Transition and Change
Pr Edi Giudetti
Transition and Change are the best words that can be used to describe the 1st Book of Samuel. A change of barrenness, A change of Priest, a Change of government and a change of King.
The Petition of a Wife
Hannah, who was one of the two wives of Elkanah, who suffered greatly at the hands of her husbands polygamy, desired to have a child, even a son.
For every year she was persecuted by the other wife of her husband who had given him sons, persecuted because the Lord had closed up her womb and she could not bare children.
And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: 5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. 6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. (1 Sam 1:4-6)
Peninnah had a number of Children to Elkanah, for he gave portions to to all her sons and her daughters. Then we are told that unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah. Immediately our minds might be turned to Rachel the wife of Jacob, how similarly this sorry story of polygamy played out in her life, he own sister also counted as her adversary.
Rachel’s envy of Leah rising further and further as she turned Jacob to multiply the conflicts by having her maid also given to him, to somehow remove Rachel’s reproach. Even the naming of their children gave evidence of the contest between the wives.
And to poor Hannah this occurred year by year;
And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. 8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? (1 Sam 1:7-8)
Elkanah here hoping that Hannah would be satisfied that the singular love her husband had for her would stay her grief. But Hannah desired a child, this no man can replicate.
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head. (1 Sam 1: 9-11)
How great is the burden of Hannah to vow a vow out of earshot of her husband. These things she prayed in her heart. We see in the next few verses that her mouth framed the words that she spoke in her heart. Only to the priest Eli did she break that silence.
But her vow was to bring him up to dedicate him to the Lord. In fact, she made what is known as a Nazarite vow in how she will bring him up, there shall no Razor will come upon his head. (See Numbers 6).
Consider now the burden of Hannah, so great to be willing to give her son, her only son, to the Lords work in the temple, even as a child. We may think it a loss, but not she, not at all. Eli blessed her and she went on her way no more sad, confident that the Lord will grant her petition. And he did, and so therefore she named him Samuel (Asked of God).
It was not until after the child was weaned that she came up and “lent him to the Lord”. But in place of tears, she exalted the Lord in one of the most wonderful praises we will find in scripture.
Read with me these ten beautiful verses (1 Sam 2:1-11);
And Hannah prayed, and said,
My heart rejoiceth in the Lord,
Mine horn is exalted in the Lord:
My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;
Because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the Lord:
For there is none beside thee:
Neither is there any rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly;
Let not arrogancy come out of your mouth:
For the Lord is a God of knowledge,
And by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken,
And they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread;
And they that were hungry ceased:
So that the barren hath born seven;
And she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive:
He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich:
He bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust,
And lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill,
To set them among princes,
And to make them inherit the throne of glory:
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And he hath set the world upon them.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints,
And the wicked shall be silent in darkness;
For by strength shall no man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
Out of heaven shall he thunder upon them:
The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth;
And he shall give strength unto his king,
And exalt the horn of his anointed.
These words could be set as a plaque of TRUTH, and this we find is a fair introduction to the Book of Samuel. God is sovereign over all. And though we might be burdened for our lot in life, know and trust that God is in full control and will work all things according to his own plan.
This sets the tone for the rest of the book, for what cannot be missed in this book is that even though we see man undertake bad decisions, yet Gods plan is sorting itself out perfectly.
The Provision of a Priest
- 1 Sam 2:35
Eli was the priest set over the people to judge them. The people were to bring their sacrifices to the Lord through the temple, and Eli set his sons in the charge of the work.
But his sons did not know God, they were in fact sons of the devil and did not desire to fulfill the work nor the will of God and they thought nothing of “kicking at the sacrifices of the Lord” to the point where the people themselves disdained to bring to God that which they thought was for God.
Did Eli know these things? Did he know that his sons not only took raw meat from the people to make themselves fat, but even took of the women who gathered at the door to lay with them?
Yes he did know. What did he do about it?
Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. 24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. 25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them. (1 Sam 2:22-25)
Did Eli remove them from the office? No.
