1 Samuel 3:15 – Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of Yahweh. Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.
The story of the Lord speaking to Samuel in the night is well-known. What is less well-known is what God told Samuel – that He was bringing judgment against his teacher and priest Eli, and Eli’s family for the way they had failed to deal carefully with the sacred things of the temple.
Imagine getting that as your first prophetic word – and then having to deliver it to the one who had been discipling and training you! We can understand why Samuel feared to show Eli the vision!!
Samuel went on to a national prophetic ministry, but it began with what was right in front of him. In the same way, when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, the first thing that Gideon had to do was to pull down the sinful altar of his father – something which he was so fearful of that he did it at night so he wouldn’t be seen!
There are many people who desire national and international ministries. But for these men, it began at home – with the ground right in front of them. They had to overcome the fear of man before God was able to release them into the fullness of their calling.
In the same way, if we spend our time worrying about what people might say if we speak up for the Lord – we will never move forward into the fullness of what He has for us.
“The fear of man is snare, but the righteous are as bold as a lion”
1 Samuel 30:10 – But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so faint that they couldn`t go over the brook Besor.
David and his men returned to their camp to discover that Amalakite raiders had taken all their wives, children, and possessions. This was a huge blow, and they cried and wept until they could cry no more. David then arose and took his men, and went after the raiders.
Finally they came to a brook, Besor, and four hundred men crossed over, but two hundred remained, so grief-stricken that they were unable to find the strength. But those who crossed over went on to success, and they recovered all that they had lost.
There is a hidden lesson in this verse. The brook’s name – Besor – means ‘cheerful’. In order to recapture what had been lost, the men had to overcome their grief and cross over the ‘cheerful’ brook.
It’s the same with us – our anguish and pain can prevent us from crossing that which will restore to us what we have lost. But let’s be people who are cheerful and hopeful in the darkest situations – and who believe that our God can restore to us all that we have lost!
1 Samuel 4:3 – When the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Why has Yahweh struck us today before the Philistines? Let us get the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of Shiloh to us, that it may come among us, and save us out of the hand of our enemies.
In the time of Eli’s high priesthood and the early ministry of Samuel, Israel was at war with the Philistines. As this verse shows, they had gone out to fight against Philistia and the Lord had struck them before their enemies.
Yet rather than seek the Lord as to why he had struck them, they decided to fetch the Ark of the Covenant and take it into battle with them. Eli, the high priest, should never have allowed the Ark to go out under such conditions. Not only this, but it was Eli’s two wicked priestly sons, Phinehas and Hophni, who accompanied the ark as it went into battle. Yet again Israel was struck, but this time the ark was taken by the Philistines and the priests were slaughtered.
There is a message for us in this story. The Lord made it clear to Israel that if they disobeyed his commands and walked away from His paths, then they would not be able to stand against their enemies. Israel tried to use the Ark of the Covenant as some kind of magic device that would win the battle for them, without them having to address or think about why the Lord struck them in the first place.
There is blessing in living a holy life before God. There are also consequences for Christians if we should stray from the path. Unrighteous living will produce fruit that we will have to deal with. The ark of God is comparable to the Spirit of God that lives inside each Christian. We may pray into our situations and ask God to move on our behalf, but if we persist in unrighteous living, our prayers will be to no avail.
Today, ask the Lord to show you if there is any wayward way within your heart. Ask for His forgiveness and resolve to do what is right. When we confess our sin to the Lord, he is faithful to forgive and cleanse us, and it is in that place that our prayers become powerful and effective.
In 1 Samuel 16, the Lord commands Samuel to go to Jesse to find a new king for Israel. Each one of Jesse’s sons pass before Samuel, but the Lord has not chosen any of them. The amazing thing with what happens here is the name given to each one of the sons, and the lessons we can learn in looking for those who be leaders over God’s people. The names can also be found in 1 Chronicles 2:13-15.
The first was Eliab – meaning God of his father. The Eliab’s are those who come from a history of serving God, and often from generations of those who serve God. They have been brought up well, and know the word of God and the ways of the church. It was of Eliab that Samuel said ‘Surely this is the Lord’s anointed’. Yet the Lord reminded Samuel that he was not looking at the outward appearance, but at the boys heart.
The second was Abinadab – meaning generosity of his father. The Abinadab’s are those who have given money, time, energy to the church, and also can come from generations of those who have given much to serve God. But the Lord did not place him in the kings position either.
The third was Shammah – meaning ‘astonishment’. The Shammah’s are those who have had their lives turned around in astonishing and astounding ways. They are living testimonies to the goodness of God.
The fourth was Nethanel – meaning ‘given of God’. These people are those who are in and of themselves pure gifts to the church.
The fifth was Raddai which means ‘domineering’. Raddai’s are bossy and brash, and aim for leadership positions so they can tell others what to do.
The sixth was Ozem – meaning ‘strong’. Ozem’s hold strength and give strength to others. But the Lord was not looking for human strength in his leader
The seventh, was David. The one who was chosen. David’s name means ‘love’. A leader may possess all the other qualities, but if he has not love, he is nothing.