The answer to the question I just asked, is that in all of them a prominent theme is that people want a King. But not just any King, they want a King who is strong, good and just, and who will conquer evil enemies.
You may be familiar with the stories of how Arthur Curry became Aquaman and Strider became Aragon, and in this lesson, you’ll learn the history behind how Israel got its first king.
Before the first King Saul, we will look at the life of Samuel, the last of the Judges. He’s a powerful, fascinating character, that though over 13 chapters in the Bible talk about him, we know little of his personal life. But we know a lot about the things he did for God and how his life was the link between the time of the Judges and Israel’s identity as a nation.
CLICK the following link to download a PDF of the notes: PDF of Samuel and Saul Lesson
The Great Story:
Samuel & Saul
the last Judge and the first King of Israel
Teacher Yvon Prehn
A king needs a kingdom
• We’ll do a review of the timelines, geography, and political powers, to set the stage
• First, we need to define his people
• This is the time when the people group, who descended from Abraham, were enslaved in and then delivered from bondage, and who then conquered much of their promised land become a recognizable nation
• IMPORTANT to remind ourselves that the stories told and coming of real people, living in real times and places
• We tend to think our challenges are unique, they aren’t
• Not to belittle any of us and our struggles, but to assure us that nothing happening now or in process surprises our God.
Review of the Timeline
What we studied so far
• Beginning of humanity, created by God, rebelled
• Increased in wickedness until the Flood
• Noah and his sons & wives saved
• Repopulated the earth
• Out of all the people, God calls Abraham to be the founder of a nation through whom the Redeemer of humanity will come
• Family grows, his grandson Jacob has 12 sons and one of them, Joseph, is sold as a slave to Egypt
The story continues
• Joseph is trained as a slave and then a prisoner to become a
• Leader in Egypt and to prepare Egypt for a coming famine by storing grain
• During the famine, his family comes to Egypt, he is reconciled with them and all of them move to Egypt
• It goes well for a time, but disintegrates into oppressive slavery
• The child of slaves, Moses is adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, rejects leadership and comfort in Egypt
• Becomes God’s representative who will lead his people out of Egypt
• They don’t believe God when they get there and so wander for 40 years
• During that time Moses writes the Pentatuch—first 5 books of the Bible
Deuteronomy, the last one
• A restatement of the Law and God’s expectations of His people
• A reminder that their faith (and ours) is a revealed religion—not created by humanity, revealed to them (& us) from God
• Every part of God’s directions for worship & life are revealed
• Theirs is also a covenant religion—because God brought them out of Egypt, He has rights and expectations of them
• Clearly stated obedience=blessings; disobedience= discipline
• Conquered the land
• But not completely
• The land remained filled with idol worship, gross immorality, child sacrifice
• Did not appoint a successor
Judges & Ruth
• Judges—Results of incomplete obedience
• When everyone does what is right in their own eyes–this is the result
• Story of Ruth in the midst
of the immorality of Judges
• Not her alone, Naomi, city
• Boaz: the Kinsman
• God always has his people
A big transition—the Books you will be reading, if following reading plan
• 1 & 2 Samuel (originally 1 book)
• Stories of Samuel, Saul, David
• Psalms, those written by David & others in roughly chronological order
• Some easy to place, some not
• 1 Chronicles (originally 1 book with 2 Chronicles).
• Don’t just retell the same story—so don’t skip, read closely for differences
• One of the last books written, Samuel written hundreds of years before
• Written/Compiled by Ezra after the Babylonian exile—story from priestly perspective
• A review of all OT history—the longest historical span of OT—Adam to the exile
• Though Chronicles tells the many of the same stories as Samuel and Kings
• Very different –focus only on Judah
• Much about the Temple, priests, etc.
• A more “graceful” book, e.g. David’s sin with Bathsheba not mentioned
• When I go through the coming lessons won’t always say this is from Sam or from Chron if it isn’t significant
Samuel—the last Judge
• Story of his birth and mother’s dedication
• Hannah: no children, mocked
• A godly husband, went yearly to offer sacrifices—remember this was an overall very evil time
• Prayed for a son and promises she will give him to God
• Samuel is born and she takes him to Eli the priest
• 1 Samuel 2:1 “How I rejoice in the Lord!
How he has blessed me!
Now I have an answer for my enemies,
For the Lord has solved my problem.
How I rejoice!. . . . . For all the earth is the Lord’s
And he has set the world in order.
9 He will protect his godly ones,
But the wicked shall be silenced in darkness.
No one shall succeed by strength alone.
10 Those who fight against the Lord shall be broken;
He thunders against them from heaven.
He judges throughout the earth.
He gives mighty strength to his king,
And gives great glory to his anointed one.”
• Echoed by Mary
Raised by Eli the priest
• Eli was the chief priest serving the Tabernacle at Shiloh
• Eli’s sons very evil
• Samuel growing up in a divided household
• God’s hand on him
• Difficult beginning of his task—calls him while very young
• “Speak Lord for your servant heareth” 1 Sam. 3
• A difficult message and he delivered it
• Serving God isn’t always about delivering happy messages
• Philistines attack
• Israel panics, brings the Ark into battle
• They are soundly defeated; Philistines capture the Ark, Eli’s two sons are killed
• When Eli hears the Ark was taken, falls back and dies
• Daughter in law dies in delivery, names her child “Ichabod” – the glory has departed
God protects his ark
• Philistines capture it
• Put it in temple of their god Dagon and it falls over
• Move it from city to city as people are struck with plague of mice and “tumors”
• They return it and it stays at Kiraith Jearim for 20 years until David takes it to Jerusalem
• The Tabernacle is in Shiloh
Ark and the Tabernacle separated during this time
• 1 Samuel 3:19-4:1 Living Bible (TLB)
• 19 As Samuel grew, the Lord was with him and people listened carefully to his advice. 20 And all Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was going to be a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord began to give messages to him there at the Tabernacle in Shiloh, 4 1 and he passed them on to the people of Israel.
• United the people after Ark and Shiloh destroyed, 1 Samuel 7:5-12 New International Version (NIV)
• 5 Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.”……
• 10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle. But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites. 11 The men of Israel rushed out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, slaughtering them along the way to a point below Beth Kar.
• 12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”…..
• Continued victory against Philistines all of Samuel’s life
• He led, traveled as a judge around a circuit of cities
• Started a school of prophets
• Life-long obedience even during difficult times
But still, The people ask for a king
• Samuel grows old and his sons who he appointed as judges “took bribes and perverted judgement”
• The people asks for a king so they have someone to lead them in battle and “be like the other nations”
• God assured Samuel they were not rejecting him, but God
• He anoints Saul and his story is the chapter of the Great Story we will talk about next
• But for the next lesson before Easter, the Last Words of Jesus
We talked about types previously
• How God does things in a way that can be a picture of what he will do in the future
• In the previous series of lessons we’ve seen how God prepared a people, formed them into a kingdom which will soon be led by David, a man after God’s heart
• This story is a type of what God is doing now
• He is preparing a people, all who are believers
• For his Son, Jesus to rule forever
• But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; Peter 2:9
• and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:6
• It may take time, we may have some good and some unjust earthly kings in charge for a time
• But King Jesus is coming –we can be sure of that and His kingdom of good and peace will have no end.
• May we serve him well as his representatives until that time.