1 "And The Child Samuel Grew On..."
“And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.” I Samuel 2:26
I have just finished reading through the book of I Samuel and there are many verses that I think we can find helpful in growing in the Lord. I have always liked the story of Samuel. I remember hearing the story of little boy Samuel when I was just a child. I thought he was so special to get to help Eli in the temple. When our boys were small they enjoyed acting out the story during our family devotions. One child would lay on a blanket pallet on the floor and be Samuel. Another would lay on the couch and play the part of Eli. Mike would tell the story and call out, "Samuel, Samuel" and our Samuel would run to Eli and ask, "Eli, Eli, did you call me?" I will never forget my little David on the thid call as he would say, "Here I is, Lord." Let's look back to some of the stories we find in this great book and pray that we can be like Samuel and grow in favor with the Lord, and also with those around us.
2 God Sees Our Tears And Understands
“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. 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? 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. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” I Samuel 1:7-10
The book of Samuel begins with the story of a man named Elkanah and his two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not. The family made the journey together to worship in Shiloh and gave their offerings to the Lord. Verse 6 tells us that Peninnah provoked Hannah because she didn't have any children. Each year grew harder and harder for Hannah as she saw Peninnah's children grow and take their offerings to the Lord, and she had no children of her own. Each year Peninnah grew more and more cruel in her bitter words to Hannah. Hannah broke down and wept. Elkanah didn't understand. He asked her, "Am not I better to thee than ten sons?" Hannah prayed and cried before the Lord and Eli didn't understand. "And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink but have poured out my soul before the LORD." (I Samuel 1:12-15) You may be going through some painful storms in your life which have brought you to tears. Your closest family and friends may not understand. Your Sunday School teacher or preacher may not understand. You may have no one that you can talk to that will understand. But you can always take your burdens to the Lord and He will understand. Let's close today with this encouraging thought from David. "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know: for God is for me." (Psalm 56:8-9)
3 The Lord Remembered Hannah
“Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah:... and the LORD remembered her.” I Samuel 1:17-19
For the last four weeks we looked at verses about remembering, and we mentioned Hannah, but I want to bring this to a personal level. Just as this verse says, "...and the LORD remembered her", I want to thank the Lord that He remembered me. God gave His only Son to die on a cruel cross to save me. When I was eight years old, the Lord spoke to my heart and showed me that I was lost and on my way to hell. God put people in my life that told me that I could confess my sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and He would give me eternal life. God remembered me. He not only gave me salvation, full and free, but He continues to bless me. He goes with me day by day, guiding me with His LIght. Thank you Lord, for remembering me.
4 Giving Back To The Lord
“And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” I Samuel 1:26-28
There are three things I notice about these three verses. The first is that Hannah kept her vow to the Lord. She told the Lord that if He would give her a son, then she would give her son back to Him and let him serve in the temple. Many times when troubles come people will pray and make promises to God with good intentions to keep them. They may promise to be faithful to church and serve the Lord, but over time they forget their vows and break them. Hannah remembered her vow and left Samuel with Eli to serve God. The next thing I notice about these verses is that Hannah knew who had answered her prayer. I often hear people say they are "lucky" when good things happen in their lives. We need to be thankful to the Lord, giving all the glory and honor to Him for all the blessings He gives to us. Last of all, I like the way she told Eli, "...I have lent him to the LORD..." When God blesses us with children, we can dedicate them to the Lord and pray that God will use them. This not only applies to our children, but to everything we have. Has God blessed you with a nice home? Have you opened your home up to His work? Has He blessed you with a car? Do you use the transportation He has given you to go to His House? Do you read His Word with the eyes He has given you? Do you work for Him with the hands you have? Be thankful to the Lord and give all your talents and gifts back to Him to use for His glory.
5 From Despair To Victory
“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. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. 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.” I Samuel 2:1-3
In chapter 1 Hannah was in deep despair. She wept bitterly and did not eat. She cried out to God in prayer, and vowed a vow to Him and He heard and answered her prayer. God gave her a son and just as she had promised, she lent him to the Lord. We don't know the ways of God. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaish 55:8-9) Hannah came to the place that she was willing to give her son back to the Lord if He would hear her prayer. We don't always know or understand the way God leads us. Our tears of despair may bring us to the place that we are willing to give ourselves in service to the Lord. If we are out on a stormy sea, we may be more willing to throw things overboard that come between us and the Lord. Have tears of despair taken your joy? Turn to the Lord and seek His will. Pray with David, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Than will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." (Psalm 51:12-13) Hannah went through the valley and came out victorious. I pray that we will follow God and trust in Him for victory in our lives.
6 Hannah Was Rewarded
“But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.” I Samuel 2:18-21
Hannah left Samuel with the priest to serve the Lord, just as she had vowed to God. Each year she made him a new little coat and took it to him. "And the child Samuel grew before the LORD." I think that Hannah grew too. God lifted her up out of her deep despair and gave her the joy of five more children. I always liked Psalm 127:3, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Hannah was rewarded. She was faithful in her service to the Lord, and God blessed her. I leave you with one last verse today... "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
