November 9, 2022
Thank you for your prayers for revival and for our prodigals. May God be your source of strength today as you join us in prayer.
The book of 1 Samuel records the transition of the nation of Israel from being ruled by judges to being governed by kings (Judges 2:16). The people wanted to be like the other nations, and God, in His sovereignty, allowed it to be so and through it worked out His purposes (1 Samuel 8:19-22).
Regardless of a nation’s political structure, what is essential is that Yahweh (the LORD), the true King, be honored. As the Lord rejects the sinful house of Eli (the high priest at the beginning of 1 Samuel), He makes a statement that encompasses the book and also holds true to this very day. He said, “For those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Samuel 2:30).
Lisa TerKeurst in talking about this subject said, “At the end of the day, honoring God leads to good things. Anything else leads to confusion, emotional exhaustion and a lack of good things.” How very true!
There are 4 prominent people in this book who reflect valuable principles in honoring God.
Firstly, Hannah was a woman who impacted a whole nation by honoring God in her prayer life.
She had no child, which was a reproachful thing in her ancient culture, but her burden went much deeper than her own personal need. The nation was in chaos and so she prayed for a son, and she vowed to return him to God for His purposes (1 Samuel 1:11).
If you read the first two chapters, you get a clear picture of what was happening. She prayed with deep anguish and wept bitterly (1 Samuel 1:10, 16). She persisted in prayer during her time at the house of the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:12). Her praying took hold of her in such a way that the priest thought she was drunk with wine (1 Samuel 1:14). When she got an answer from God, she arose and worshipped (1 Samuel 1:19).
The delightful words of Hannah’s worship can be found in 1 Samuel 2.
My heart rejoices in the LORD! The LORD has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God…For all the earth is the LORD’s, and he has set the world in order. He will protect his faithful ones, but the wicked will disappear in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone.
Secondly, Samuel was a prophet who first listened to God before he spoke for God.
He was the product of Hannah’s prayer, and he was given over by her to the Lord as a youth. When God first called him, he was a sleeping child. His response to God’s call characterized him all his life. “And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant hears’” (1 Samuel 3:10).
It is one thing to be a spokesperson, but if you are a messenger for God, you must first be prepared by God and receive the message from God.
Thirdly, Saul was the first king of Israel. His life started well, but ended horribly. He teaches us that leadership requires full surrender to Yahweh.
At the start of his call by God into the office of kingship, Saul was filled with God’s Spirit and changed into another man (1 Samuel 10:6). Sadly, this did not last long.
1 Samuel 13 shows that Saul was unwilling to wait for God’s time; instead, he moved on his own fleshly impulse. He offered a sacrifice, an action that was not his right to take, and thus disgraced the Word of the Lord.
Read 1 Samuel 15 and you learn that Saul directly disobeyed the Lord and saved the king of the Amalekites and some of the best sheep and cattle. It all looked good to him, but it was wrong. He was not a surrender-man and God rejected him as king over his people.
Lastly, David the shepherd, a man after God’s heart, fought Israel’s battles in the strength of the Lord and not his own. He was the very opposite of his predecessor, Saul. He continually made God the pursuit of his life.
When he faced the lion and the bear, he sought the help of God (1 Samuel 17:37). When he ran toward the ugly giant Goliath, he said, “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand” (1 Samuel 17:46-47, italics added).
When he was running from Saul in 1 Samuel 23, he called Abiathar the priest and inquired of the LORD. After David’s city of Ziklag was burned by the enemy, again he inquired of the LORD (1 Samuel 30:8).
It was a continual characteristic of David to look to the Lord, to lean on the Lord, and to implore the help of the Lord in the battles he fought. He recognized that he could not bring the enemy down on his own strength.
May God help each of us as we pray today and as we go through this week to take these principles and apply them to our lives.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel