Introduction: 1-2 Samuel

We are starting a new study today on 1-2 Samuel.

This is basically the story of how Israel moves to having a King...


If you download the PDF file you can have this graphic. 1 Samuel is all about the reign of King Saul.

This is a simple outline:
1 Samuel
ch 1-7 - the story of Samuel
ch 8-15 - the story of Saul
ch 16-31 - God raises up David

We will see the downfall of Saul - this will lead to Israel's greatest king > David in the book of 2 Samuel.

I want to introduce you to
Get on your phone right now and pull it up.

This is a great resource and I strongly urge you take the next few weeks to start watching the video for each book of the Bible.

You can watch a 4-6 minute video on every single book in the Bible.

Each video is an overview of what happens in the book...THIS is a really good resource.

Most of you have not read the Bible as much as you would like...this website can help you gain an overview quickly - that will help you understand while you read.

I would suggest that you watch the video on 1 Samuel 2-3 times this week - it's less than 8 minutes.

So, let's get started.

A famous verse is used in the book of Judges to illustrate the problems of the period just before 1 Samuel:

"In those days there was no king in Israel,
and every man did what was right is in own eyes."

Basically, Israel was like the Wild, Wild West.

It kind of reminds me of where we are now in the USA - only it could get a lot worse.

God had given the Law to Israel...this was supposed to guide them into doing what was good and right.

But there was no "police" force.

Around 200-300 years later...after the times of the judges, Solomon wrote:

When judgment for crime is not carried out quickly, the hearts of others are encouraged to be wicked.
Ecclesiastes 8:11

And so we come to 1 Samuel.

The book opens with the story of Hannah.

Hannah was married to her husband, but he had two wives.

The other wife had borne children to Elkanah...the husband,
While Hannah had not been able to get pregnant.

The first thing I want to say is that the world of the Old Testament was quite different from our world.

It is difficult for us to understand.

It appears that God allowed things that are now clearly forbidden:

- he allowed men to have multiple wives...

- it appears that telling a lie was not that serious...

Abraham lied twice that we know of...
Jacob lied to get his brother's inheritance...

Men treated their daughters a bit like property and would give them away to earn favor.

So here we have a man with two wives. Hannah has not had any children and she feels less loved by her husband.

Elkanah's other wife would mistreat Hannah - they competed for their husband's affection.

This is NOT the first time in the OT that we see this situation.
This is what happened to Sarah,
Abraham's wife.

Can I just tell you:
THIS alone is a good reason for not having more than one wife.

God made Adam and Eve.
He made man and humans would populate the earth.
He did not make Adam and then give him two women.

I have said many times that I am not sold on the idea that Solomon was the wisest man on earth.

He had 700 wives and 300 concubines...basically call girls.

I cannot see great wisdom in that.
Indeed, it led to his downfall.

Well, Hannah goes to the Tabernacle in Shiloh where the priest Eli serves.

During the times of the Judges the Tabernacle was left standing all the time in Shiloh - in central Israel on a main path...easier access for everyone.

Hannah prays for a son.
God gives her a baby boy.
She names him "Samuel" which means,
"God heard."

After the little boy has been weaned, probably at the age of 5 or 6...

...yes, in the ancient world a woman would breast feed for much longer than we do.

Once little Samuel was weaned...
Hannah took her only son to the Tabernacle and left him with Eli, the priest.

She had promised God that IF He gave her a boy....she would dedicate him to God.

This is just another thing NONE of us would do...OR approve of.

Most of us would do other things to dedicate ourselves to God.

It seems to go against the nature God put in us to give your child away.

But, again...
The ancient world was quite different from our world.

I need to move on.

In 2:11 the story of Hannah giving her son to God ends with her husband taking little Samuel to the Tabernacle:

11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.

Then, the next verse:
12 The sons of Eli were scoundrels, they had no regard for the Lord.

17 The sin of the young men was very great in the Lord's sight, for they treated the offerings to the Lord with contempt.