7 Do You Know The Lord?
“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.” I Samuel 2:12
The sons of Eli were very wicked. This verse tells us that they "knew not the LORD." Let's take a moment and look at who these men were. They were sons of the priest. Their father was the priest, their grandfather had been the priest, and their great-grandfather had been the priest. They were born in the family to become the next priests. Yet, we read that they did not know the Lord. You may be in a Christian family. Your father or grandfather may have been a preacher, but that does not save you. Your grandmother and mother may be godly women, but that does not get you into heaven. You must be saved and become a child of God. We can also look at where these men were. They were in Shiloh where the Tabernacle was. I live in the Bible Belt of America, but that did not guarantee that I would go to heaven. I had to confess my sin and trust in the Lord to save me. We end with looking at what these men did. They served in the house of God, but their working in the tabernacle did not make them pure and holy. We can't get to heaven by our works. Being a Sunday School teacher will not save you. Singing in the choir will not give you eternal life. A person does not reach heaven by who he is, or where he is, or what he does. Romans 3:10 reminds us, "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one:" We also know from the 23rd verse, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Praise the Lord for Romans 10:9, 10 & 13. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe tin thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Don't trust in your family heritage to save you. Don't think that you can build righteousness on good works. You must know the Lord to be saved, and you must be saved to know the Lord.
8 A Story Of Two Sams
“And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.” I Samuel 2:26
"And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him." Judges 13:24
As I was reading about Samuel this morning I thumbed back a few pages in my Bible to learn more about the time of our story. My Bible has the dates at the top of each page and I thumbed back to the book of Judges. The story of the battle of the Philistines in I Samuel chapter 4 has the same date as the story of Samson and the Philistines in the 15th chapter of Judges. I thought about these stories and God began to show me some parallels between Samuel and Samson. Both were born to mothers who were barren. (Judges 13:2 and I Samuel 1:2) I believe that it is quite probable that they were both born about the same time in history. The Angel of the Lord announced Samson's birth to the wife of Manoah. Eli, the priest, told Hannah that the God of Israel would give her a son. Both of these men had special births. Not only in the way they were born, but we also see that they were both born to serve God. "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not; but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges 13:3-5) Samson was set apart, even before birth, to be a servant of God. We see in I Samuel that he also was set apart to serve the Lord. "And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there." (I Samuel 1:26-28) The boys began life in much the same way, and they grew and we read in Judges 13:25 of Samson, "the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times..." and also in I Samuel 3 we see that God called to Samuel. Samuel grew up to become the priest of Israel and he was a faithful servant to the Lord. Samson strayed away from God and broke his Nazarite vows. His life ended in tragedy in Judges 16, when blinded by the Philistines and a slave, he pulled the pillars of the house down and killed more Philistines in his death than he had killed in battle. (Judges 16:30) What does this say to us? First of all, we have to have a special birth. Jesus told Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:6-7) We also have to live a separated life. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (II Corinthians 6:17-18) Finally, we need to stay close to the Lord. Christians don't have to make a sudden move away from God to stop being used by God. We often get cold in our hearts and slide away from the Lord gradually. Let me encourage you today. Make sure you are born again. Live a clean, separated life. Stay close to God through prayer and the reading of His Word. Don't fall by the wayside. Let's look at the last verses about Samson and Samuel. "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." (Hebrews 11:32-34) Stay strong in the faith and let your life be a witness for God, even until death.
9 The Word Of The Lord Was Precious In Those Days
“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.” I Samuel 3:1
Is the Word of the Lord precious to you? We are going through the book of I Samuel and looking for Bible truths to help us grow as Christians. In our physical lives, we need to eat the right foods to grow strong and healthy. In our spiritual lives we also need to partake of the right spiritual food. Peter put it very well, "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (I Peter 2:1-3) After we have trusted in Jesus Christ to be our Saviour, our appetites change. "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17) God has so graciously given us His Word and we should read it and study and meditate on it. It is a blessing when I start reading from my Bible and God lets a verse speak to my heart. His Word often brings peace and comfort in my times of storms. His Word is precious. I have heard missionaries serving in foreign lands say that they can't keep enough copies of the Bible for the people who want it. But here in America there are many Bibles that lay on the shelves except when they are picked up on Sunday for church. If you will make the Word precious in your life you will surely grow in Christ. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Psalm 1:1-3)
10 When The Lord Calls, Answer
“And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel; and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down; and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.” I Samuel 3:2-10
Of all the Bible stories we told our children when they were young, this was their favorite. They enjoyed acting out the story and taking turns being Eli and little boy Samuel. The scriptures above are quite explanatory, so I don't need to go into detail, but I want us to notice that God called, and Samuel answered. Have you answered God's call? He may call you in the still of the night as He called Samuel. He may have called you when you were young, but unlike Samuel, you may have not answered His call. God called to Samuel several times, but there is no promise that He will keep calling you. If you have not answered the call, please don't put it off any longer. "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee; behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)" (II Corinthians 6:2) We are not promised tomorrow. "...now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
11 Remember The Word Of The Lord
“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? 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?” I Samuel 2:27 & 28
Eli was the priest and his sons were very wicked. Verse 16 of this chapter tells us that they demanded the best part of the people’s offerings for themselves, so much that they would take it by force. They also committed sin with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle. (I Samuel 2:22) “Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.” (I Samuel 2:17) Eli heard of the wickedness of his sons and said, “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…” God spoke to Eli and reminded him that he “plainly appeared” to the house of his father in Egypt. He wanted him to remember how the Levites were chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to be the priests. Then He said, “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?” (I Samuel 2:29) This scripture reminds me of a small child who doesn’t get his way and he kicks at his parent in frustration. God told Eli he put his own sons above God. God remembered His Word and he reminded Eli of His Word. Eli’s wicked sons took the Ark of the Covenant into battle against the Philistines and the Ark was taken and the sons were killed. When Eli heard the news that the Ark was taken, he fell over and died. When the wife of Phinehas heard it, she died in childbirth and named the son, Ichabod, saying, “The glory is departed from Israel…” We need to remember the Word of the Lord. Sometimes we may have a difficult time finding God’s perfect will for our lives. But when His Word tells us plainly what to do, we will have to answer to God for our disobedience. 30,000 footmen were killed in that battle against the Philistines. Many suffered for their disobedience. When we live ungodly, it affects those around us. Remember His Word. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)
12 God's Word Will Never Fail
“And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. and he answered, Here am I. And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me; God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee. And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD; let him do what seemeth him good. And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. ” I Samuel 3:15-19
I read these verses and I was intrigued by the last phrase, "And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground." Many things fall in this world. If you follow the stock market you have seen how much it has fallen over the past month. Atheletes and men and women in power can fall. Even great men of the Bible fell to temptation. I may promise to do something for you, and circumstances beyond my control may keep me from fulfilling my promise. But we can be sure that the Word of God will never fail. Isaiah tells us that the word of God shall stand forever. "The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." (Isaiah 40:6-8) Don't put your faith in people or in the things of this world, because you can be sure that they will fall. Put your faith in the Word of God, because "none of his words fall to the ground."
"Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see. And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son? And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken. And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. And his daughter in law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken." I Samuel 4:15-22
This woman said, "The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken." But if you read in the previous chapter you can see that there was sin in the house of Eli. "And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not." (I Samuel 3:11-13) I think the glory of God departed long before the Philistines took the ark of the covenant. They just didn't realize it. This reminds me of the story of Samson when he broke his vows to God. We know how Delilah kept pressing him to tell the secret of his strength until he finally told her that his hair had never been cut because he was a Nazarite unto God. "And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him." (Judges 16:19-20) What a sad statement. "And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him." Stay in the right path with God. Pray with David, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)
14 The Fear Of The Lord
“And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.” I Samuel 4:5-8
I read these verses and it is very clear that the Egytians had a fear of the God of Israel. The Israelites took the ark of the covenant into the camp and shouted the victory. The Philistines had great fear but they fought and took the ark of God. Once they took the ark of the covenant, they did indeed see the power and wrath of God Almighty. In Ashdod, their false idol, Dagon, could not stand before the ark. I Samuel 5:6 tells us that "...the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them..." So, they decided to take the ark to Gath. "And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction..." (I Samuel 5:8) So the sent the ark to Ekron and they were afraid of the ark. "So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people; for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there." (I Samuel 5:11) The Philistines were afraid of the God of Israel, and rightly so. It seems that the Philistines had a greater fear of God than the Israelites. God told His children to put the ark "in the most holy place." "And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place." (Exodus 26:34) They should have had enough fear of God not to take it into battle. We should have a reverential fear of God. Wise King Solomon said, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10) The world would be a much better place today if people had a fear of the LORD like they did in days of old.
15 Sending The Ark Back Home
“Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them; And take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass-offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go. And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, then he hath done us this great evil. but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us. And the men did so; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home; And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods. And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh.” I Samuel 6:7-12
We saw how the hand of the Lord was heavy on the Philistines while the ark of God was in their land. They wanted to send the ark back to the Israelites and they actually put God to a test. They put the ark on a cart that would be pulled by two milk cows who had never been under a yoke. My Dad used to have a few cows and he would often call us to help him move the cows from one pasture to another. From time to time one of the cows would decide it did not want to go with the other cows. I don't remember a time when a cow would get out and go straight down the road. I don't know that a cow would even recognize that the road was any different than the rest of the land, unless it was accustomed to going up and down the road. I think a cow would be more likely to wander to fields and look for "greener pastures". It is also a miracle that these two milk cows left their calves behind, as they "went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left..." God showed the Philistines that He was indeed responsible for their trouble.
16 The Judgment Of God
“And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. and the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us? And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.” I Samuel 6:19-21
When the Philistines returned the ark with the gifts of gold, they did not put the gifts in the ark, but they put them in a container beside the ark. Chapter 5 tells us that the hand of the Lord was heavy with "deadly destruction" upon the Philistines and many of them died, so I think they had learned not to open the ark. In our scriptures above we see that the men of Bethshemesh looked into the ark and 55,070 men died. This city was part of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. It doesn't seem probable that 55,070 men looked into the ark. I think a few of the men looked into the ark and brought the judgment of God upon their land. In our day many would say, "That's not fair." We began this theme talking about Growing Up In The Lord. How many times when we were growing up did we say, "That's not fair"? When our teacher punished the whole class because one student didn't listen, we thought, "That's not fair." When our brother or sister did something wrong and we were blamed, we thought, "That's not fair." Part of growing up is realizing that life does not always seem fair, but God is always right. Many times in history God brought judgment on a group of people for the sin of a few. Many in our nation have turned away from God and we can expect the hand of God to judge our country. We need to be a witness to those around us and pray for their salvation. We need to pray for the leaders of our nation. Pray that they will seek the Lord for guidance to lead the people. As we look toward the upcoming elections we need to pray that the people of our nation will see the importance of electing men and women with strong Christian faith. The sin of a few can bring great judgment on many and it doesn't help to turn against God and say, "That's not fair." God has promised, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14)
17 Lamenting After The Lord
“And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.” I Samuel 7:1-4
The ark of the Lord was in Kirjathjearim 20 years and the people were worshipping the false gods of the Philistines. Things finally got bad enough for the children of Israel that they "lamented after the LORD." Last week I heard a preacher bring out a special point about the letters to the churches in the beginning of the book of Revelations. Let's look at Revelation 2:1, "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;" The Lord is in the midst of the churches. Now let's skip to the end of the letters to the seven churches. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Revelation 3:20-22) The Lord is still talking to the churches, as we see in the last verse, but notice where the Lord is... He is on the outside of the church knocking on the door. Look into your own church. Examine your own life. Does the Lord have a prominent place in your life and church or is He standing on the outside knocking on your heart's door? Do you serve the Lord God only, or have the false idols and gods of the world taken your time and attention? We need to lament and cry after the Lord once again. How bad will things get before we return to the Lord with all our heart and serve Him only? Open the door and invite Him back into your life.
