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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Samuel, the Faithful Prophet

Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days ... And ... the LORD called Samuel. ...

Then the LORD said to Samuel: "Behold, ... I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken ...

So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel ... knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD. (1 Samuel 3:1-2,11-12,19-20, NKJV)

Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, "If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines." So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.

So they ... fasted that day, and said there,"We have sinned against the LORD."...

So the children of Israel said to Samuel, "Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines."

... Then Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him.

So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.

And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. (1 Samuel 7:3,4,6,8,9,13,15, NKJV)

... when Samuel was old ... he made his sons judges over Israel.... But his sons did not walk in his ways ...

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, "... Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations."

But the thing displeased Samuel ... And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Sam 8:1,3-7, NKJV)

Samuel (literally "Heard by God"), an Ephraimite (a descendant of Joseph), the son of Elkanah and Hannah, was miraculously conceived as the result of prayer (1 Samuel 1:1-20), and given to the Lord as a gift: he became the Israelite slave of Eli, the High Priest (1 Samuel 1:21-2:11). Since Samuel was neither a Levite nor a priest, he was forbidden from touching any of the holy things within the tabernacle, the tabernacle itself, the altar in front of the tabernacle, and even the curtains of the courtyard around the tabernacle. He was basically relegated to performing such menial tasks as carrying water, getting wood for the fire, tanning hides, and taking out the garbage, and yet, he performed his duties as unto the Lord.

Because of his faithfulness, the Lord called Samuel and gave him a prophetic word against Eli, his master. He reluctantly related the words of the Lord to the Eli, and as a result of Samuel's faithfulness, the Lord established him as a prophet in the eyes of all Israel. Years later, Samuel was able to use his reputation to inspire a revival, and restore Israel's relationship with the Lord. In approval, the Lord subdued the Philistines at Samuel's request and prevented them from warring against Israel all the days of his life.

When Samuel was old, he tried to establish his sons as judges over Israel, but the elders rejected them and demanded a king. Even though Samuel justifiably felt rejected, and even warned Israel about the consequences of their request, Saul the son of Kish was made king over Israel (1 Samuel 10:17-25).

So what lessons can we learn from Samuel? First, the Lord is no respecter of rank: He considers the High Priest and the slave alike. Second, the Lord highly regards the faithful and enthusiastic execution of one's personal ministry, no matter how menial the tasks may seem in the eyes of the world. Third, faithfulness leads to greater levels of anointing. Forth, the Lord will never abandon us, even though we may be rejected by the very people who benefit most from our ministry.

Copyright (c) 2008 Jon Straumfjord

Jon Straumfjord is the author of numerous articles about the Seven Spirits of God and the God of the Bible. He is also the creator of the website www.7-spirits.com , and is the author of the book "The Seven Spirits of God."

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