BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 3: 1 Samuel 16:14-23

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Summary of 1 Samuel 16:14-23:

God left Samuel and put an evil spirit upon him. His servants thought music, a harpist, would help. They suggest David whom the Lord is with. Saul sent for David who came with a donkey loaded with bread, wine, and a goat. Saul liked David and promoted him to armor-bearer. The evil spirit did leave Saul when David played.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 3: 1 Samuel 16:14-23:

6) The Spirit of the Lord has left Saul due to his disobedience of God’s laws and commands and an evil spirit has descended who is afflicting Saul with madness, blindness, and confusion of mind. Saul has been rejected as king of Israel by God and is being punished for his sins. Saul has never repented (meaning his repentance like in 1 Samuel 15:25 which was riddled with excuses) of his sins.

7) God has David called to minister to Saul through his music at the palace. David got promoted to armor bearer, the right-hand man of the person in battle. Hence, David is serving Saul faithfully. He’s excelling at it. The two are probably great friends. There is no jealousy in David since he’s the anointed king right now. David is being faithful to God, waiting on Him, and in the meantime, shining God’s light wherever he goes and into the lives of those around him.

8) Personal Question. My answer: He’s called me to write here at this forum and in my job. He’s called me to be a mother and pass on that learning to my children. I think He is using me to show others determination and a desire to never quit through my sports.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 3: 1 Samuel 16:14-23:

We see immediately how God uses David to help Saul, and in the process is training David for greatness. God is good. He does not abandon Saul, and He grows David slowly without throwing him into the kinghood.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 3: 1 Samuel 16:14-23:

As the Holy Spirit came upon David (1 Samuel 16:13), the Holy Spirit left Saul and an evil one replaced it.

Why would God send an evil spirit upon Saul?Image result for 1 samuel 16

  • First, God did not send. He allowed.

Actively, God never initiates or performs evil; He is the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17). Passively, God may withdraw the hand of His protection and therefore allow evil to come, without being the source of the evil itself.

Saul lost his protections when the Spirit of the Lord departed. So Satan was able to fill that void.

For us as Christians, the continual presence of the Holy Spirit is such a comfort. We don’t have to fear that God will take the Holy Spirit from us (Romans 8:9-111 Corinthians 6:19-20)–thanks to Christ.

  • This was to judge Saul’s past wickedness and rebellion against the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This may be an example of God giving Saul over to his sin.

Saul clearly had the Spirit of the LORD upon him at one time (1 Samuel 10:10). As he was proud and rebellious against God, Saul resisted the Holy Spirit. He told the Holy Spirit “No” and “Go away” so many times that God finally gave Saul what he wanted. But Saul never realized the price to pay when the Spirit of the LORD departed from him. Saul thought he would be freer to do his thing without the Spirit of the LORD “bugging” him. He didn’t realize he would be in even more bondage to a distressing spirit that troubled him.

Even in this fallen state, Saul could repent. It was up to him to receive God’s correction and respond with a tender, repentant heart before the LORD.

Today, Saul would probably be diagnosed as mentally ill. Yet his problem was spiritual in nature, not mental or psychological. So many of our problems are caused by a lack of closeness with God.

The Power of Music

Saul’s servants advise him to find what we would call a “worship leader.” They will seek out a man who can, using music, bring the love, peace, and power of God to Saul. King Saul needed to be led into worship, so it was important to seek out a man to do the job.

God created music and gave it the capability to touch people with great power. Music can be used for great good or for great evil because it so powerfully communicates to our inner being.

In the past, Saul received the Spirit of the LORD in the presence of music (1 Samuel 10:10). Perhaps this is an effort to create that experience again.

The 5 Characteristics of a Worship Leader

  1. David needed skill
  2. David needed bravery.  Music can become more about the need for the spotlight than about God himself.
  3. David needed to speak well — to know when to pray and when not to pray
  4. David needed to be fine-looking. For us, this means dressing while leading worship to blend into the band. Don’t dress to stand out and draw attention to yourself and away from God.
  5. David needed the Lord with Him. To submit to God and His will.

Image result for 1 samuel 16After the anointing, David went back to attending sheep. It was not yet his time. The Spirit of the Lord would bring Him to the palace.

Saul immediately liked David who played the harp or lyre (a precursor to the guitar). He made him his armor bearer. An armor bearer is the chief assistant in battle. A soldier’s life often depended on the courage and faithfulness of his armor bearer, and Saul knew David was worthy of this position.