Did Eli judge them according to the Law of God for their fornication? No
Did Eli set them before the people as blasphemers of God? No
Did Eli judge them for their rebellion against him? NO
Did Eli honor God in the office he was entrusted with? No
Yet, while all this was going on, v 26 tells us that;
And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.
The favor of God was upon Samuel, but the wrath of God’s was to come upon Eli.
And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? 29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? 30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. 32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. 33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. 35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever. (1 Sam 2:27-35)
God will provide for himself a faithful priest! God’s purpose will always stand even though things a bleak for a time. Nothing can go on outside of Gods will and purpose. Notice here that God will not speak directly to those who dishonor him. But he will speak through those who do. We see this here against Eli, the priest of God, we will see it again when God speaks directly to Samuel, even against Eli’s house, and we see it again against Saul when he also turns from the Lord.
The Lord will not hear the prayers of sinful, unrepentant men, this remains true today. Therefore brethren, In all things we are to judge ourselves, discern our responsibilities and turn back to him. HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR ALL OUR NEEDS!! HE WILL FORGIVE, a broken spirit and a contrite heart God will not despise.
Samuel beheld what the sons of Eli did, his mother came to him year by year, she made coats for him as he grew. The Lord had given her other children for the sake of Samuel who was faithfully lent by her to the Lord.
And then God spoke directly to Samuel when he laid himself down. In the first verse of Chapter 3 it tells us that;
And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
In our passage here, “the word of the Lord was precious”, it was rare. The word “Vision” refers to Gods words, it always does in the Old testament, IT NEVER REFERS TO MANS DREAMS OR DESIRES…NEVER!
No longer speaking to Eli, God now speaks to the Ministering Samuel, the faithful Priest he has provided for himself.
Repent of sin if your desire is to know the Lord and him to speak to you through his word. Be the one God provides for his work.
God gave Eli many years of opportunity to repent, he was ninety-eight years old when he died. God extends mercy and most emphatically grace, for his desire is that all people would come to the knowledge of Christ….and you are all PRIESTS OF GOD THAT HE HAS PROVIDED FOR HIMSELF!
The Protest of a People.
8 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beer-sheba. 3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. (1 Sam 8:1-5)
In as much as we exalt Samuel as the prophet and the priest of God to the people of Israel, the people did not take long to recognize that there were none ordained of God to lead the people after Samuel.
We recall that the only example of fatherhood that Samuel came to know was that example of Eli the priest that preceded him. We should then not be too surprised that this also had a negative effect upon the upbringing of his own sons.
They protested to Samuel, a king was there desire, not a prophet, not a priest, not a judge of God and not God, but a man like them, to judge them like all the nations. More can be said of our prevailing nature to be like others in the world, even though our God is nothing like the world. It is truly reflected here by Israel.
1 Sam 8:7.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
So Samuel protested to the people with regard to the nature of the King that shall reign over them, and there are no positives in the record, in fact only negatives. The phrase “he shall take” is the most common phrase in the protestation of Samuel to the people.
1 Sam 8:19
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
Something happens in the minds of wicked desires, no matter how clearly we are told of the negative end of a matter we will not hear it, and we will not hear it because we have set our desire on the mischief we have imagined will turn to our good….even though all the evidence is to the contrary. How often have you acted against the advice of those who’s warnings are both logical and clear?
At the expense of our long term pain we are comforted by short term gain.
Nothing is clearer than the response to the Gospel by most people of the world.
They know they do wrong and sin.
They know there is a judgement pending.
They know the nature of the judge who will judge right.
And they are warned of the eternal consequences of their sin.
Yet even when they are told of the Gospel, when they are told that all their sin may be washed by the blood of the lamb who gave himself to be judged in their place, YET they will not hear.
Nay but we will have our sin to rule over us, that we may be like all the nations, that we may be judged and condemned for the sake of the sin that we will enjoy but for a season. We will suffer our bodies and our souls to the eternal fires of hell for the temporary fulfillment of our desires.
