1 Samuel (1 Sam)

The ninth OT book, having 31 Chapters. Written about 1000 BC, the author of this historical book was probably the prophet Samuel though others contributed. Time to read 2 hrs 30 mins.

Key people include: Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, David.

Outline. The people wanted to be like other nations with a king to govern them and this book records Israel’s transition from being led by God (theocracy) to human rule (monarchy). At this time the influence of the priesthood declined and God raised up prophets as his spokesmen. He still wanted each individual to have a genuine heart and life commitment to Him – as He does even today.

Eli the priest raised the boy Samuel. He had been born to Hannah (an infertile woman) who promised to give him to God’s service out of gratitude for his birth. Under God’s direction Samuel anointed Israel’s first king – Saul – who started well but disobeyed and was rejected by God (1 Sam 15:23,26). Samuel then anointed David, “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam 15:28; Act 13:22). David, acknowledging the source of his ability – “I come in the name of the Lord” – defeated Goliath (1 Sam 17:45). Saul actively sought to kill David and even though there were opportunities given for David to bring about God’s promise quickly he never forced the situation but waited patiently for God’s timing (1 Sam 24:6,10, 26:11). Later, Saul’s son Jonathan and David developed a close relationship (1 Sam 18:1, 20:17).

Main lesson. Initial and complete obedience is better than repentance after sinning (1 Sam 15:22). Thinking before acting would save us all a lot of heartache!

Key verses and thoughts: * “The Lord looks at the heart not the outward appearance” (1 Sam 16:7). We also should not be impressed by physical exteriors, but rather the inner, character qualities. While we should maintain our bodies the emphasis should be on developing His nature in our lives (1 Tim 4:8; 1 Pet 3:3,4).

* Saul became jealous when the people compared him unfavourably to David; he could not accept that David was more popular than he was and it became a compelling power in his life to kill David (1 Sam 18:7-30). Emotions are powerful motivators that need to be kept in control and processed in an acceptable manner so they don’t ruin our life, and maybe others too. Are my emotions causing me to act irrationally?

* David did not retaliate or try to speed up God’s purposes, but kept his heart right while waiting for God’s correct time (1 Sam 24:10-12, 26:8-11). In contrast Abraham tried to assist in bringing about God’s promises but this resulted in a problem with the consequences still in effect today, as evidenced in the Jew and Arab conflict (Gal 4:29). Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Am I allowing it and other good qualities to develop in my life by co-operating with God to outwork His plans for me according to His timing?

See also: anointed, character, David, Eli, emotions, Hannah, Jonathan, Samuel, 2 Samuel, Saul, time/timing.