1 Samuel

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1 Samuel



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Chapter 3: 10

3:10 "And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for that servant heareth."

This text first considers the boy Samuel as he is being raised in the temple by the Eli the priest. Samuel had been bought to the temple by his mother Hannah and given to the service of the Lord in keeping of a promise she made to the Lord. At the time of our text, most theologians agree that Samuel was about 12 years old. He worked with the aging Eli and assisted him in many of his priestly duties. He slept near Eli so that he could hear if his mentor called him in the night.

The text projects that on several occasions the young Samuel heard someone calling his name. The lad awoke and went to Eli repeatedly and said you called so "Here I am," only to find that Eli had not called.

The text points clearly to two areas of confusion about the voice of God.

There are some like Samuel, who hear God speak but they think it's Eli. Such was the case with Pharaoh as he listened to Moses, pronounce "Thus said the Lord God of Israel, let my people Go." Pharaoh heard the voice of God but dismissed it as the babblings of deranged wanderer who would have himself be the deliver of his people.

These are those who receive the word of God and his wise counsel from the lips of an uncle, an aunt, a sister, a wife or even a husband. How often it is that we dismiss sound spiritual instruction simply because it comes from a source we describe as Eli.

Samuel heard the voice of God speaking to him, but he never imagined that what he heard could have emanated from the mouth of God...he assumed that is was coming only from Eli.

Just as there are those who hear God speak and think it's Eli, there are also those who hear Eli speak and think it's God.

Although God uses the minister as a vehicle through which he declares the word and points the way, still every Christian is admonished in 1 John 4:1 to "try the spirit" and "believe not every spirit" but test what is said against the word of God.

The text points out that Samuel was not aware that the voice he heard came from God until he was shown how to let God talk with him.

Young Samuel was not ignorant of the things of God. He had been raised in the temple and was well versed on the ritual. The Torah and other sacred writings. He was acquainted with the synagogue, he knew the order of worship, and the special chants, but when God got ready to use him in his service, he had to be taught how to let God lead him.

The scripture says that Eli approached him and explained that the voices he heard were from God. Eli insisted that the next time God spoke that Samuel should be still rather than jumping up and receive instruction from God first and then move.

Young Samuel lay in his bed and the voice of God spoke, and he answered "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth."

How often it is that we jump quickly to accept a "call" to service without pausing to say, "speak Lord, show me the way."

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Chapter 14: 29

14:29:Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.

This text focuses on Prince Jonathan as he discovers the effects of a taste of Honey.

King Saul fought many invading armies during his reign as king. One of those armies was that of the Philistines. Once Saul pursued the Philistines relentlessly. He gave an order, which later proved to be unwise, that none of his men could eat anything. The soldiers were forbidden to even taste any food items. Those that broke his commandment would be put to death.

As Saul's armies pursued the Philistines they apparently ran them through groves of trees filled with honeycombs. It is believed that the Philistines tore open the honeycombs and nourished themselves leaving honey dripping from the trees. As Saul's men walked through the trees, exhausted and hungry, they were surrounded by honey and the quick energy it could provide. However they were unable to eat any because of the king's decree. It was a frustrating moment. Honey was dripping from the trees but they were unable to touch any of it.

Jonathan, the king's son, did not hear his father's decree. When he was surrounded by so much sweetness, Jonathan took the end of his staff, poked it in a honeycomb and tasted the honey. Though exhausted like the rest of his men, he was instantly nourished by just a taste of the honey. The small sampling on honey that he tasted gave an indication of the greater good that could be accomplished if all were allowed to participate in the virtual feast that was hanging from the trees.

Just a taste of honey enlightened his eyes!

Just a taste of honey refreshed him in that moment!

Just a taste of honey lifted his spirits!

Just a taste of honey gave him physical strength and hope!

When he was told about the king's order, Jonathan said it was not a wise order because the men were obviously hungry and fatigued. They would have fought even harder if given the chance to nourish themselves from the abundance of honey.

Jonathan revealed his deed to his father who was prepared to execute his son. He was only saved when the entire army protested taking the Prince's life after he had valiantly led them in battle.

They insisted that Jonathan should not be executed over a taste of honey.

The irony of the text is that Jonathan symbolically stood amidst the fulfillment of the promise but was prohibited from enjoying it. In Deuteronomy 27:3 and other instances Israel was promised that they would enter a land that would be flowing with presence of God. Opportunity for life and growth would flow freely. It would be a land of milk and honey. This text finds Jonathan literally surrounded by signs of God's promise fulfilled. Not only was he surrounded by honey that was actually flowing from the honeycombs, he was on the verge of the greatest military successes of the nation's career. They were surrounded by opportunity but forbidden to take advantage of it, or to even taste it.

The presence and Word of God is frequently compared to God in scripture. Psalm 119:103 presents the Word of God as sweeter than honey. It reads: "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Proverbs 24:13 compares honey to the knowledge and wisdom of God.

David in Psalm 34:8 invites all who do not know the power of God to sample the goodness of the Lord. He invites doubters and skeptics to "taste and see." He does so with a confidence that once having tasted of the blessings that flow from God all will decide to trust whole heartedly in the Lord.

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Chapter 16: 7

16:7 "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Our text verse considers young David as he was being selected by the Prophet Samuel to succeed Saul as King of Israel. Saul had been a great leader but God wanted a man after his own heart.

As Samuel reviewed the sons of Jesse he came to Eliab (v6) and thought to himself that surely this would be the son that God would select, but God told him that although Eliab was tall and towering in his presence that his heart was not right for the job that had to be done. David the Shepard boy was called. He was shorter than his brothers, and he was also good looking. Verse 12 notes that David was ruddy, with a beautiful countenance, and was good to look upon. But not only did he look good on the outside, but he also looked good on the inside.

There have been many good looking men and women in the bible, but not all of them were people who looked good on the inside as well. Jezebel \f2was a good looking "Black" queen that titillated King Ahab into bringing and her gods from her homeland to be his queen. She looked good on the outside but her heart was filled with evil. \f3 Delilah \f2was a beautiful woman who lips were lip the morning dew, hair like raven feathers, and eyes like dazzling gems, she was beautiful, but her beauty disguised a cunning, treacherous and dangerous personality that made her an instrument of death for any man who fell in her way. Absalom was the best looking man in all Israel and 2Samuel 14:25 says he was good looking from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet. But Absalom set himself against his father in vengeance as was killed when his long flowing hair was entangled in a tree. He looked good on the outside but his inner nature was despicable to God.

David however was good looking on the outside and the inside. God found him to be a man after his own heart.


This text also illustrates graphically, the idea that God judges beauty of character, rather than beauty of appearance.

Israel had a failed experience with King Saul, its first king. According to 1 Samuel 9:2, Saul was a good looking man on the outside. He was a "choice" man, suggesting that he was among the cream of the crop of the eligible men of his generation. Not only was he among the "choice" men, he was also a "handsome" good looking man. He was easy to look upon. Thirdly, he was a young man full of strength, energy and stamina. He was the best looking man in all of Israel. In terms of physical appearance, he was head and shoulders above the rest. The selection of Saul was not accidental. The people clamored for a king and rejected God's leadership through the religious leaders. They wanted a hero king that would lead them like other nations. God decided to give the people what they wanted. They were given a leader who had all the outward appearances of attractiveness and charisma that pleased the crowds. The people were happy. Soon however, they discovered that what Saul had on the outside did not match what he had on the inside. First they found that despite his manly physique, that he was a coward before the dreaded Goliath. As Goliath raged to fight just one Israelite and save the lives of others, Saul sent a young shepherd boy to fight, rather than go himself. Later, they found that he possessed a jealous spirit, a vengeful and violent personality and an uncontrollable anger. All of these combined to make Saul, despite his outward beauty, an ugly man in the sight of God, which resulted in his loss of the kingdom and fall from grace.

This text introduces the next king, David who was selected, not because of the strength of his physical appearance but because of his strength of Character. Samuel went to the home of Jesse and without announcing his purpose reviewed all of his sons. First to come before him was Eliab who appealed to Samuel because of stunning physical presence (1 Samuel 16:7). God warned Samuel not to concern himself with the outer looks, but to be guided by the character. Other sons came: Abinadab, Shammah and four others. One son did not come, because he did not have the look of a king. He was a shepherd boy who loved to play the harp, write psalms and sing. In the eyes of his family, he certainly couldn't rank as leadership tender. However, when Samuel saw him, bright eyed, with sun tanned rough skin (v12) the Lord said "arise, anoint him, for this is the one." While he was nice looking and healthy, David was selected to serve as king of Israel because of his character rather than his outward appearance. The beauty of his heart began to show itself soon. In the face of danger, he displayed courage and killed Goliath. When persecuted by Saul, he demonstrated a capacity to love his enemies. When he had fallen in sin, he demonstrated a repentant spirit. He was truly a beautiful person.

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