18 Our Children Don't Always Grow Up To Be Like Us
“And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Miizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD. And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” I Samuel 7:15-17 & 8:1-3
Eli was the priest and his sons did not follow in his steps, but were very wicked. God chose Samuel to take their place. Samuel's sons also did not follow in his footsteps. When our children are born, I think we often invision them growing up to be like us. When my children were small, we carried them to church and it was wonderful to have them filling the pew beside me. I often thought how wonderful it would be to go to church with my grandchildren, and our family could worship together. But as my children grew older God began to lead them to other areas of service for Him. I praise the Lord that they can follow His leading and work for Him, but I miss their presence on my church pew. How sad it must have been for Samuel to see his children turn aside from following God. He had watched Eli's sons in their wickedness. He had received God's message of judgment when he was just a small boy. He must have delivered the message to Eli in sorrow and fear. Now, he is old and he sees his own sons stray from God. Pray for your children. Take them to church, but don't be too discouraged if God leads them to another work where He needs them. Don't give up praying if they "turn aside" from following Him. God does not have grandchildren, only children. Our children can't get to heaven just because we are on our way to heaven. They must accept God's plan of salvation just as we do. Never give up praying for your children.
19 Samuel Prayed For The People
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 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. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.” I Samuel 8:4-6
Samuel was displeased with the choice of the people and he prayed unto the Lord. Samuel prayed for the people. I am sure that there were times in Samuel's life when he prayed for God's direction and leading in his own life, but in this verse I believe Samuel prayed for the people. The people wanted to be like the other nations and did not pray about their decision to ask for a king. They did not pray for themselves, but Samuel prayed for them. There are many examples in the Bible of men who prayed for others. Moses often prayed for the children of Israel. Jesus prayed for the people. Sometimes in my own life I will see someone and the Holy Spirit will nudge me to pray for that person. Sometimes when I pray, God will bring an old friend or acquaintance to my mind, telling me that I need to pray for that person. Recently in the emergency room I saw a young man that needed prayer. It was obvious that he was headed in the wrong direction. It made my heart ache to think that he was so desparately in need of prayer and he may have not known how to pray. I quietly said a quick prayer for him as we waited. I then heard his name called four or five times and I realized that God wanted me to keep praying for him. I want to ask you today to pray for Zack. I don't know what Zack needs, but I think he needs the Lord. I don't know where Zack is headed, but it seemed as though he was headed in the wrong direction. Will you pray for Zack? We don't know him, but God knows all about him and He is able to give Zack the help he needs. When someone crosses your path that seems to need God, stop and pray for that person. Sometimes we see our prayers answered, but I believe that there are many more times in our lives that only God knows our prayers are answered. Keep on praying.
20 Israel Chose A King
“And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.” I Samuel 10:24
I have often heard people say that because something happened, “It must have been God’s will”. Well, sometimes we make choices that are not God’s will. The elders of Israel went to Samuel and said, “make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (I Samuel 8:5) “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. 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. 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.” (I Samuel 8:7-9) Samuel told the people how a king would take their sons and daughters to work for him and take a tenth of their seed and their sheep. “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel: and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 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.” (I Samuel 8:19 & 20) They wanted a king like all the other nations had. When my children were small I told them never to ask for something just because everyone else had it. We should be careful when we ask the Lord for things and not want them just because everyone else has them. God may give us what we ask for, even though it is not in His perfect will for us to have it. He chose a king for Israel, but He told Samuel to “protest solemnly unto them”. If you ask your parents for something and they tell you “no” and you keep asking even though you know they don’t want you to have it, they may give it to you. But things may not work out the way you hoped and you may not really want it after you get it. Make the right choices and be careful what you ask for.
21 Is "Stuff" Keeping You From Following God?
“And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us, Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.” I Samuel 10:19-23
We are going through the book of I Samuel as we look for verses about "Growing In The Lord". We come to the place in our physical lives that we eventually stop growing. That should not be the case in our spiritual lives. We should continue to grow in the Lord and become stronger Christians. Today I want to ask you the question, "What stuff is keeping you from following God, or from growing in the Lord?" Saul already knew that God had chosen him to be king. The first 16 verses of this chapter tell how Samuel anointed him and told him the things that would happen so that he would know this was of God. He knew he was chosen to be king, but when the time came, he hid among the stuff. Maybe God told you what He wants you to be. He has clearly shown you His will for your life, but you have let "stuff" keep you from stepping forward and accepting God's leading. Saul was head and shoulders taller than all the people, so he had to find a big pile of "stuff" to hide behind. He soon discovered that no matter how much stuff he put between him and God, he could not hide from God. If you want to grow in the Lord, it's time to stop hiding from God and step out from behind the big pile of "stuff" that's keeping you from God's will. Jonah tried to hide from God when he went down into the sides of the ship and went to sleep, but he ended up in the belly of a whale. He knew what God had told him to do, but he just didn't want to do it. If we refuse to do the will of God, He may send storms in our lives to wake us up. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God because they had sin in their lives. They also found out that you can't hide from God. What has God called you to do? Maybe He wants you to teach a Sunday School class and you say, "I've never taught a class before." I'm sure Saul was scared because he had never been a king before. His people had never even had a king before. If God has called you to do something for Him, don't you think He will give you the ability to do it? The only ability God needs you to have is availability. You make yourself available for God to use, and He will give you the ability.
