revealing HIMSELF to HIS people once again… to SAMUEL!!
Sharing HIS love