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The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel's words fall to the ground. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. (1 Sam 3:19-21 NIV)

Devotion - The birth of Samuel was a direct gift from God to a woman longing for children (ch. 1). Samuel is given as a young boy to live with Eli in the house of the Lord at Shiloh (ch. 2). From childhood Samuel had direct messages from God to guide him and the people of Israel. In the text above, God declares that none of Samuel's words were wasted. What a powerful testimony about this great servant of the Lord and his tremendous value to God.

Transitions - Samuel was the last of the judge/prophet leaders over Israel. Samuel anointed the first king over Israel to lead them (ch.9-10). He also later revoked that kingship (ch. 15) and anointed the successor, David, to the throne (ch. 16). During Samuel's lifetime, Israel went from a rough collection of tribes to a nation lead by kings. However, many of the changes that were to come would not be good for Israel.

Tragedy - The books of Samuel also contain much heartache. God's first revelation to Samuel was a condemnation of Samuel's mentor, Eli. Eli's sons were wicked but since he would not discipline them, God took their lives (ch. 2-3).

Samuel's sons also became judges over Israel. Surprisingly, they too grew up undisciplined and ungodly, which was a major factor in Israel demanding a king to rule over them (ch. 8).

Samuel loved King Saul but would be forced by God to deliver the words of Saul's destruction then mourned for him for a long time (ch. 15-16).

Samuel went on to appoint David to reign in the place of Saul. David had a true love for God and wrote the beautiful Psalms. but he was also guilty of a vile tryst of seduction, adultery, conspiracy and murder. These acts would keep him from being allowed to build the house of the Lord. With some "minor" adjustments to these stories, their lives could have been outstanding in the service of God. What lessons are here for us?

- Tim Orbison


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