22 Sometimes It's Right To Be Angry
"Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days' respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee. Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their vioces, and wept. And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh. And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly." I Samuel 11:1-6
When we hear of people being mistreated we should be angry. Stories of abuse and cruelty should stir our righteousness indignation. Paul said, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27) It is ok to be angry at sin, as long as we don't let it cause us to sin. When we think of the vast number of babies being murdered it should cause us to be angry, but that doesn't give us the right to blow up abortion clinics. We should elect leaders who are opposed to taking the lives of these precious little ones. Saul had been made king over Israel, but he was still out in the field with the herd. When he heard that the Ammonites planned to put out the right eyes of the men of Jabesh he was angry. He sent word throughout all of Israel and 330,000 men gathered with him to fight the Ammonites. They had a great victory. Many people in our country close their eyes and ears to the cry of hurting people. Sin should make us angry. Stand up for what's right. Pray. Help those who can't help themselves.
23 Leaving A Good Testimony Behind
“And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand. And he said unto them, The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.” I Samuel 12:1-5
We began our study in I Samuel with the birth and call of Samuel. He grew up in the tabernacle and was a faithful servant to the Lord all his life. In these verses he asked the people to be a witness to his honesty and integrity. How many of us would challenge our family, friends, and co-workers to find fault in our work and service? We read in I Samuel 2:26, "And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men." Samuel grew and stayed faithful and true to the Lord, and to the people, until he was old and grayheaded. Let the life of Samuel encourage you to stay faithful and true to the Lord. Keep on keeping on, in the work that He has called you to do. Don't quit. Don't give up. Leave behind a good testimony and witness for the Lord.
24 Consider All The Great Things The Lord Has Done For You
“And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness; yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside; for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin aginst the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way; Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you.” I Samuel 12:19-24
Earlier in this chapter Samuel reminded the children of Israel of their past. He reminded them how each time they forsook the Lord and He delivered them into the hands of their enemies. He also reminded them how God delivered them and gave them victory when they turned back to serve the Lord. Samuel prayed to the Lord to send rain on their wheat harvest to show them how great their sin was in asking for a king, when God was their King. The people once again remembered the Lord and acknowledged His great power and asked Samuel to pray for them. Samuel's instructions were not new to the people. We can read in Deuteronomy 6:5, "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." We read the Word of God and go to church and God tries to remind us to love Him and serve Him. I love the next words of Samuel, "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way;" Samuel was a loving leader. He cared for the people. We need to care for those around us and pray for them. If we will stop and consider all the great and wonderful things the Lord has done for us, our love for Him will grow stronger and we will gladly serve Him. One more thing that I notice in this scripture is, "For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people." The children of Israel were God's chosen people. But, God sent His only Son, Jesus to die for me so that I could become His child. If He loved me that much, how could I ever doubt His love for me. He will never forsake His own.
25 "There Is No Restraint To The Lord To Save By Many Or By Few"
“And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmas, and the other southward over against Gibeah. And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us. And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves. And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel. And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.” I Samuel 14:4-16
I included all these verses to give the story, but I really wanted to focus on the words of Jonathan, "...it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few." Let's look at the odds in the chapter 13. "And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude..." (I Samuel 13:5) The next verse tells us that the Israel hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in high places, and in pits. "...And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men." (I Samuel 13:15) Let's see, thousands of Philistines with chariots and horses against 600 men of Israel. Jonathan got tired of hiding in the rocks and caves and put his faith to the test. Look at his words again, "...it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few." He didn't go out on his own power, but he went in the power of the Lord. It may seem odd that the Philistines trembled when Jonathan killed 20 of their men. Was it unusual to lose 20 men in a battle with thousands? I think they realized that the Lord was fighting with Jonathan because 14:15 tells us that not only did the people tremble, but the earth trembled. The Philistines became so afraid that they fought against each other. Remember as you come up against battles against the world and the flesh, that God is not limited in His power to save. Trust in the Lord to give you the victory!
26 Little In Your Own Sight
"And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. 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? 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... to obey is better than sacrifice... Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." I Samuel 15:13-18 & 22-23
Do you remember what Saul did when he was chosen to be the first King over the twelve tribes of Israel? He hid! Look at I Samuel 10:21-23. "When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king." Saul was head and shoulders taller than all the people, but he was small in his own sight. We saw yesterday that even though his army was small, God gave a great victory. In this chapter, verse 4 we read, "And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah." Saul has a large army, and they won the battle, but he did not obey the Word of the Lord. When he was an humble man, God lifted him up. But when he lifted up himself and decided he did not have to obey God, he was brought low. James 4:10 tells us, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." God can use us when we are small in our own eyes.
27 "The LORD Seeth Not As Man Seeth...The LORD Looketh On The Heart"
"And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart... Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are these all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither." I Samuel 16:6-7, 10-11
God rejected Saul from being king and sent Samuel to anoint a new king. This is the beginning of the story of David, the young shepherd boy who became the great King of Israel. Let's see how different people looked at young David. Then notice how God saw David.
