Samuel was born during the last few years when Israel was ruled by the judges and is the son of Hannah, a barren woman. He was a prophet and led Israel as a priest, military and political leader, being a great example of faithfulness and obedience to God. Therefore, I invite you to study and delve into the life of this great man.
His early years
Samuel is one of the few biblical characters that we can find reports about childhood. The prophet’s father was Elkanah, a godly man from the region of Ephraim and of Levitic lineage. His mother, already mentioned, was Hannah who for a long time remained sterile, which saddened her a lot.
On one occasion, Hannah went to the sanctuary of God and promised that if she had a son, she would dedicate it to the Lord. Then, the high priest Eli told her that God would fulfill her heart’s desire and Hannah became pregnant. Samuel was born in a troubled time for Israel, when the Israelites faced great oppression from the Philistines and the nation was in complete spiritual decline.
As promised, Samuel was taken to the sanctuary early, where he stayed in the care of Eli and according to the Bible, the Lord manifested himself to Samuel from a very young age. One night, when he was still a boy, God called him and at first, Samuel thought it was Eli’s voice, he heard the same voice three times, so Eli understood and warned that it was God wanting to talk to him (1 Samuel 3: 8-9).
With that, on the fourth time, Samuel responded and God told him that he would bring judgment on Eli’s family, because his children were evil. Some time later, the Philistines attacked Israel and Eli’s sons were killed in battle. Eli also ended up dying, because when he heard the news he fell off his chair and broke his neck (1 Samuel 4: 17-18). God destroyed Eli’s family due to his children’s infidelity and placed Samuel as a priest in the nation of Israel.
Samuel, the Judge of Israel
Samuel reappears in the biblical narrative as an adult, he summoned the people of Israel and led the army in a victorious battle against the Philistines. As a result, the cities of Ecrom and Gate, which had previously been conquered by enemies, were returned to Israel and the prophet was recognized as the nation’s judge, exercising his function for the rest of his life.
As a judge of Israel, he had to travel around the country annually to exercise his leadership over the people. Passing through Bethel first, then Gilgal and Mizpah. Then he returned to Ramah, where he was his home and where he built an altar to the Lord (1 Samuel 7: 15-16). Something highlighted in the Bible is the reprehensible conduct of Samuel’s children who did not follow their father’s example, then took bribes and manipulated judgments (1 Samuel 8: 3).
Choosing a King
In view of this, the people asked a king to lead the nation, so Samuel prayed to the Lord for advice and God replied that he should do as he was asked. Before looking for a ruler for the Israelites, the prophet warned them of the price they would pay for choosing a king outside God’s time.
Then Samuel received a message from the Lord that he would send a man from the tribe of Benjamin to meet him and that the prophet should pour oil on his head as a sign that he had been chosen to lead the nation. Leaving the city gate, Samuel found Saul, a brave, courageous and good-looking man with leadership gifts. With this, the prophet anointed him king and communicated this publicly in Mizpah.
Saul ruled Israel and led the people to victory over the Philistines and when he failed to submit to the Lord, Samuel was used to anoint David – the man after God’s own heart – as the nation’s new king, this being the last official act of Samuel recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
The first lesson in the story of the prophet Samuel, is that as it is written in 1 Corinthians 10:13, we must do everything for the honor and glory of God. In serving Eli and caring for the temple, he served the Lord even with simple tasks. Our Father is no respecter of people or work, but looks to the heart willing to serve with humility and joy. Samuel is a great example of submission to God!
Another point is that Samuel did not always understand the orders of the Most High, but he always obeyed them, it was absurd for the people to ask for a king and God to agree, but even so he followed the instructions and anointed Saul as king of Israel. Our submission must be complete to our Lord, because it makes no sense to go to church, sing praises or help those in need if our hearts are rebellious and unyielding. Remember that the Lord knows your heart.
God bless you!
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