Basically, they acted like they deserved to be compensated for their service as priests.

They would not allow the Israelites to GIVE to them - they would just TAKE what they wanted.

This should stand as a warning to ALL those who serve Christ in ministry...

There is a famous Jesus saying that speaks to this:
When you have done all these things you should say,
"We are unworthy servants. We have only done our duty." Lk 17:10

Little Samuel was serving Eli in this environment.

Eli tried to discipline his sons (they were grown men)...
But they would not listen.

There is no mention of them having sons and it appears like Eli treated Samuel like his own grandson.

God sends an unnamed prophet to Eli.

The message he gets is not good. God is going to judge his family...and him for not being stronger with his sons.

God says to Eli,
"both of your sons will die on the same day.

But I will raise up a faithful priest who will do my will."

In Chapter 3 we have the precious story of God calling Samuel, the boy.

Samuel is lying on his bed going to sleep...and the Lord calls Samuel...
Little Samuel jumps up and runs to Eli, thinking Eli had called for him.

Eli says,
"I did not call you, my son. Go back and lie down...just go to sleep."

This happens three times.
Then Eli realizes that it is the Lord calling to Samuel.

"Go and lie down, and if he calls you again, say:
'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening'."

This does happen again and little Samuel has God speaking to him.

The Lord says to Samuel what the prophet had said - God was going to judge the house of Eli.

The next day Eli pushed Samuel to tell him what God had said...

To his credit, he accepted the word of the Lord and said:

"He is the Lord. Let Him do what is good in His own eyes."

Chapter 3 ends:
19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up,
and he would not allow any of Samuel's words to fall to the ground.

20 All of Israel recognized that Samuel was a prophet of the Lord.

21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there He revealed Himself to Samuel.

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Here are some thoughts about this passage:

1. The wonder of hearing God speak
I have said this before:
If you want God to speak to you...
If you are willing to do whatever He asks

THEN...ask Him to speak to you,
AND try to Listen more.

- the wonder of God moving on little children

Most of us would be thrilled to have a son or daughter who wants to be involved in God's work.

- story of a really good friend of mine sharing with the man on the bus when he was 10 yrs old.

When he was 10 his parents put him on a GreyHound bus to go from Opp to Jackson MS I think to visit with his grandmother.

When he sat down he noticed a black man sitting around 3-4 rows in front of him.

He felt God move in his heart that he needed to tell this man that God loved him.

A 10 yr old boy feeling like God was stirring his heart.

He prayed,
"God, You know that I cannot get up and walk up to that man while the bus is moving.

You are going to have to work it out so I can speak with him.

When they got to Montgomery the driver announced that they were stopping for 10-12 minutes, but he called out two names asking them to come see him when they got off for the break.

My friend's name was called and one other.

When my friend got off the bus he told the driver who he was...
The bus driver said that they had a bus going straight to Jackson, so he need to go immediately to another bus - it was set to leave very soon.

My friend felt disappointed as he walked over to the new bus. When he got on the driver greeted him and, to his amazement, there were only two passengers:
my friend...and the black man.

My friend sat next to the man and started asking him questions about where he was going.

Eventually my friend told the man that God had asked him to tell the man that He loved him.

The man immediately began to sob.
He then told my friend that he had just left his wife and two small children to go be another woman in Jackson.

My friend prayed with this grown man, led him to call out to God.

At the next station the man thanked my friend and said that he was going to buy a ticket back home to Opp - he was going back to his wife and children.

- grandparents: your grandchildren are one of your biggest ministry opportunities in life.

We do not know what God will do through our little ones.

Like Samuel, if God gets a hold of their hearts while they are young...
They can do great things for His kingdom later in life.

My friend has been a pastor now for close to 45 years.

There is something special about grandchildren.

Those of you who have grandchildren, take every opportunity to share with your grandchildren about faith.

Children will usually listen to a grandparent quicker than they will their parents.

God help us all to listen for the voice of the Spirit.

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Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079