It is sometimes hard for the youngest child to follow in the footsteps of his/her older sibblings. Parents may compare and say, "Why can't you be like ......?" David was the youngest of eight sons. Samuel called Jesse and his sons to come to the sacrifice and Jesse did not even call for David. He completely overlooked David. But God chose David, the little shepherd boy, to be the next king over Israel. God does not overlook our potential. He sees our heart. We are all important in His eyes. In the next chapter God uses David to fight against Goliath. David's older brother wrongly accused David, "Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle." (I Samuel 17:28) God knew David's heart, but Eliab did not. Saul looked on the outward appearance of David. "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." (vs. 33) Last of all, the giant laughed at David. But God gave David the victory over the giant. You may be the youngest in your family. People may overlook you and make you feel like you are not important. You may be wrongly accused or even laughed at even though you try to do what's right. Growing up can be hard when people look at you the wrong way, but keep on following God and doing what He tells you to do. Don't forget that God sees your heart and He understands when no one else will even listen.
28 "Is There Not A Cause?"
"And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" I Samuel 17:28 & 29
When a young child asks a question and you don't have the time to explain or the child isn't old enough to understand the answer it can sometimes be easier to answer, "Because". As children get older they begin to reply, "'Cause why?" And if they are still too young to understand the reason, they may be satisfied with a "Just... because". But we all reach an age when we really want another answer than, "Because". David's father sent him to the battle with food for his brothers. When he got there he saw and heard the Philistine giant, Goliath, defy the armies of Israel. This champion of the Philistine army stood against Israel morning and evening for 40 days. David's oldest brother gave all the wrong answers as to why David had come. "And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" Do you ever feel like saying that when your older brother or sister 'jumps on you'? When someone misjudges you, don't you want to throw your hands up and say, "What have I done now?" David turned the question around to them, "Is there not a cause?" David told King Saul that he would fight Goliath. "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: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth... 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. 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." (I Samuel 17:34-37) David had a cause. The Philistine had defied the armies of the living God. Do you have a cause? Many do work for charities because they believe the charities are "a good cause". Some give donations to "a good cause". What is your cause? We need to stand up against evil for the cause of Christ. We have a righteous cause. David said in Psalm 35:27 & 28, "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long." God may not call on you to overcome giants, but we can all tell of His righteousness to others. That is our cause.
29 Let No Man Despise Thy Youth
"And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 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." I Samuel 17:32-33
When I read this verse I am reminded of the verse in I Timothy 4:14. "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." King Saul and David's brothers, and maybe everyone around them, thought that David was too young to fight in the Lord's battle. There are some things that we can't do when we are too young, but we can take a stand for God. Paul's advice to young Timothy is to be a good example in how you talk, in how you live, in your love to others, in spiritual things, in faith, and in purity. Sometimes older people look down on young people, and "despise" them. If you will be an example of how true believers should live, they won't have a reason to despise you. You may still be seeking your purpose in life. You may not know where God is leading you, but let this verse be an encouragement to you. Write this verse on an index card and place it where you can read it daily. Let God's Word remind you how you should live day by day. Knowing your purpose in life is not just about planning your future, but it is how you live day by day.
30 Facing Our Problems
“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: 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. 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. 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.” I Samuel 17:34-37
I was thinking about these verses today and Susanna started playing and singing the song, "Lord, Don't Move That Mountain" by Dewey Williams. The chorus begins, "Lord, don't move that mountain, just give me strength to climb, For if You should move each mountain, I might grow weaker every time;" The message in the song goes so well with the direction God was giving me for this devotional thought. If God moves all the mountains that we come to, we would grow weak, but when He gives us strength to climb the mountains we get stronger with each one. This week as I thought about David, a young shepherd boy, I wondered what he thought as a lion and bear tried to take his lamb. Would we have fought off the lion and bear as David did, or would we have hid behind a bush and asked God why the lion and bear came? Many times when adversity comes into our lives we think we must be out of God's will. Some people even blame God for trials that come and they turn away from God with bitterness. David could have pretended the lion and bear were not there and suffered the loss of a little lamb. What was one little lamb, compared to the danger of facing a lion or a bear? David did not question God. David did not ignore the problem. David did not hide from his adversaries. David fought the lion and the bear, and put his faith in God, and grew stronger. He gained confidence in his God and overcame his fears and enemies. As we continue our journey through I Samuel looking for ways to grow in the Lord, let's note today that part of growing up is facing our problems and overcoming them. We are born totally helpless and someone has to take care of us continually. As we grow, we learn to help ourselves and take care of ourselves. As we grow in the Lord, He sometimes leads us through trials and storms so that we can be stronger Christians. In becoming stronger Christians, we realize our own weakness and put our trust in Him, and this gives us stronger faith. The testing of our faith gives us more faith, and prepares us for greater storms which may be ahead. In overcoming the lion and bear, David knew that God would also deliver him against the giant.
31 Using Whatever God Gives You For His Glory
“And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.” I Samuel 17:38-40
A big step in growing in the Lord is yielding to do God's will. Many are hesitant to surrender to the Lord because they are afraid God will call them to do something they don't feel that they can do. Most of us would agree that we don't have the boldness that young David had when the giant came out against the children of Israel and challenged them to a battle. David told King Saul that he would go and fight against the giant. “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.” (I Samuel 17:33) You may have opposition from those around you when you step out in faith to do the Lord’s work. But put your trust in God. “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.” (I Samuel 17:37) Saul gave David a suit of armor, but David was not used to the weight or stiffness of the armor. I like the little words, “…and his sling was in his hand…” He used what was in his hand. When we surrender to go with God and do His will, He will give us what we need. We don’t need elaborate equipment or flashy substance to serve God. Use what God has put in your hands. Wherever God leads, follow Him, no matter who stands against you. Put your trust in Him and not in your own knowledge, might or power. And finally, use whatever God has put in your hands, for His glory.
32 The Battle Is The Lord's
“And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philiistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. and all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.” I Samuel 17:42-47
I have read this story of David and Goliath over and over again and today I saw something for the first time. I often noticed that the Philistine told David that he would feed his flesh to the birds and beasts of the field. But I had not really paid attention to David's response. David took Goliath's own words and said that he would feed the host, the massive army, of the Philistines to the birds and beasts. This must have made the giant furious. David knew that he would not win this battle alone, but that God would fight this battle. This reminds me of the words of the angel to Zechariah, "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6) How many storms and trials have seemed to overtake us because we tried to fight our battles on our own? We need to let the Lord of Hosts fight our battles. Stand strong in the faith. Don't put your confidence in yourself, but believe that God is able to deliver you and give you the victory.
33 Sometimes We Stand Still, Sometimes We Move Forward
"And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine." I Samuel 17:48
There are times in our lives when we need to stand still. I am reminded of Exodus 14:13, "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." Isaiah 40:31 is also a familiar verse. "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Sometimes we need to stand still and wait on the Lord. I Samuel 17:16 tells us that the Philistine giant had defied the Lord God for forty days. The Israelites had been waiting, and now the time had come to fight. Our verse above tells us that "...David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine." He had confidence in the Lord and he was able to run and meet his problem face on. His trust in God helped him fight many battles and gave him the victory to say, "For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall." (Psalm 18:29) I heard a preacher use this verse as his text recently to encourage us to "go through it, so we can get over it". We can't get through some storms because we are backing up or going in the wrong direction. But we will not get over those problems or trials until we go through them. Look at your own life and see if you are in the will of God standing still, or if He is leading you to go forward and strengthen your faith.
34 Take On The Armour Of The Lord And Be Prepared
"And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David." I Samuel 17:49-50
God sent the lion and the bear into David's sheep fold to prepare him for his battle against the giant. We have talked about David's faith in God, and how he used his sling and a stone, instead of the armour of Saul which he had not tried or tested. But this is not the final battle in David's life. He must be prepared for the next battle. As I was reading this chapter again this morning, I noticed a little phrase at the end of verse 54, "...he put his armour in his tent." He kept the armour so he could work with it and be able to use it when he needed it. We can be sure that we will go through different types of battles in our lives. Apostle Paul gives us some helpful advice on being prepared for the battles we face in our own lives in Ephesians 6:10-18. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
35 Incomplete Obedience
"And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron." I Samuel 17:52
If we back up to the beginning of the story of David and Goliath, we see that the giant champion of the Philistines was from Gath. King Saul, David, and the army of Israel fought the Philistines all the way back to Gath. Let's back up even farther in the Old Testament to the book of Joshua. “There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.” (Joshua 11:22 & 23) God told the children of Israel to destroy the Anakims in Deuteronomy 9:1-4, not for their righteousness, but “for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.” Again in Deuteronomy 12:2 we read, “Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods…” Joshua did as the Lord commanded except in Gaza, Gath, and in Ashdod. He obeyed, but it was not complete obedience. How did this affect the children of Israel? Samson went to Gaza and met Delilah. She tricked him and he lost the power of God and was bound and blinded by the Philistines. (Judges 16) There is war in Gaza to this day, and we often read in the newspapers of bombing in Gaza. We are just finishing our story of David and the giant, Goliath, who came from Gath. And in I Samuel 5 the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the house of Dagon in Ashdod. Incomplete obedience can cause pain and problems in our lives as well. Joshua 11:23 ends, “And the land rested from war.” But, their failure to completely follow God, brought war and sorrow later on. Obedience is not only following the “thou shalt not” commands of God, but there are also “thou shalt” commands. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
36 After The Victory
"And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward." I Samuel 18:6-9
David returned in victory after the battle of the Philistines. The people all rejoiced. They brought out their music and had a great celebration. Victory was sweet and David was on the mountain. But Saul got jealous and it wouldn't be long before David would be hiding from Saul instead of celebrating in the victory. Saul's pride was hurt when the people lifted David up above him. We can have great victories in the Lord and rejoice, but we can't let our guard down. Pride and jealousy can bring bitter defeat to our victories. You may sing a beautiful song which the Lord uses to bless others, but don't let pride lift you up. Sometimes our close friends can quickly become jealous if we receive recognition above them. A good verse to remember is 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Do all that you do for God's glory and don't let the devil turn your victories into defeat.
37 David Behaved Himself Wisely
“And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants.” I Samuel 18:5
David was a young shepherd boy, and God used him to bring victory over the Philistines but he didn't let it go to his head. This verse tells us that David behaved himself wisely. The people praised David and Saul became very jealous and threw a javelin at David to kill him, but we read again, "And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him." (I Samuel 18:14-15) Jonathan became David's close friend and Saul's daughter became his wife. "And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal Saul's daughter loved him. And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David's enemy continually. Then the princes of the Philistines went forth; and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by." (I Samuel 18:28-30) Three times in this one chapter we read that David behaved himself wisely. This is an important step in growing up in the Lord. We can be young in the Lord, but we need to learn to behave wisely. Seek the Lord and grow in wisdom.
38 David and Jonathan's Covenant
“And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.” I Samuel 20:42
King Saul was determined to kill David, and he told his son Jonathan, "For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die." (I Samuel 20:31) King Saul did not want David to become the next king. Do you remember the story in chapter 15 when God told Saul to destroy Amalek and Saul kept the best of the sheep and oxen? "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. 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." (I Samuel 15:21-11) Samuel also told Saul that the Lord had taken the kingdom from him and given it to a neighbor. King Saul knew that his son would not be king, but he was not willing to give it up easily. In chapter 16 God sent Samuel to Jesse and he anointed David to be the next king. David and his family probably wondered at this visit by the prophet Samuel. I don't think David's brothers accepted this news, given the angry words they spoke to David at the battle of the Philistines. But God in His providence worked everything according to His will. David fought Goliath and became popular among the people. He and Jonathan were very close and made a peace agreement between them. David did not forget his covenant with Jonathan. After Saul and Jonathan were slain in battle and David became king he showed kindness to Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. "And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan's sake?... So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet." (II Samuel 9:1 & 13)
39 Choose Leaders That Know God
“David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.” I Samuel 22:1-2
Let's look at that second verse again. "And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men." Could you find a better description for the people today? People are stressed and distressed. Those in debt are finding it harder and harder to survive with jobs being cut and prices rising. The problems day by day bring discontentment and discouragement. Today is election day and you have a chance to choose a new leader. For months the candidates have been promising change. We need to look beyond the promises of a stable economy and elect leaders that know God. David had escaped with his life from Saul's anger on several occasions. He was hiding out from the King of Israel. Yet, four hundred men knew David and chose him to be their captain. They knew that he was a wise leader and knew God. Pray for our country. Pray for our leaders. Elect leaders who know God. I close with these words of Paul. "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (I Timothy 2:1-4)
40 The Fall Of King Saul
"Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds; That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine." I Samuel 22:7-10
King Saul has come so far from God that he has not only turned against David, but he has turned against his own son Jonathan. Here, in chapter 22, with the help of his wicked servant, he turns against the priests. He commanded his servants to kill Ahimelech and his family because he helped David escape, but they would not kill the priests. Then Saul told Doeg, the Edomite, to kill them and he killed 85 priests, and the men, women and children of the city. He even killed the sheep, oxen, and other animals of the city of Nob. One son of Ahimelech, Abiathar, escaped to tell David. "And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house. Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard." (I Samuel 22:22-23) This must have made David very sorrowful. "And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood. And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth." (I Samuel 23:14-17) David remembered how Samuel anointed him to be king when he was just a shepherd boy. As he hid in the wilderness he looked down at Goliath's sword and remembered how God had given him victory over the giant. But that same sword must also have reminded him of the priests that lost their lives because Ahimelech gave him the sword. All of these memories must have brought questions to his mind, but then Jonathan came "...and strengthened his hand in God. And he said unto him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel,..." We all have ups and downs in our lives. We don't understand the hows and whys of our daily trials. But keep on trusting God. Take it to the Lord in prayer and let Him give you the strength you need to keep on keeping on.
41 David Shows Mercy
"And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD. So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed. Moreover, my father, see yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it...And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not. For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day. And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand." I Samuel 24:6-11 & 16-20
Saul was still trying to kill David and he unknowingly went into a cave where David was hiding. David's men wanted him to kill Saul, but David had mercy and would not kill Saul. David knew how Saul had commanded that the 85 priests and their families be killed. David knew that Saul had tried to kill him many times. But, David had mercy, and Saul finally realized that David would surely be the king of Israel. Saul left from hunting David, but David did not follow after him. In chapter 26 Saul went out again to kill David. David and Abishai went into their camp at night and Abishai wanted to kill Saul, but once again David showed mercy. They took his spear and cruse of water from Saul's bolster and showed him the next day how God had again delivered him into David's hand. David still didn't trust Saul, as we see in the first verse of chapter 27, "And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul..." He went to the land of the Philistines and verse 4 tells us that Saul did not seek after David any more. In many of the Psalms David asked the Lord to be merciful. Remember the words of our Lord in Luke 6:36, "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful."
42 "And Samuel Died..."
"And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran." I Samuel 25:1
We began the book of I Samuel about six weeks ago with the birth of Samuel. Samuel answered God's call as a small boy in the tabernacle, and he grew up in the tabernacle and anointed the first and second kings of Israel. God used Samuel and he is mentioned (along with David) with the faithful in Hebrews 11:32. He died, a faithful servant to the Lord. Turning to the last chapter, I Samuel 31:6 we read, "So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together." King Saul died. He did not stay faithful as Samuel did, but turned away from God. If the Lord tarries His coming, we are all going to die. Just as we read in Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Stay faithful to the Lord. It would be wonderful to hear the Lord say to us, as He said in Matthew 25:21, "...Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
43 Be Encouraged In The Lord
"And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with hm lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, ... And David was greatly distressed;..." I Samuel 30:1-6
This is our last devotional on "Growing In The Lord" from I Samuel. Sometimes in our journey of life we come against trials and tribulations. And just as these men, we may weep, until we have no more power to weep. David had spent his last few years hiding out from King Saul. His wives were taken captive by the Amalekites. He wept until he could weep no more. When it seemed as though things couldn't get any worse we read in the next verse that his men were so distressed they were ready to stone him. "And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters; but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." Trials come. We may feel so distressed that we think things could not be any worse. What can we do in those times of distress? Follow David's example and encourage yourself in the Lord. Read God's Holy Word. Bow on your knees in prayer. Listen to God. Trust in the Lord. Hard times are coming, but be encouraged in the Lord.