Grab your Bibles and let’s go deeper into the testimony of Samuel.
God Chooses Samuel
In 1 Samuel 3:1-10, we read the testimony of the call of the Lord on Samuel’s life and the beginning of Samuel’s prophetic ministry. While the narrative is simple, the take away is profound. The Lord is calling to Samuel and yet Samuel doesn’t discern his voice thinking it is his elder, Eli. It says in 1 Samuel 3:7 “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” This is another reminder that it is the Lord who must reveal himself to us for in our sin we are not spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Therefore, we are desperate for God to awaken our dead heart and call us to himself. 1 Peter 1:3 “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
When we understand that it is God who saves and sends us, this is a solid rock under our feet. WHY? Because if it was our own doing, our own inclination to follow and obey God, what security or lasting hope do we have if it is simply up to me to unravel it at any time. No, instead, it is God who saves his elect and sets us on his path of righteousness and obedience for him. It is God who will endure us to the end and lose none of his chosen people. So, Samuel is called by God and commissioned to be a prophetic voice to the people.
Honest in Love With Those Above You
In 1 Samuel 3:11-18, Samuel is immediately faced with hearing God’s righteous judgment for an elder in his life.
Not only does he have to hear God’s judgment on someone he loves, but Samuel is the one God instructs to bring God’s word to Eli. How hard is it when God uses us to bring admonishment to someone who ranks above us in life- a parent or a boss or teacher or an older brother or sister?
In his interaction with Eli, Samuel didn’t hold back in speaking honestly. We need to love each other enough to speak honestly with each other and not hold back if that person needs to hear something, even if it’s hard to hear. We don’t help them grow or change or improve if we simply leave it alone.
In 1 Samuel 3:19-20 we read, “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.”
Samuel is now established in all of Israel as God’s mouth piece and his chosen prophet.
1 Samuel 7:3 “And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, ‘If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’”
Samuel makes it clear to the people that they are to honor God and worship him alone. Put away your false idols and worship and serve God only and he will lead you and deliver you. This is surely the command of God on us. We too must hear and act on these words.
Confession and Repentance
1 Samuel 7:4-6 “So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only. Then Samuel said, ‘Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.’ 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, ‘We have sinned against the Lord.’ And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.”
The people were obedient and did as they were told. They practiced confession and repentance.
This is what we are called to do in Christ when we see our sin or are called on our sin- confess and repent.
Let’s look at these closer…
(Confession) –from the root word meaning “to agree together with”.
God understands and knows all our sin but it is key that we fully confess and understand our sin before him. Confession sets the heart up for true repentance. Confession is simply acknowledging I have sinned…
“This was sin… you call it sin… I am calling it sin. I am saying out loud to you, God… I sinned!”
1 John 1:8-9 If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
Now there is much we know we have done in sin, but there is much we are not tuned into also.
One of the important things we must practice is being still and quiet before God. Why?
Because the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the sin that maybe we haven’t seen or acknowledged yet.
Psalm 19:12-13 12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13Keep me from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
Confession leads to repentance. So, what is repentance exactly?
It is commonly used in church circles, but do we really understand what it really is?
Repentance is: Taking up a new course in light of God’s will. It is turning from sin and turning to obedience and honoring God.
If confession is admittance! –to agree together with God who knows already what really happened-
repentance is new direction! It is surrendering your current wrong path to get on the right one.
We must practice regularly confession and repentance. It is not enough to say we sinned in confession. We must turn from that sin and practice righteousness. We must turn in repentance and take up a new course or practice that honors God.
Repentance is not something you do one time to be saved. Martin Luther said famously: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.”
In 1 Samuel 7:7-17, we read about God delivering the Israelites from the hand of the encroaching Philistines. He helped drive them back and brought the Israelites to great victory. Here, we also see that God endured Samuel to rule over and be a faithful judge of Israel all the days of his life (1 Samuel 7:15).
The Demand For a King
In 1 Samuel 8, Samuel has become old and he has made his sons judges over Israel. The problem is, his sons did not walk in his ways, but took bribes and perverted justice.
The Rejection of God as King and the Problem with a Human King
In I Samuel 8:7-18, we see the problem with the people’s desire for a human king and the consequences that will come if they choose to have a human king. When we read narratives like this, it is often too easy for us to declare that they were stupid to choose to deny God as King and long for a human ruler in his place. But is this not what we do often in our everyday lives? We must be oh so careful to not ever think that a human ruler is our hope or refuge. God alone is our King and we are members of his kingdom in Christ. In this we must carefully navigate the politics of the temporary land we find ourselves living in.
We must remember that we don’t live for politics. We don’t base our confidence about the future on who gets elected.
Pastor John Piper said this well when he said,
“Let those who vote or do politics do it as though they were not doing it [1 Cor 7:29-31] which means there’s a kind of engagement that is not all consuming. There is a kind of voting, a kind of doing politics a kind of advocacy which is not investing out whole selves in it because we are not here fully. We have a foot in heaven and a foot on the earth, we are citizens of two kingdoms, and this is not our main home. This world is passing away…”
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
We know this system is disappearing. We shouldn’t be so worked up about our opponent getting elected that it will undo our life. What we ought to be saying is: “I am God’s child. Jesus Christ is my KING. I will trust in and serve Him all the days of my life”.
Daniel 2:21 tells us that God is the one who ultimately removes kings and sets up kings. So we vote and engage in all that is before us trusting that God can and will use the upcoming season in the life of our country for his glory and our good no matter who gets elected president. May we avoid doing what the Israelites did which was to put their hope into human kings and instead be sure our priorities and thoughts and hope is for HIS kingdom first and foremost.
The Faithfulness of God Despite Our Rebellion and Sin.
In 1 Samuel 12:20-25, Samuel remained faithful until the end of his life. God used him in major ways despite the ups and downs of the people he led. We can learn a lot from Samuel in that the fact that he remained faithful to God and those he led despite how hard they made it. We must remember we serve the Lord at the end of the day. We must remember he is sovereign over all things. We are not led or swayed by our circumstances. We are led by the Lord of hosts.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC