7 2016-08-03 Audio
Major Theme #3: THE INSTRUMENTS OF GOD
c. The Word of God
What is the basis of God’s faithfulness to us?
God is King, and therefore His word carries the authority of highest rule, highest law, highest justice, highest authority. God’s Word is the word of the King of the universe. We receive it as a written decree from our gracious King.
1 Samuel 3:1 - Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
1 Samuel 3:21 - And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
1 Samuel 9:27 - As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.”
1 Samuel 15:23 - For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.”
No king is above God’s word! God is King, and the King of kings, and His word stands as the highest scepter in the land; in time and eternity.
2 Samuel 7:4 - But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan,
2 Samuel 12:9 - Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
2 Samuel 16:23 - Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.
2 Samuel 22:31 - This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
Uniquely introduces the offices of Prophet and King, and reestablishes the Priesthood
- Prophets prepare, warn, call-back, and guide the people into the way of the Lord (Torah)
- David (the king) will be used of the Lord to reestablish the place and center of worship!
- David reconstitutes the priesthood, its proper place and role among the people.
- 1 Sa 2:35 - And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever.
d. The Prophets
Prophet → God’s spokesman
Not prescriptive or normative, but generally the mark of divinely induced change and the antecedent of a new age.
1 Samuel 9:9 - (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.)
[Saul] 1 Samuel 10:10 - When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them.
1 Samuel 28:15 - Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.”
1 Samuel 19:20 - Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.
“Samuel” → “Name of God” / “His name is God”
Samuel played an instrumental role in redemptive history (failure of Israel in Judges, raised up by the Lord).
Dt 18:15 - “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—
Samuel is not THE second Moses, but he is A second Moses.
His father, Elkanah, was a Levite, making him a priest by birth. He was dedicated as a Nazarite. He was the last of the judges (1 Sam 7:6, 15-17) and the first of the prophets (Acts 3:24; 13:20).
1 Samuel 3:19 - And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD.
- Acts 3:24 - And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.
- Acts 13:20 - All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
- Hebrews 11:32 - And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—
Tradition holds that he founded the “schools of the prophets” (sons of the prophets: 1 Sam 19:20; 2 Kgs 2:3, 5; 4:38;)
Devoted to the Lord. He was marked by reverence (1:28) and respect. Neither disrespected Eli nor allowed Eli’s sons to influence him. Persevered with great resolve and tenacity to the word of God. Served with diligently. His highest allegiance was to God over all. He was bold to stand up to and rebuke king, elders, and the people when necessary, and always in full accord to the clearly revealed word of God. All the while, he had a deep and abiding concern for the good of his people.
He was instrumental in reviving the spiritual life of Israel. He was instrumental in the inauguration of the monarchy, leading the people from tribal disunity to national solidarity. He was remembered for reverencing the observance of the Passover (2 Chr 35:18). Also, he was instrumental in organizing and recording the rights and duties of the kingship (1 Sam 10:25).
Yet a great warning stands attached to Samuel: while he led well, he did not lead his family nor delegate well.
1 Samuel 8:1–5 - When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel.  The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.  Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.  Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah  and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
One historically significant lesson to observe is: God is king and only by Him and His provision will His people find security, honesty, peace, justice, righteousness, goodness, and prosperity. Even the best leaders of Israel cannot stand as the hope of Israel since (a) they will grow old and die, and (b) they ironically and tragically are more known for corrupt sons than for faithful sons.
“The best of leaders can have the worst of sons. The old age of a great leader like Samuel was, therefore, a serious crisis. The peace, security, and prosperity of the years under Samuel were in jeopardy if his sons were to play any role in Israel’s future.” (Woodhouse, 142).
Grace is by gift, not inheritance!
Notice: unlike Eli, his conduct was the standard by which the conduct of his sons was measured: “walk in his ways”. Also, the distance between his sons and him (Beersheba/Ramah ~ 57 miles).
“Opportunity and temptation drew forth and discovered that corruption in them, which till now was hid from their father, and, it may be, from themselves.” (Poole, 531).
“Their actions and reputations (v.5) belied their names—Joel ('The Lord is God'), Abijah ('My [Divine] Father is the Lord')” (Youngblood, 612).
Those that have the most grace themselves cannot give grace to their children. It has often been the grief of good men to see their posterity, instead of treading in their steps, trampling upon them, and, as Job speaks, marring their path. Nay, many that have begun well, promised fair, and set out in the right path, so that their parents and friends have had great hopes of them, yet afterwards have turned aside to by-paths, and been the grief of those of whom they should have been the joy. When Samuel’s sons were made judges, and settled at a distance from him, then they discovered themselves. Thus, (1.) Many that have been well educated, and have conducted themselves well while they were under their parents’ eye, when they have gone abroad into the world and set up for themselves have proved bad. Let none therefore be secure either of themselves or theirs, but depend on divine grace. (2.) Many that have done well in a state of meanness and subjection have been spoiled by preferment and power. Honours change men’s minds, and too often for the worse. It does not appear that Samuel’s sons were so profane and vicious as Eli’s sons; but, whatever they were in other respects, they were corrupt judges, they turned aside after lucre, after the mammon of unrighteousness, so the Chaldee reads it. Note, The love of money is the root of all evil. It is pernicious in any, but especially in judges. Samuel had taken no bribes (ch. 12:3), but his sons had, though, no doubt, he warned them against it when he made them judges; and then they perverted judgment. In determining controversies, they had an eye to the bribe, not to the law, and enquired who bid highest, not who had right on his side. It is sad with a people when the public justice that should do them right, being perverted, does them the greatest wrong.
— Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 395–396.
All the while, Samuel’s age and sons provided a pretext for the elders to demand a king. Their hearts were not centered on God.
“The Israelites were more displeased at the injury to their temporal interests, than by all the dishonour done to God” (Henry).