It may be that my favorite section to write is Men of the Bible!
Meaning: Name of God or God hears
His Character: Samuel was a righteous man and a reliable judge. He spent his life in service to God.
His Sorrow: Samuel’s sons did not have a close relationship with God. He was also unhappy that the people wanted a king to rule over them.
His Triumph: Samuel was an effective judge of Israel. Despite his apprehension, he was able to help Israel transition from judges to kings in which he anointed the first two kings.
Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel
Samuel was the answered prayer of his mother, Hannah. Hannah prayed fervently for a child, and she promised to consecrate a son into service to God. She kept her promise. As a toddler, Samuel was given back to God. He was taken to be raised by the prophet Eli in Shiloh. His parents, Hannah and Elkanah, would come to Shiloh once a year to worship. Each year, Hannah would bring Samuel a robe. And each year, Samuel’s favor with the people and God increased.
Samuel grew up assisting the high priest, Eli, in the tabernacle. When Samuel was still a boy, God revealed Himself to Samuel. Before God spoke to Samuel, God’s voice had been rarely heard and there were few visions. From the moment God spoke to Samuel, it was clear that he was a prophet. His first words to God, “Speak; for thy servant heareth,” were true for all of his days. He was a person who wanted to hear God’s voice. Samuel had two-way conversations with God. He could pray, and he could listen. Because he was faithful in little things, he was later trusted to greater things.
Samuel called for the children of Israel to turn away from pagan worship, to repent, and to serve the one and true God. Samuel heard God’s voice and spoke God’s words even when it was to rebuke a king. Samuel won victories over the Philistines. He was a reminder of God’s faithfulness and a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.
During Samuel’s life, Israel moved from being ruled by judges to being ruled by kings, which the people wanted. Samuel was not too keen on a king, but Samuel’s sons did not follow his lead. They were wicked, and the elders of Israel were not satisfied and demanded a king to rule over them. Samuel saw it as a rejection of himself. When he went to God in prayer, God’s answer was a surprise. Even though Samuel warned the people of the impact of a king, they still wanted one. Samuel anointed the first two kings, King Saul and King David.
God was able to use Samuel because Samuel was dedicated to God (and literally was from the very beginning). He was a man who listened to God’s direction, and he did not have his own agenda. Samuel’s faith and service to God resulted in him being listed in the Hall of Faith, which is found in Hebrews 11.
Samuel played many roles in Israel. He was a judge, a priest, a prophet, a counselor, and a man of God. He gave himself over to God. In our lives and many roles, we too must give ourselves and our wills over to God. Samuel was able to accomplish so much because of his strong relationship with God. Since he was shaped by God, he was able to live out his authentic self in service to God. From his beginning, he lived out God’s purpose.