By Jeff Arnette
The story of First Samuel begins with a godly woman named Hannah and her husband. Her story is one of disappointment, provocation, and an overwhelming desire for a son.
After much prayer and pleading with God, she gets her son and names him, Samuel. Believing that he is a blessing from God she is moved to give him to God and promises that he will serve the Lord. This is a turning point in the story of Israel and their relationship to God.
Israel has drifted from God to the point that the priesthood is corrupt. The church, as we would call it, has become like the people and leads the way in sin. God will use Samuel to lead the nation back to faith and correct the corruption of the priesthood. Don’t miss that the story of God working in His people begins with a woman who trusted God and desires something better. God often uses godly women who trust Him to make major changes and lead the way in bringing His people back to Him.
Once Samuel reaches the end of his life and work with Israel the leaders decide (again moving away from God’s will) that they need to be like everyone else. All the nations around them are powerful. Each one has a king who unites them which causes Israel’s leaders to desire to be like the nations around them. God has worked through Hannah and her son Samuel to bring the people back but now they again desire something other than God.
This leads the story to the first king named Saul. God had always led the nation but now a flawed human is appointed to lead them. In keeping with their desires for worldliness God allows them to appoint someone who will again lead them away from Him. Saul begins well enough, but the power soon goes to his head and he believes he is in charge. The story of Saul, Israel’s first king, is a story about the dangers of wanting to be like the world. Each successive story reminds us that taking our eyes off God will lead toward failure and sin.
Eventually, God appoints a king to replace Saul. God allows Samuel to live long enough to anoint a young man named David. While David is meant to be God’s man and lead the nation back to God; he was still flawed. He allows his desire for a woman, Bathsheba, to drive him to adultery, murder, and worst of all, away from God. David was a great king and a godly man who found himself caught up in sin and deceit. The dangers of sin and the desires to have (no matter what that desire is focused on) will always give birth to serious consequences in this life. David loses his kingdom, his family, and the first child born between him and Bathsheba.
God in his grace, sends Nathan the prophet to restore David. Once restored David regains the city of Jerusalem and builds the nation into a world power. God allows our choices and desires for sin but we have to live with the consequences.
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com