This is the reality of man today, this is their blindness. Like lemmings they follow one another even to death. The people rejected God and desired a replacement to go in and to go out, to fight their battles, to fulfill their wants. They were given Saul. A man who was like them, obeyed for a short while and turned.
The final turn for King Saul occurred when he was commanded to destroy the Amelekites, every one of them. But Saul did not do so, he kept the best of the animals for a spoil and the king for a trophy. Let’s take our text from 1 Samuel 15:17-23 and we will gain a wonderful summary of the rise and the fall of Saul, the first king of Israel.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? 18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. 19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? 20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. 22 And Samuel said,
Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord,
He hath also rejected thee from being king.
The conclusion of the chapter sees Samuel morning for Saul, the man who should have been King but became a fool.
The Preparation of a King.
The next sixteen chapters tells us of a youth who became a man, who became King. His introduction is as the youngest of all his brothers; yet a teenager caring for his fathers sheep when he was called by his family to meet with the Prophet of God, Samuel.
1 Sam 16:12-13
Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
This young ruddy youth would become;
- A giant slayer. The one who killed Goliath with the stone.
- He would become the worrier of Israel, the one the woman charged with slaying his ten thousands, a reputation that would follow him wherever he went.
- He would become the leader of the mighty men of Israel
- The Sweet Psalmist of Israel
- The man after Gods own heart
- The King, but not any king, the King from whom all Godly kings were held to compare. The king from who the Messiah himself would stem.
And the preparation and training of this young man begins; for as the Lord had prepared him to shepherd his people by having him tend to and protect the flocks of his father, so too will the Lord prepare this young man to seek after him with all his heart.
NOTE: Brethren I would like you to note something vitally important respecting David.
Scripture tells us that he was anointed King of Israel by the Prophet Samuel. This anointing occurred when David was a ruddy youth.
The anointing occurred in the house of his father in the presence of all of his brethren, the same brethren who paraded themselves before Samuel as prospects for the throne of Israel.
But we do not see David running to get the throne from Saul, nor do we even see him, through all his persecution at the hands of Saul, take the opportunities that others had seen for him to slay Gods anointed King in the days to come, . nor do we see him boasting of himself before his brethren, nor do we see him think of himself too high now to tend his fathers sheep. But what do we see?
The very next time we hear of David is when Saul hears of him and calls to his father Jesse who calls his son out of the shepherding work he returned to.
Friends, David was thirty years of age when he became the reigning King of the nation. No less than a decade after he was anointed by Samuel.
What is my point?
God may have called you into a particular work for him. It may be recognized and identified by others, all working to confirm your gift and your call, perhaps true. But there is a difference between the calling of the Lord and the time to engage in the activity of the Lord for that call.
The decade between the anointing of David and his actual reign was the most trying decade of David’s life. No other time apart from his conflict with is son, was as trying as these ten years. David told of his preparation to come against Goliath when he gave sought the opportunity from Saul the King.
Turn to 1 Sam 17:32-37
32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.
Just as God prepared David for Goliath, so too will God prepare him for the kingdom. This decade or so was the time in which most of the Psalms of David were written. It is often spoken that trials in life are what draws us to God. But it can also be said that the drawing to God is what prepares us more perfectly for his work.
These sixteen chapters are one of the most profound studies you can have on David. His character is unmatched, his desire for the Lord virtually unequalled. His fear, his courage, his humility, his patience, his faithfulness even toward those who count themselves enemies, his forthright stand for the integrity of his God and his love for the people is unmatched until Christ.
This first book of Samuel shows to us the preparation of David to become the king. The second book of Samuel is all about his reign as King. Much more to be learned.
In Summary, the first book of Samuel is a book of transitions.
Beginning with a wife who so desires to be a mother.
A boy who would take the priesthood from the family from which it was ordained.
A nation who’s rejection of God would see their governance change from a Theocracy to a Monarchy.
A shepherd boy who would become King.
Friends, stay close to the Lord, remain firm in your trust, you never know where your faith will take you. But certain is this, it will never remain stagnant. Our walk with the Lord is the greatest journey of our lives. Trust him, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths!