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STUDYING THE LESSONS FROM PROPHETS OF OLD

PROPHET SAMUEL: HE HEARD GOD AND FOLLOWED HIS WORD

Samuel was a gift of God to Hannah and Elkanah as well as to the nation of Israel. Samuel brought the long period of the judges to a close and ushered in the new era of government by kings. Samuel lived over 90 years and served as a prophet, judge, and priest for almost of those years. He proved to be a strong leader and a stabilizing force at a time of great transition. His ministry as the last of the judges and the first of the prophet brought Israel into days of unprecedented prominence which continued through the leadership of King Saul, David and Solomon.
            Samuel is often spoken of as a great example of prayer and intercession on behalf of the people of God. His example serves as an encouragement to each of us;  - a surrendered heart that readily obeyed when he heard God speak. God taught him that true prayer is always based first on surrender to the will of God, not on the need of man. Samuel shows us what it means to pray the (way God wants, He shows us what it mean to seek God and His will.
            Samuel ministered in Israel from around 1102 BC before the era of the kings to approximately 1012 BC during the reign of Saul.
            As we study the life of Samuel, we will not only learn about prayer, but also about walking in line with God’s Word.

LESSON ONE:  Samuel was given to the LORD in a day of spiritual decline by his parent and he himself gave his life to God. (Type out 1 Samuel 1:  and 3:)
           
Hannah brought her distress and her tears to the Lord at the Tabernacle and vowed that if the Lord would give her a son, she would give him to the Lord for His service. The Lord soon gave Elkanah and Hannah a son, and they named him Samuel which means “name of God”. When Samuel was weaned, probably around age 3, Hannah and Elkanah took him to serve in Shiloh with Eli the priest.
            The sons of Eli who lived and ministered at the Tabernacle were labeled as “worthless men” – literally, “sons of Belial” a term used to Satan in 2 Corinthians 6:15 and referring to wickedness in nature and action.
            From the start Samuel “ministered to the Lord.” Wearing a linen ephod, the garment of priest. As Samuel ministered before the Lord, he grew physically and spiritually, in favor with the Lord and with men. His relationship with Eli and those who lived in Shiloh, as well as those who came to offer sacrifices at the Tabernacle, was ever growing. People could see the good character of this young boy as he grew into a young man. “And the child Samuel grew on, and increased in favor both with Jehovah, and also with men.” 1 Sam. 2:26)

LESSON TWO:  Samuel gave the Word of the LORD as prophet, priest and judge.
           
During the young boyhood of Samuel an unmanned “man of God” brought God’s word to Eli. God knew the sinful way of Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and He promised to deal with them. In the midst of that environment, Samuel “was growing in statute and in favor both with the LORD and with men.” Then, God’s call came.
            Samuel was now a boy about twelve or thirteen years of age. Soon after the “man of God” delivered the message of the Lord to Eli, the Lord came to Samuel in a vision telling him of the coming judgment on Eli’s house. Samuel had seen the wickedness and ways of Eli’s sons, but the Lord wanted Samuel to know His ways. Now he saw the consequences of sin more clearly. God entrusted this truth to him as the first of many truths for the good of Israel and the glory of God.
            As a man with a true servant’s heart, Samuel listened carefully and attentively to all the Lord spoke to him. He than faithfully told Eli that entire God had said and thus began his ministry as a prophet to Israel.
The LORD grouped Samuel with Moses and Aaron, men who were marked by heart knowledge of God. They had fervently sought the LORD, heard His Word, and sought to lead the people of God by that Word.

LESSON THREE:  Samuel gave the Will of the LORD

            Though the Word of the Lord spread throughout the land, Israel faced a constant threat from the Philistines, a coastal people who had entered the land around 1200 BC. The Philistines desired to conquer the land of Canaan and came against the Israelites. How would the Israelites go into battle? What would they do about this Philistine menace?
            First Israel was defeated with the loss of 4,000 men in battle. Then, they decided to take the Ark of the Covenant, the sign of the presence and power of God, into battle. When they removed it from Shiloh and marched into battle, the Philistines captured it, and 30,000 Israelites died – including Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas. Trusting God was not their first thought, but an afterthought.
            At that tine Samuel called on the people to turn to the Lord with all their hearts and remove the foreign gods from their midst. They thought it was enough to worship the Lord some of the time while at the same time worshiping some of the gods of the Canaanites. Samuel called them to serve God alone.
            The people did remove the Baal’s and the images of Ashtarroth and chose to serve the Lord alone.
            Samuel ministry as judge continued for several years. He traveled annually as a circuit judge to Bethell, Gilgal and Mizpah, judging Israel at each location the people faithfully heard the Word of the Lord and were able to deal with their disputes and problems. When he was not on this circuit, Samuel ministered in his hometown of Ramah.

LESSON FOUR: Samuel gave the ways of the LORD in his choice of King.

            When Samuel grew older he appointed his two sons, Joel and Abijah, as judges. However, they did not judge as he did but chose to accept bribes, thus preventing justice. The people came to Samuel and confronted him with this issue. Not only that, but they also asked him to appoint a king over them, to judge them and to fight their battles for them. They wanted to be like the nation around them. The response of Samuel was not as the people expected. Samuel was displeased because he saw evil in their request. When he took it to the Lord, the Lord told him to listen the people because they were rejecting God as King, not Samuel as judge. God instructed Samuel to inform them of what it would be like to have a king, what it would mean, what it would take to support a king.     Samuel again faithfully conveyed all the word of the Lord to the people, but yet they refused to listen to his warning. Samuel listened to all the word of the people and then went to the Lord and repeated to Him everything the people had said. Since Samuel trusted God and His ways, he obeyed and began looking for the Lord’s choice as king.
            Saul finally became king over Israel, but Saul was impatient king. Samuel, a man after the heart of God, obedient and faithful to all the Word of God anointed him as King.. He was always for God. Teachable man of God. Are you available and teachable?.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:
-                  Samuel was given to the Lord before he was born, and as he grew it became evident he was given to the Word of the Lord, to His will, and to His ways.
-                  What about your life? Are you marked by being “available” to the Lord?
-                  Are you teachable? A disciple is defined as a learner.”
-                  Samuel also knew the word of God. What about you, do you find time to study the Word of God?
-                 Samuel was very faithful. Are you faithful in service of God?

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