Hall of Faith: Samuel, A Man of God

Samuel is the last person mentioned by name in the Hall of Faith {Hebrews 11}.

Hannah went to the temple to pray for a child

The meaning of the name Samuel is: Name of God; asked of God; heard by God.

Samuel has two books in the Old Testament named for him and was a great prophet, anointing the first two kings of Israel.

1 Samuel begins with the story of Hannah, Samuel’s mother, and her desire for a child. She longs for a child so much that she pours her heart out to God. Her son, Samuel, is born a short time later. “and she called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of Jehovah.” {1 Samuel 1:20}

Once Samuel was weaned she took him to the temple

Once Samuel was weaned, she left him in the care of Eli, the priest. “And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her…and the child was young… and brought the child to Eli. And she said, Oh, my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto Jehovah. For this child I prayed; and Jehovah hath given me my petition which I asked of him:therefore also I have granted him to Jehovah; as long as he liveth he is granted to Jehovah. And he worshiped Jehovah there.” {1 Samuel 1:24-28}

Samuel heard the voice of God at a young age

While still a child, Samuel heard a voice calling him. “And Jehovah called yet again, Samuel. “ {1 Samuel 3:6} At first, Samuel believed Eli was calling him and went to the priest. Each time Eli told him it wasn’t him and sent him back to bed. After the third time, Eli commanded “ Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Jehovah; for thy servant heareth.” {1 Samuel 3:9}. When the voice called again, Samuel said “Speak; for thy servant heareth.” {1 Samuel 3:10}

“And Samuel grew, and Jehovah was with him,

Eli told Samuel to listen to God’s voice

and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of Jehovah.” {1 Samuel 3:19-20}

The ark of the Covenant was taken from the Israelites and Eli died upon hearing of the death of his sons. {1 Samuel 4} Almost twenty years passed, before the ark of the Covenant was returned. Samuel led the Israelites in praising Jehovah and “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath Jehovah helped us. So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more within the border of Israel: and the hand of Jehovah was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.” {1 Samuel 7:12-13}

The people refused to listen to Samuel

“And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life… and he built there an altar unto Jehovah.” {1 Samuel 7:15,17}

Like his mentor, Levi, Samuel had sons who “And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted justice.” {1 Samuel 8:2}

The Israelites demanded a king, but Samuel tried to talk them out of it, by telling them how much they would regret it. Samuel explained that if they are faithful to God, kingship could be a blessing. But, if they turn from God it would be a curse. “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king whom ye shall have chosen you; and Jehovah will not answer you in that day.” {1 Samuel 8:18}

Samuel anointed Saul

The people refused to listen to Samuel. “ And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of Jehovah.” {1 Samuel 8:21}

The Lord send Saul to Samuel and told the prophet, “Behold, the man of whom I spake to thee! this same shall have authority over my people.” {1 Samuel 9:17}

Samuel anointed Saul as King of Israel. {1 Samuel 9-10}

Saul refused to listen to Samuel

“When Saul was preparing to fight the Philistines, Samuel denounced him for proceeding with the pre-battle sacrifice without waiting for the overdue Samuel to arrive. He prophesied that Saul’s rule would see no dynastic succession. During the campaign against the Amalekites, King Saul spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and the best of their livestock. Saul told Samuel that he spared the choicest of the Amalekites’ sheep and oxen, intending to sacrifice the livestock to the Lord. This was in violation of the Lord’s command, as pronounced by Samuel, to “… utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man

Samuel never saw Saul again

and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Samuel 15:3). Samuel confronted Saul for his disobedience and told him that God made him king, and God can unmake him king. Samuel then proceeded to execute Agag.” “And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee; for thou hast rejected the word of Jehovah, and Jehovah hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.” {1 Samuel 15:26} Saul never saw Samuel alive again after this.

Samuel anointed David

Samuel traveled to Bethlehem and there he anointed David as the next king. “ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” {1 Samuel 16:13}

When David was fleeing from King Saul, he turned to Samuel. “ Now David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.” {1 Samuel 19:18}

“And Samuel died; and all Israel gathered themselves together, and lamented him, and

Samuel grew old and rested with his fathers

buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.” {1 Samuel 25:1} Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. {1 Samuel 28:3}

Saul disguised himself and visited a medium, the Witch of Endor. He calls for Samuel to ask about the upcoming battle. “ And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” {1 Samuel 28:15}

Saul conjured up Samuel’s spirit

Samuel tells him, “Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing Jehovah is departed from thee, and is become thine adversary?…and Jehovah hath rent the kingdom out of thy hand, and given it to thy neighbor, even to David…Because thou obeyedst not the voice of Jehovah…Moreover Jehovah will deliver Israel also with thee into the hand of the Philistines; and to-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: Jehovah will deliver the host of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.” {1 Samuel 28:15-19}

Just as Samuel predicted, Saul and his sons fell in the battle the next day, and David was eventually crowned King of Israel.

So, what can we learn from Samuel?

1. Samuel’s mother dedicated him to Jehovah

2. Samuel learned at the feet of Eli and was mentored by him

3. Samuel listened to the voice of God

Samuel was a man of God

4. Samuel walked with God

5. Samuel was called by God

6. Samuel worshiped God

7. Samuel took his concerns to God

8. Samuel spoke the truth, even when difficult

9. Samuel was a refuge for David

10. Samuel brought the message of God even in death

11. Samuel sought God for guidance

12. Samuel spoke the words God gave him

Samuel was a man of God. He was dedicated to God even before he came into being, turned over to God as a child, called upon God while still a young man, and served God and the Israelites faithfully throughout his life and even unto his death.

Samuel spoke the truth and turned to God for guidance and direction.

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