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FOR AGES 3 YEARS TO 18 YEARS
The Bible is one of the most important books and is the religious text of different faiths.
Among the several figures that are mentioned in the Book of the Lord is Samuel. Samuel was among the last of the Prophets of Israel.
Samuel played a crucial part in the Hebrew Bible. He was an honest and impartial judge. He worked to turn Israel away from worshipping idols, and towards serving the true God. Samuel also ensured the transition of Israel from its system of judges to the beginnings of the monarchy. However, he failed to set a good example for his sons as they turned corrupt and began to accept bribes. Regardless of this, the integrity that Samuel displayed by not taking advantage of his authority was laudable. His loyalty stayed with the Lord.
Before we discuss the role Samuel plays, let us first examine who he was.
Samuel is mentioned in 1 Samuel 1-28, Psalm 99:6, Jeremiah 15:1, Acts 3:24 and 13:20, and Hebrews 11:32. Young Samuel was born to a woman named Hannah. Samuel's father and Hannah prayed to God for a child.
It is written in the Bible that 'the Lord remembered her,' and in turn, Hannah was given the gift of Samuel.
The name Samuel was given as it is means 'the Lord hears' or 'the name of God' in Hebrew.
During the weaning of the boy, his mother presented Samuel to God in Shiloh. This was done under the watch of the high priest, Eli.
During this part of his life, Samuel served at the tabernacle. He would minister to God with the high priest Eli.
Interestingly, Samuel was shown the fall of the House of Eli in visions. This was because of Eli's sons. They would sin and keep the portions of meat that were intended as sacrifices for themselves.
Their father Eli was made aware of their acts. While he did rebuke them, he did not take the required steps to stop them, and perhaps this was what led to the downfall of the House of Eli.
As Samuel grew under the tutelage of the priest Eli, he also grew in his wisdom and became a Prophet.
After a Philistine victory over the Israelites, Samuel became the last of the judges, following the death of Joshua, and rallied the nation against the Philistines at Mizpah.
Joshua was one of the spies sent by Moses. Moses sent these spies to scout the lands.
As Samuel grew older, he delegated the work of being a judge to his sons. The two sons, Joel and Abijah, grew corrupt in their roles as judges. And so the people of Israel wanted a king.
Samuel listened to the word of God and anointed the first king of Israel. Samuel anointed Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, who became King Saul. It is for this reason that Samuel is often referred to as the 'priest who was the kingmaker.'
During his farewell speech in his last days as a judge, Samuel instructed the people and told Saul to give up worshipping false idols and serve the true God. He also mentioned that if the people of Israel and King Saul did not obey, they would be swept away by the Lord. Saul did not listen, and disobeyed.
Saul made sacrifices himself, instead of waiting for the priests of the Lord to do so.
Additionally, Saul also disobeyed the Lord during the battle with the Amalekites, as he spared the enemy king, as well as sparing the best of their livestock. Samuel had ordered Saul to destroy everything.
Thus, the Lord instructed Samuel to seek another king to replace Saul, and the latter part of Samuel's life was spent in his search for another king. Interestingly, Saul had to chase the replacement in the hills, as there was a jealous feud that arose.
This was not the last time Samuel and Saul would meet. After Samuel's death, Saul visited a medium, the witch of En-dor.
While the witch did not bring Samuel back to life, she brought back his spirit. Samuel told Saul that he would lose the following battle, and meet his demise.
Samuel was important enough to be included in the Bible, but what was the reason for his importance?
The thing to note about Samuel is that he played many different roles in his service to the Lord, and these roles in their own ways made him deserving of his place of importance in the Bible.
He was a Prophet, known as the Prophet Samuel. In addition to being a Prophet, he was a seer as well as a judge.
The prominent reason for the importance of Samuel's life is his role in Israel's history. He worked as the leader of the Sons Of The Prophet. The Sons Of The Prophet were a group of young men. They were known for their ecstatic worship.
Samuel's Sons Of The Prophet provided Samuel with a base of power, both moral and physical.
Samuel's Sons Of The Prophet became conflicted between protecting Israelites from the dangers posed by the Philistines, and the growth of a new political system that was a step away from what was accepted as traditional.
Samuel's stance held firm with the Israelites on both sides of the argument.
It is now time to take a look at how exactly Samuel obeyed the word of God.
David listened to God. God had told him who would become the future king. The previous choice would be rejected and a new king had to be crowned as was willed by the Lord.
God made his choice for the new king and wanted Samuel to show the people who the king would be. As God instructed Samuel, he obeyed His orders exactly. He was told to find a man called Jesse.
One of Jesse's sons would be crowned the king. God would reveal who it would be when Samuel reached Bethlehem.
Once Samuel reached Bethlehem, he saw the sons of Jesse and pondered who among them could be worthy of being a king. The oldest was well-built and tall, and Samuel thought he had all the attributes kings should have.
However, God instructed him that kings were those who loved God. And so Samuel rejected every one of Jesse's sons until it was the turn of David.
The young shepherd David would be named the king, for he loved God more than his brothers. That is how Samuel followed and obeyed God.
Samuel was sleeping when God spoke to him for the first time.
Samuel heard a voice calling, and he mistook the voice of God for the voice of Eli. This happened three times, where Samuel mistook the voice of God for the voice of Eli.
When he finally realized it was not Eli who was speaking, but in fact God, Samuel proceeded to obey his instructions.
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