Samuel: Stabilizer of the Kingdom-part 2
Praise the Lord, and a good morning to everyone, it is a beautiful morning that the Lord has given us, we should be glad in it, for the Psalmist said in Psa 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. On Monday’s blog I mentioned that our next post would be on Wednesday, I apologize for that not happening, it seems that time had passed by without me realizing it, so I am posting Wednesday’s blog today. we will pick up our study at A. “A New Nation” as was mentioned on Monday, so without further delay here is our study.
A. A New Nation
Through the twenty-five centuries from Adam to Moses, God’s relationship with humanity progressed from individuals, as in Adam and Noah; to families such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; to tribes, as were the sons of Jacob; and ultimately to the nation of Israel. He intended for Israel to become His voice of righteousness to all people. He desired for Israel to become a holy nation that would function as priests to the world (Exodus 19:6).
God’s covenant with Abraham was for both his descendants and for the land of Canaan. The time to become a nation had arrived, and the people of Israel were ready for their king. God had blessed them with favor in a land of milk and honey. It was time for them to become a nation and step into the fullness of God’s plan for Israel.
The people desired a king, God granted their request, and a young nation was born. It was to be a nation of promise, of blessing, and of purpose. Israel was to be in the world but not of the world. It was a new nation strategically placed at the crossroads of the world as a beacon of light for God’s message of love and holiness.
B. Entrenched Enemies
God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham when he left Ur of the Chaldeans. Everywhere his foot stepped was to be his. Hundreds of years later his descendants had possessed the land, but they had failed to drive out some of its inhabitants, who became entrenched enemies of Israel.
The Philistines were particularly troublesome. They had won a battle near Ebenezer killing thirty-four thousand Israelites and capturing the Ark of the Covenant. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were killed in the battle. When word came to Eli of the death of his sons and the captured Ark, he fell backwards from his seat, broke his neck, and died. That same day his daughter-in-law, wife of Phinehas, died in childbirth. Before her death, she named her son Ichabod, saying, “The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken” (I Samuel 4:22).
When the Ark was returned seven months later, it was not properly respected by the men of Bethshemesh. Consequently, the Lord smote them with a great slaughter, causing deep lamentation among the people (I Samuel 6:19). The Ark was then taken to Kirjathjearim where it remained for twenty years.
Preceding these events, Samuel was a young man in Shiloh ministering in the Lord’s house. Eli was old, his two evil sons were serving as priests, the word of the Lord was precious, and there was no vision. (See I Samuel 3:1.) The Lord revealed to Samuel the judgment He was to bring against Eli’s house, and Samuel told Eli the vision. The word of that vision spread throughout all Israel. As Samuel grew, his word was revered; all of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, knew he was established to be a prophet of the Lord. (See I Samuel 3:11–21.)
The new nation of Israel was destined to be born in the midst of trouble from her enemies without and from the lack of spiritual leadership within. But the Lord was preparing Samuel to become the prophet and judge during the transition. Samuel was destined to be a great leader because the word of the Lord was imparted to him and flowed from him to the people.
C. Israel in Transition
Transition is a continuing process of life. When Abraham left Ur of the Chaldeans, he embarked on a course of continual change and transition. “He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). His great grandchildren, the sons of Jacob, became the nucleus of the nation of Israel. Their heritage was that of continual transition.
A thousand years after Abraham, Samuel guided Israel through a difficult transition of becoming a nation. And a thousand years after Samuel, John the Baptist introduced another great change with the coming of the kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. Another transition awaits believers. New Jerusalem is the city of God where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. We must continue to look for it until our final change comes.
2. THE NEED FOR GOD’S VOICE
The voice of the Lord as the original expression of God is the source of all life. On the first day of creation, “God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). God spoke in like manner for each of the creative days. Adam identified God by His voice as He walked in the Garden (Genesis 3:10).
Obedience to God’s voice brought life, while disobedience brought death. All life naturally and spiritually is sustained by His voice. In the end, it will be the voice of the Lord that says, “Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23). To maintain fellowship with God, we must hear the voice of the Lord whether it is by the Spirit, the printed Word, visions and dreams, or preaching and teaching. (See Revelation 3:20–22.)
A. The Prophet’s Voice
When Samuel was yet a child, his mother presented him to the Lord in an act of worship. (See I Samuel 1:28.) He grew up in the house of the Lord where he ministered to the Lord and to Eli. (See I Samuel 2:11, 18; 3:1.) What he first learned of the Lord’s ways came from his mother, his association with Eli the priest, those who came to worship, and his service to the Lord. How important it is for children to find worship and meaningful association at an early age in the house of the Lord. These things greatly influence a profitable life of service in Christ Jesus.
When the Lord called Samuel for the first time, Samuel thought the voice was Eli’s voice. The Lord favored Samuel but had not yet spoken to him (I Samuel 3:7). The voice of the prophet speaks what the Lord would say unto us. In essence, Samuel’s voice became the voice of the Lord. Therein is the prophet’s authority. It is amazing how the voice of a true prophet rings true in the hearts and minds of people.
B. Ever-Present Enemies
Samuel lived during troublesome times. Corruption was prevalent. The Word of God was precious (rare) and there was no vision. The people had gone after strange gods, including Ashtaroth, the Canaanite goddess of love and fertility. And the Philistines reigned and ruled.
After twenty years, Israel began to lament before the Lord and He heard their cry. Samuel’s voice was heard once again as he called the Israelites to repent and turn back to God, which they did and put away their gods of Baalim and Ashtaroth to serve the Lord only (I Samuel 7:4).
When the Philistines heard that Israel was gathered together and fasting in Mispeh, they came down against them for battle. But the Lord had seen the repentance of Israel, accepted Samuel’s sacrifice, and honored his prayer by sending a great thunder to cause panic among the Philistines. The Philistines were defeated. When we hear the voice of the Lord and turn from our wicked ways, we will experience victory over our enemies. For “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
C. Abiding Peace
Samuel is a symbol of peace in a troubled world. Everything around him seemed to be in turmoil and struggle. Yet he possessed a steady, calm, stabilizing walk with the Lord. From his birth to his death, difficulties were present, but his actions expressed a confidence in God that depicted internal peace. After the “men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them,” Samuel placed a stone between Mizpeh and Shen and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” (I Samuel 7:11–12). When we hear the voice of the Lord and obey His commands, He can help us and give us peace even in the midst of turmoil.
3. PRESERVING GOD’S VOICE
It is vital that we diligently seek to preserve the ability to hear the voice of the Lord. For through His voice life first came into the world and is continually sustained. Outside of Christ there is neither abundant life nor life eternal, for He is the only mediator between God and man. His name is the only saving name, and His voice alone calls to salvation. His voice is also the one of final judgment before whom all will stand, both small and great. Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). To live acceptably before Christ, we must hear His voice and walk in His ways (Hebrews 12:28). Only then can we expect to hear Him say, “Well done.”
A. Samuel Facilitated Peace
After Samuel set up the Ebenezer stone declaring God’s help in the battle of Mizpeh, he continued to judge Israel for the rest of his life (I Samuel 7:12–15). The Philistines were subdued and came no more into the coast of Israel. As long as Samuel lived, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines. The peace in Israel and the freedom the people enjoyed from their archenemy was clearly connected to Samuel’s presence. His voice brought repentance to the people, his voice entreated the Lord to help them in battle, and his voice declared peace to Israel with the erection of the Ebenezer stone. When Israel made peace with the Lord, the Lord gave Israel peace from her enemies.
That will conclude the second installment of the three in this study, we will pick up our third and last installment of the study of “Samuel” part 3 at B. “Preservation is vital”, I will post that on Saturday, may you have a blessed rest of the week.