WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT? Samuel’s place in redemptive history is often overlooked; he is both a transformative and transitional figure. His life and ministry serve as a high point in the history of Israel. Under his leadership, a revival of true worship is ignited (7:3-6), and Israel was freed from Philistine oppression (7:12-14). Samuel was Israel’s last judge, served as a prophet, led worship as a priest, and was present at the coronation of Saul and the anointing of David. Thus, it would be fair to view him as one of the most influential people in the Old Testament.
Samuel’s life is a reminder that the LORD is always preparing the next generation of godly leaders. His life was marked by a commitment to the LORD and an ability to do what others since the days of Joshua had failed to do: unite Israel.
SO WHAT? The LORD was long-suffering and merciful to preserve Israel throughout the era of the judges. His plan to set apart a people through whom the Messiah would come would not fail; Samuel was an important part of this plan. His life and ministry are reminders that the LORD will revive and unite His people through unlikely people. These people remind us that the LORD always has a remnant that desire to see him honored and glorified.
1. The faithful remnant.
2. The chosen servant.
3. The revival of true worship.
4. The enemy defeated.
5. The desire for a king.
6. The coming righteous King.
Now what? At the end of Samuel’s ministry as a judge, Israel demanded a king, in part, because of the failure of his sons. The people were warned that a temporal king will not solve their problems. Only if they recognized and honored the LORD as king would they find lasting peace. Likewise, we must reject the temptation to place our hope in a finite leader. Instead, we have been called to live under the reign of the righteous king, Jesus Christ. Our mission, therefore, is to herald the good news of our King and work to see His kingdom expanded throughout the world.
Study Questions (1 Samuel 1:1-4:22; 7:3-8:22)
1. What is the significance of Hannah’s pledge to the LORD (1:11)?
2. Was Samuel a Levite (Joshua 21:5; 1 Samuel 1:1, 2:11; 1 Chronicles 6:66)?
3. What three offices did Samuel hold, either officially or unofficially?
4. What is the significance of Samuel’s failure as a father (8:3)?
5. Why was Samuel opposed to a monarchy (8:10-18)?
6. What is the significance of the LORD’s statement that the people had not rejected Samuel, but had rejected Him (8:7)?
Samuel: The Judge and Prophet Who United Israel (1 Samuel 1:1-4:22; 7:3-8:22)
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:1-10).