Samuel Saw Saul
1 Samuel 3, 8:4-22, 10:1-11
When did you ever wake somebody up?
By request from Dani, we are going to be talking about King Saul and King David. But before we to Saul, we need to pick up the story of Samuel, one of God's prophets who plays an important role in the stories of Saul and David. What is the job of a prophet?
At this time, Israel is a mess. The current prophet, Eli, is ineffective. He seems to lack the respect of the people and his sons are corrupt. Eli either can't or won't bring them under control. Meanwhile the Israelites head into battle against the Philistines. They brought the Ark of the Covenant as the sign of God's presence, but they never bothered to check in with God before the battle. They lost both the battle and the Ark to the Philistines.
Samuel is born in the midst of this to a woman named Hannah who had not been able to conceive before. Having been blessed with a son, she dedicates him to God and brings him to Eli to raise. That could be a risky move because Eli isn't necessarily a good parent, but God does amazing things through flawed people all the time.
1 Samuel 3
Did you ever get the distinct feeling that you hear God or that God was trying to reach out to you? How do you think Samuel felt in hearing what God had to say? How do you think he felt having to tell Eli? Has anything ever made your ears tingles?
Samuel becomes the new prophet. He seems to be well-respected, but his sons are also not very righteous. While the people had been governing themselves through a system of judges with God as King, they decided they wanted an earthly king like other nations had.
1 Samuel 8:4-22
How do you suppose Samuel felt about this request? What were some of the warnings God had for them against having a king? Why do you think God agreed to let them have a king anyway? Have you ever had to learn something "the hard way?"
So, God brings Saul to Samuel. Samuel was out looking for his father's donkeys that had run off. The servant who had accompanied him suggested they ask the prophet if he knew where the donkeys were. Samuel said that they'd been found and invited Saul to stay for dinner.
1 Samuel 10:1-11
Has God ever used something that seemed like "chance circumstances" to being about something awesome in your life? Verse 9 says, “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart.” What sort of change do you think was necessary at that time? (Maybe that’s a good prayer for all of us…Lord, change my heart that I might see your workings.)
In verse 6, Saul is told, “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you…and you will be changed into a different person.” How does that verse make you feel? ---is it exciting? scary? mysterious? Have you ever experienced anything like that?
So now, Saul is king. Next week, we'll continue to talk about him and hear a little about Daivd, too.