This was an important time in David’s life and training for God’s destiny for him. For the first time he lived in a royal court and began to learn the customs and manners he needed to know to be a good king later in life. God uses David to minister to Saul. God is good!

 

 

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

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1 Samuel 16:1-13:

God speaks to Samuel and sends him off to Bethlehem, where God has chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be king. He needs Samuel to anoint the new king. Samuel is afraid Saul will get wind of this and kill him. God tells him to take a heifer as sacrifice.

Samuel obeyed. The elders were afraid upon seeing Samuel. Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice and told them to consecrate themselves. Looking at the heart of man, God chooses Jesse’s youngest son, David, who was attending the sheep at the time. Samuel anoints him in front of the family and then returns to Ramah.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

3) Part personal Question. My answer: God gives Samuel encouragement by having him anoint the new king, which is always exciting news! He also tells Samuel not to worry about his life being threatened by Saul as He has a plan. When God tells you to do something, He will take care of all loose ends. All you have to do is obey. Let God do the rest and don’t worry about the logistics of it all.

4) Part personal Question. My answer: God tells Samuel “Do not consider appearance or height…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Appearances are deceiving and we have to look at the person underneath and what heart they have, not the physical appearance.

5) Personal question. My answer: God values the heart. God knows the secrets of the heart. You can’t hide from God. I value how I treat others and who I am as a person as a whole. Man’s nature is to judge by appearances. It’s really hard for first impressions, but if you consciously focus on it, you can see the heart of people. I think most of us get this beyond first impressions.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35:

We see how we’re supposed to see people, and we see the comfort of God with Samuel. Great stuff!

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 10, Day 2: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 with 1 Samuel 15:34-35

1 Samuel 16:1-13:

Jesse was the grandson of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 4:1722).

Samuel was committing treason by anointing another king. His first response is fear, as is most of ours. God overcomes all.

God ruled Israel whether they acknowledged Him or not. They faced a choice: submit to God and enjoy the benefits or resist God and suffer. The choice of Israel didn’t affect the outcome of God’s plans for them; it only made life easy or hard.

Today as we face uncertainty in politics, we don’t have to worry. God raises up leaders, probably in an unlikely place such as with David.

This is God’s king (“for me”). The people had had theirs (Saul).

Bethlehem was a small town not very far from Jerusalem. It was the home of Ruth and Boaz, from whom the family of Jesse descended. It was a hilly grain-growing region with many small grain fields carved into the hillsides. And, as we all know, Bethlehem hosted the birth of Jesus.

The elders had just experienced the death of the Amalekite king, Agag (1 Samuel 15:33), at the hands of Samuel. Thsi is why they are afraid.

The idea was not that Jesse and his sons were to just watch Samuel sacrifice this heifer. They would watch the sacrifice and then share in a large ceremonial meal, eating the meat that came from the sacrificed animal.

What’s the difference between a peace offering and an atonement offering?

  • When an animal was sacrificed to atone for sin, none of it was eaten. It was all burned before the LORD. But when an animal was sacrificed as a peace offering, a fellowship offering, or a consecration offering, then part of the animal was burnt before the LORD, and part of it was eaten in a special ceremonial meal.

Image result for 1 samuel 16God Chooses His King

Samuel made the mistake of judging Eliab based on his appearance. This was the same mistake Israel made with Saul. He looked the part but lacked God’s heart.

Why was David not invited to the feast?

Tending the sheep was not a glamorous job and was usually a servant’s job. As the youngest, it fell to David to do so. The family must have been poor since they had no servants to do this work. David must not have been favored at all in his family. The youngest son stood to inherit no land in ancient Israel, so he was unimportant.

  1. His father didn’t even mention him by name.
  2. He wasn’t even invited to the sacrificial feast.
  3. He was only called to come because Samuel insisted on it.

I wonder if this was due in some part to jealousy like Joseph. David was obviously special in some way; family is usually not blind to this.

God often chooses unlikely people to do His work, so that all know the work is God’s work, not man’s work.

A shepherd’s work

  • As a shepherd, you had a lot of time to think and contemplate God’s greatness such as David did in (Psalm 19:1-4 and Psalm 8.
  • Sheep needed care and tending. God built in David the heart that would sing about the LORD as his shepherd (as in Psalm 23).
  • Sheep needed protecting. God protected David.
  • David was a great man and a great king over Israel because he never lost his shepherd’s heart. Psalm 78:70-72 speaks of the connection between David the king and David the shepherd: He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

The physical description of David tells us he had a fair complexion (ruddy), and a light complexion was considered attractive in that culture. He had bright eyes, which speak of vitality and intelligence. David was also good-looking.

We don’t know how old David was at this time, but scholars estimate anywhere between 10 and 15 years old.

What do we learn from God’s choice of David as King of Israel?

God’s choice of David shows that we don’t have to quit our jobs and enter into full-time ministry to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need to be famous or prominent to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need to be respected or even liked by others to be people after God’s own heart. We don’t need status, influence, power, the respect or approval of men, or great responsibilities to be people after God’s own heart.

Where did David get his heart?

Where did David get this heart? From time spent with the LORD. But someone started him on that path. David says nothing of his father, but twice in the Psalms he refers to his mother as a maid servant of the LORD (Psalm 86:16 and 116:16). Probably, it was David’s godly mother who poured her heart and love and devotion of the LORD into him and gave him a foundation to build on in his own walk with the LORD. Like Timothy, God used David’s mother to pour into him a godly faith (2 Timothy 1:5).

Probably no one thought much of this anointing. They probably didn’t think it was a royal anointing. The real anointing was the Holy Spirit upon David.

Fun Fact:  1 Samuel 16:13 is the first mention of the name “David” in the book of 1 Samuel. He has been referred to prophetically before (as in 1 Samuel 13:14 and 15:28). But this is the first mention of his name, which means “Beloved” or “Loved One.”

Fun Fact: David will become one of the greatest men of the Bible, mentioned more than 1,000 times in the pages of Scripture – more than Abraham, more than Moses, more than any man in the New Testament. It’s no accident that Jesus wasn’t known as the “Son of Abraham” or the “Follower of Moses,” but as the Son of David (Matthew 9:27 and at least a dozen other places).

Bible Scholar Meyer on David: “From whatever side we view the life of David, it is remarkable. It may be that Abraham excelled him in faith, and Moses in the power of concentrated fellowship with God, and Elijah in the fiery force of his enthusiasm. But none of these was so many-sided as the richly gifted son of Jesse.”

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15

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Summary 1 Samuel 14:

Jonathan decides to attack the Philistines single-handedly with just his armor-bearer by his side. They both climbed up a cliff to where the Philistines were who told Jonathan to come to them. They took Jonathan’s approach as all of the Israelites were crawling out of their holes. They killed 20 Philistines.

Image result for 1 samuel 14The Lord struck confusion on the Philistines in their camp. Saul saw this and rallied his men to join in the attack. All the Israelites who had hidden came out to help in the battle when they heard what was happening. The Lord rescued the Israelites.

Saul had cursed his army not to eat, all of whom were ravished and hungry. Jonathan eats honey he finds, not knowing about his father’s curse. When he is told of his father’s curse, he ignores it. The men slaughtered the animals of the Philistines and ate all of it, including the blood, because they were so hungry. Saul sacrificed to the Lord and then wanted to kill his own son for eating honey, but the men saved Jonathan, saying he was the one who defeated the Philistines.

Saul continues conquests against the surrounding peoples and enemies of Israel.

Summary 1 Saul 15:

God orders Saul to punish the Amalekites for unprovoked attacks when the Israelites were leaving Egypt (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19) and totally destroy them. Saul did not obey the Lord. He did not destroy everything, keeping the best of the plunder.

God is grieved by Saul’s misbehavior who has since set up a monument to himself. Saul claims the good plunder is to be sacrificed to the Lord. Samuel says obedience is better than sacrifices. He informs Saul God has rejected him as king. Only then does Saul admit he sinned, and Saul begs to be forgiven.

Saul says God does not change His mind. Samuel is the one to put the king of the Amalekites to death. Samuel returns home to Ramah, grieved over Saul.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

13) Personal Question. My answer: It encourages and inspires me that I can make a difference at just one person in this world. We all make a difference every day — I just think we don’t acknowledge it. I like how Jonathan is the wisdom here, eating honey and saying how his father is an idiot for that curse. Jonathan also is inspiring to see how he relies on God and bucks the trends when God says to do so.

14) Saul basically lets others do the hard work, and then he swoops in to claim all the credit. He waits until things are going his way to act. To me, he’s weak-willed and only a leader in good times, not bad.

15) Part personal Question. My answer: Saul claims he was saving the best of the best to sacrifice to God, and he says how he was afraid of the people so he gave in (he blamed others essentially). We do the same thing: blame others for our actions. We procrastinate, saying now is not the right time. Or we say let someone else do it.

16) Personal Question. My answer: God wants total obedience. Even if we think we’re doing something for good and God says otherwise, follow God. He has his reasons for asking us to do things and we, not being omniscient, just need to obey. We can’t assume we know better than God. It’s easier just to follow God anyways. It takes all the decision making out of the equation.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

Following God is easier than you think: you just do it. I love these chapters. You see Jonathan taking matters into his own hands with God and you see Saul taking matters into his own hands against God. The results? Saul is rejected. Jonathan is saved. Nothing says it better.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 5: 1 Samuel 14-15:

1 Samuel 14:

The armor bearer was just that — bearing the armor of the officer he served. He as like the squires of the Middle Ages–the person assigned to help the officer do his duty.

There are many stories in the bible where God multiplies forces (Judges 3:31 described Shamgar’s victory over 600 Philistines with a sharp stick and Leviticus 26:8 saysFive of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.

This is where Jonathan is coming from. He’s going to rely on God and see what he’ll do. He does not tell his father who was lazily sitting under a tree.

Jonathan did not do this for glory because he did not tell anyone of his plans. God guided Jonathan to a narrow path through a pass with large, sharp rocks on either side — the perfect place to fight a few men at at time.

Why did Jonathan step out in faith and risk his own life?

  • Someone had to have faith. The situation for the Israelites was dismal: greatly outnumbered.
  • Someone had to allow God to use them.
  • Someone had to allow God to prove His word and that He was still with the Israelites.

What do we learn from Jonathan’s example?

  • Only unbelief restrains God (Matthew 13:58). God’s power is never restrained.

Jonathan’s armor-bearer encourages and supports Jonathan. When something is done in God’s name, support always follows.

Jonathan tests God, but he tests God out of faith. Gideon doubted God’s word (Judges 6:36-40); Jonathan doubted himself. The battle was God’s, but Jonathan still had a role to play by fighting.

God uses the swords of the Philistines against themselves since the Israelites had no swords.

Saul procrastinates. He wants to see who is doing his job (and who’ll get the credit for it), and he wants to pray. The time to fight is now, which he eventually does.

Why the curse of Saul on his own men?

  • Saul’s curse was personal — so he could take vengeance on the Philistines. It was God’s honor and the security of his people he should have been fighting for.
  • Saul did not have the authority to order a fast — only Samuel, a priest, did.

Pursuing an army takes energy. God provided the honey for the men to replenish themselves. Jonathan understood this and said as much.

God commanded Israel to drain the blood from an animal before butchering it (Deuteronomy 12:23-25). The disobedience here stemmed from the people obeying Saul’s foolish command and them being so hungry they ate with the blood still in the animals, which resulted in disobeying God’s.

Legalistic rules lead us into sin because they either provoke our rebellion or they lead us into legalistic pride. Saul being Saul, blamed the people for their disobedience when it was his fault.

Background on Urim and Thummim

Image result for urim and thummimUrim and Thummim are mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 28:30Numbers 27:211 Samuel 28:6Ezra 2:63Nehemiah 7:65) and may have been used elsewhere to inquire of God (Judges 1:1 and Judges 20:1823).

Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. Most bible scholars think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The High Priest would ask God a question, reach into the breastplate, and pull our either a “yes” or a “no.”

Saul wants to spare Agag (Chapter 15), but kill his own son.

Saul wanted to find the wrong doer by the casting of lots. They separated the people into two groups, and then selected one group by a “low” or “high” roll of something like dice. The group was narrowed until they found the one. This was meant to show he was innocent.

Perfect lot” in the Hebrew is very close to the word for Thummim. They probably used the Urim and Thummim as the way to cast the lot.

Saul was willing to kill his son rather than to humbly admit that he was really at fault. All humility Saul had (1 Samuel 10:21), is now gone replaced by pride.

Why spare Jonathan?

  1. The oath itself to put Jonathan to death was foolish and should not have been enforced.
  2. Jonathan broke the oath in ignorance.
  3. Jonathan’s bold faith in God had much more to do with the victory on that day than Saul’s foolish oath. In fact, the victory would have been greater otherwise.

1 Samuel 15:

Totally destroy: This Hebrew verb (heherim) is used seven times in this account. The idea of total, complete judgment is certainly stressed. This verb refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.

Even though God doesn’t have to, He explains to us why. Centuries before this the Amalekites were the first people to attack Israel after their escape from Egypt:

  • Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-LORD-Is-My-Banner; for he said, “Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:14-16Deuteronomy 25:17-19 repeats this idea.

The Amalekites committed a terrible sin against Israel. When the nation was weak and vulnerable, the Amalekites attacked the weakest and most vulnerable of the nation (Deuteronomy 25:18). They did this for no reasons except violence and greed. God hates it when the strong take cruel advantage over the weak, especially when the weak are His people.

Why did God wait to punish the Amalekites?

  1. God through his mercy gave the Amalekites 400 years to repent. They did not. Time does not erase sin before God.  Men should be forgiving of one another because we are not the judgers. Only Jesus can erase sin.
  2. God used the Amalekites as a test of obedience for Saul.
  3. God wanted to make the judgment fit the sin.

Would God call His people today to fight a war of judgment?

Under the New Covenant, we are called for (John 18:36).

Saul is merciful in letting the Kenites go.

Most armies worked for the plunder of the people they were conquering in ancient times. But with the Israelites, when the battle was for judgment, they were not to benefit in any way.

What lesson do we learn from Saul?Image result for 1 samuel 15

Partial obedience is complete disobedience. There is nothing happy about plundering towns and killing people. God judges reluctantly.

When God explains Himself to man in human terms it’s called anthropomorphism. God does this out of grace so man can have some understanding of God’s heart. God knew from the beginning Saul’s heart, ways, and destiny. God already sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet as all this unfolded, God’s heart was not emotionless. Saul’s disobedience hurt God, and since we can’t grasp all what happens in God’s heart, the closest that we can come is for God to express it in the human terms of saying, I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king.”

Samuel had God’s heart. It hurt God to reject Saul, and it hurt God’s prophet to see him rejected.

Lesson learned from God’s grieving heart:

  • We are close to God’s heart when the things that grieve Him grieve us, and the things that please God please us.

Saul wasn’t grieved over his sin. Saul was quite pleased with himself! There is not the slightest bit of shame or guilt in Saul, even though he directly disobeyed the LORD.

David, in contrast to Saul, was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Even though David would also disobeyed God, David felt the guilt and shame one should feel when they sin. Saul didn’t feel it. His conscience was dead to shame, and his heart was dead to God. Saul’s heart was so dead he could directly disobey God and still set up a monument for himself on the occasion.

Saul had such potential as we saw in (1 Samuel 9:21) and (1 Samuel 10:22). Humans are the same no matter what–evil. Saul let the evil prevail instead of letting God have his heart.

What lesson do we learn from Saul’s pride and monument to himself?

  • Pride and disobedience make us blind – or deaf – to our own sin. We need to constantly ask God to show us our sins: Psalm 139:23-24Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saul’s excuses:

  1. “The people did it.”
  2. “I destroyed the rest.”
  3. “I kept the only the best.”
  4. “This is all for God.”

This says it all (verse 15): “the Lord YOUR God.” Saul did not consider God his anymore. Tragic.

Saul did not even destroy the rest; there were still Amalekites left alive. David later had to deal with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 27:830:12 Samuel 8:12). Haman, the evil man who tried to wipe out all the Jewish people in the days of Esther, was a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1). When Saul was killed on the field of battle, an Amalekite claimed to deliver the final thrust of the sword (2 Samuel 1:8-10).

Lesson learned when we don’t obey God fully:

  • When we don’t obey God completely, the “leftover” portion will surely come back and trouble us, if not kill us.

Saul again throws his own people under the bus even though they were only following orders.

What does God want from us?

God knew Saul’s heart — he would never be obedient to HIm. Rebellion lived in his heart.

Saul rejects his sin — with a caveat — the blame game again.

We see Saul’s desperation in the ripping of Samuel’s robe. Saul is desperately clinging onto pride and stubbornness instead of clinging to God Himself.

Fun Fact: Samuel uses a title for the LORD found only here in the whole Bible: The Strength of Israel or the Glory of Israel, reminding Saul who is in charge.

Saul is far more concerned with his image than his soul. Saul remains in power only because David is not ready yet.

Samuel completes God’s command and kills the king of the Amalekites himself by hacking him to pieces. He does this before the Lord and for the Lord.

Sadly, Saul never came to see Samuel even though Ramah and Gibeah were less than ten miles apart. Saul needed to come to Samuel to repent. He never did.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel 12-13

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Summary of 1 Samuel 12:

Samuel, having found a king the people asked for and served the people of Israel faithfully, retires. Samuel warns God will be against them if they do not obey like it was against their forefathers.

Samuel called out thunder and rain as a sign the people did evil by asking for a king. The people were afraid then, but Samuel reassures them that if they obey, serve God faithfully, and fear Him and remember the great things the Lord has done for them, then the Israelites will prosper.

Summary of 1 Samuel 13:

Saul was 30 when he became king of Israel. He reigned 42 years. Saul’s son, Jonathan, took 3000 men and attacked the Philistines at Geba. The Philistines then prepared to counter-attack with 3000 chariots and soldiers as numerous as sand on the seashore at Micmash. The Israelites then hid in caves and thickets, afraid of the Philistines. Saul remained at Gilgal and waited 7 days for Samuel to show up. When Samuel didn’t show up, the men began to scatter. So Saul offered up his own burnt offerings.

Samuel shows up, sees the impatience in Saul, and rebukes Saul for not keeping the Lord’s command. This cost him his kingship for all time. Now, the Lord has sought a man after His own heart to be leader of the Israelites.

Samuel departs, leaving Saul and his son, Jonathan, and a few men. The Philistines attacked in raiding parties. The Israelites had no weapons because the the Philistines had outlawed blacksmiths so the Israelites couldn’t get weapons. Hence, on the day of battle, no one was armed but Saul and Jonathan.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel :12-13:

9) Samuel said he has never cheated nor oppressed the people of Israel nor has he accepted a bribe. He told all of what God has done for the people, and he said if the people turn from God to evil, they will have God’s hand against them. He told them it was an evil thing to ask for a king and God confirmed this by sending thunder and rain.

10) The people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel and were afraid. Samuel told them as long as they obeyed the Lord and served Him and no others, God will be with them. Samuel said he would pray for them and teach them good from bad and that God would not reject them.

11) Saul disobeyed Samuel’s commands because he was impatient, and he was afraid. When his men got antsy and began fleeing, Saul panicked. Instead of praying to God for guidance, he took matters into his own hands. He felt like he needed to do something when, in fact, the something was praying and waiting for Samuel who wouldn’t break his word. How often do we do this?

The consequences were severe: God was going to use Saul to establish His kingdom for all time. Now, he’s choose another man after His own heart.

12) Personal Question. My answers: Society pressures us all the time with “Everything else is doing it and don’t you want to fit in?” crap. Friends pressure us as well (peer pressure). To compromise your own morals and values. Consequences are mostly delays or prolonged suffering.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4 : 1 Samuel 12-13:

Great lesson in waiting on God and seeking God. We do feel like we need to be taking action when often as not we need to be waiting on God.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel 12-13:

1 Samuel 12:

Samuel takes the opportunity of Saul’s coronation to speak to the people.

Here he helped Israel make the transition from Samuel’s leadership to Saul’s leadership. Samuel made this clear when he said, “now here is the king” and “I am old and gray headed.” Samuel told Israel that his day was over, and Saul’s day was beginning.

Samuel’s life of Godly-devotion and Leadership

Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life (1 Samuel 7:15), but now that a king was raised up, his role would change and diminish. Samuel never officially “stepped down” from leading Israel as a judge but didn’t allow his shadow to eclipse Saul.

Samuel showed himself as a truly godly man. He was willing to pass from the scene when God brought up another leader. Samuel did not grasp onto a position when God wanted to change it.

Samuel wanted it clearly known that it was not his idea to appoint a king over Israel. This idea began in the hearts of Israel, not in the heart and mind of God.

In 1 Samuel 8:1-5, Samuel was challenged to take his sons out of leadership in Israel because they were not godly men. Though it must have been difficult, he did it. The words my sons are with you are proof; Samuel’s sons were simply a part of the assembly of Israel and not “up on the platform” with Samuel.

Unlike some political and religious leaders who get caught up in financial scandals, Samuel considered himself publicly accountable.

All parties agreed Samuel had led Israel well. This is the second time Samuel mentioned His anointed in this passage, and the phrase refers to Saul, because he was anointed as king (1 Samuel 10:1). Samuel deliberately included Saul in all this to make the idea of a transition between his leadership and Saul’s clear.

How could the Lord witness against them?

Samuel was covering all his bases. If he were ever accused of wrongdoing, he could call the Israelites back to this moment where they said no. Furthermore, if Israel ever tried to blame Saul’s problems on Samuel, what they said here would be a witness against them.

What are the righteous acts performed by the Lord?

  1.  Israel was saved from slavery and given a new life by God in the Promised Land.
  2. God allowed a disobedient Israel to be dominated by their enemies (Sisera), as a chastisement intending to bring them to repentance.
  3. When Israel cried out to God, confessed their sin, and humbled themselves in repentance before Him, He delivered them.
  4.  Samuel linked together the story of God’s deliverance for Israel from the time of the Exodus to the God’s routing of the Ammonites.

Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon (Judges 6:32). There is no mention of Bedan in the Book of Judges. Perhaps he was a deliverer known in their history, but not recorded in the Book of Judges. Or, Bedan may be a variant spelling or name for Barak, mentioned in Judges 4:6. The Septuagint, an ancient translation of the Old Testament, translates the name as Barak. Other ancient translations have Samson, and some commentators believe Jair is intended.

As Israel made the transition into monarchy, they must remember the righteous acts of the LORD. Everything the LORD will do is in the setting of what He has already done in our lives.

The LORD was a good king for Israel, but an earthy king was for carnal and fleshly reasons only.

Even with one bad choice (earthly king) God would still bless Israel if they obeyed. The choice was theirs.

Why did Samuel ask for a sign from God now instead of earlier?Image result for 1 samuel 12

  • Because God had a purpose in allowing the “people’s king,” Saul, to come first.
  • Because if it had happened in the first days of Saul’s reign, the people would have cast Saul off just as quickly and just as wrongly as they asked for him. Now, that his reign has been confirmed by the victory of 1 Samuel 11 and accepted by the people, they can be more directly confronted with their sin.
  • Because Samuel might have been accused of reproving the people out of a personal sense of hurt. By waiting until now, everyone knew that Samuel wasn’t saying, “Get rid of Saul so I can lead the nation again.”
  • Because Israel rejoiced greatly (1 Samuel 11:15). They were perhaps a little too excited about their new king, and Samuel wants them to have a more spiritual perspective.

Thunder and rain were unusual during the wheat harvest. This was a remarkable sign from God and a sign of judgement (Prov. 26:1). Heavy rain during the harvest could destroy all their crops.

Finally, Israel saw their sin of wanting a king. They saw it too late; if only they had realized it in 1 Samuel 8, when Samuel first warned them! Now they are stuck with a king, yet God can still turn it for good if Israel will repent and seek the LORD.

What do we learn from the sin of Israel asking for a king?

  • God still loves Israel despite their sin. They could still serve the LORD and still see His blessing because God loves them. His favor towards Israel was for His great name’s sake because it pleased the LORD to do it. The reasons were in Him, not in Israel.
  • God still loves us despite all the mistakes we’ve done. It’s all in the past. Move forward in His name.

Image result for 1 samuel 12Samuel will not forsake Israel; he will still pray and teach them.

We serve God because of the great things He has done for us. We tend to focus on our problems instead of remembering His greatness.

Sad warning became the legacy of Israel when they were conquered and taken from the land in captivity as they persisted in doing evil.

Bible scholar Clarke says it best: “Never was a people more fully warned, and never did a people profit less by the warning.”

1 Samuel 13:

This was the first regular army for Israel. Remember Israel has been operating an army only during times of war.

Fun Fact: This is the first mention of Saul’s son Jonathan. He will be a prominent and wonderful part of 1 Samuel.

Jonathan was a remarkable military leader, leading one successful attack after another. This attack  awakened the Philistines who thought Israel was just another one of their subjects. They were wrong.

Archaeologists have found this Philistine fortress at Geba (also known as Gibeah).

Saul  took credit for Jonathan’s bold attack on the Philistines — not a good reflection of Saul’s character.

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What do we learn from the Israelites being afraid and scattering?

  • A king doesn’t solve the Israelites problems. God solves problems.

Saul was afraid too. He wanted to strike before the Philistines could assemble.

Why couldn’t Saul offer a burnt offering?

  1. Only priests could offer sacrifices.
  2. Saul didn’t wait on Samuel.

When you combine civic duties with religious duties, you often get a conflict of interest that just doesn’t ever work out.  In 2 Chronicles 26 King Uzziah tried to do the work of priest and God struck him with leprosy.

The last minutes of waiting are the hardest and where we face the most temptation. If Saul had only waited an hour more, history would be different.

The Hebrew says that Saul wanted to bless Samuel – perhaps as a priest blesses the people. Saul apparently saw nothing wrong with what he had done as his ego is beginning to overinflate.

Saul spouts excuse after excuse when confronted by Samuel.Image result for 1 samuel 13

  • Saul felt he had to do something
  • Saul blames Samuel for his actions since he was late
  • The Philistines were about to attack
  • He had to do it (because a gun was to his head)

Classic excuses man always makes instead of taking responsibility for your actions. Given the fact he didn’t ask what he had done wrong, we know Saul knew he had done wrong. He willfully sinned.

A fool in the Bible is no light term. Samuel here is calling Saul morally and spiritually lacking.

Excuses don’t get you out of consequences. The whole point of having a king was to establish a dynasty where one’s sons sat on the throne afterwards. Saul messed that one up big time~

The punishment was harsh for seemingly a little sin. But like Moses who would die before stepping foot in the Promised Land for breaking faith with God (Deuteronomy 32:51-52), a sin is a sin in God’s eyes. Perhaps if Saul had repented, God might have relented. But he didn’t.

God rejected Saul, not Israel. He would provide a new king — a king after His own heart. Saul was clearly not a man after God’s own heart.

Who is someone after God’s own heart?

  • He or she honors the Lord. Saul was more concerned with his will than God’s will. David knew God’s will was most important. Even when David didn’t do God’s will, he still knew God’s will was more important. All sin is a disregard of God, but David sinned more out of weakness and Saul more out of a disregard for God.
  • He or she puts God as king. For Saul, Saul was king. For David, the LORD God was king. Both David and Saul knew sacrifice before battle was important. But David thought it was important because it pleased and honored God. Saul thought it was important because it might help him win the battle. Saul thought God would help him achieve his goals. David thought that God was the goal.
  • He or she has a repentant heart. When Saul was confronted with his sin, he offered excuses. When David was confronted with his sin, he confessed his sin and repented (2 Samuel 12:13).
  • He or she loves others. Saul became increasingly bitter against people and lived more and more unto himself, but David loved people. When David was down and out he still loved and served those who were even more down and out (1 Samuel 22:1-2).

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Saul’s army had shrunk from 3000 to 600. God was testing Saul, and Saul failed.

The Philistines had superior military technology and they wanted to keep it that way. Since they were a seafaring people, the Philistines traded with the technologically sophisticated cultures to the west, especially the Greeks. They imported weapons and know-how from those distant lands. By carefully guarding their military technology, the Philistines kept the Israelites in a subservient place.

Lessons We Learn from the Philistines

God has concluded 1 Samuel 13 with an army of nothing but their bare hands to fight with. He has taken everything away from them, forcing them to completely rely on Him to win and save their lives. How often does God do this to us?

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10

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Summary 1 Samuel 9:

Saul, a tall young man, was sent by his father, Kish, to find their donkeys. Saul’s servant suggests they go ask a man of God where the donkeys are because they couldn’t find the donkeys. The man of God is Samuel, and God had told Samuel the day before to anoint a man from Benjamin as the leader of the Israelites. God tells Samuel Saul is the one once Saul meets Samuel. Saul and Samuel ate together.

Summary 1 Samuel 10:

Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head, anointing him leader. Samuel instructs Saul, telling him hes’ going to meet 2 men near Rachel’s tomb, 3 men at the tree of Tabor who will give you bread, and then you’ll be changed into a different person when you meet a procession of prophets and prophecy with them. Then Saul is to wait for Samuel at Gilgal. All of this occurred and the Spirit of God descended upon Saul and changed him.

Image result for 1 samuel 10Samuel gathered the people of Israel at Mizpah to present Saul as king. Saul at first hid and had to be brought out. Samuel told the people the regulations of being king and wrote them down. Some were not happy with God’s choice of Saul as king.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

3) Directly. God told Samuel the day ahead of time of the circumstances of meeting Saul and that he was a Benjamite and then when Samuel actually met Saul, God spoke again to make it clear His choice. This had to be important for God to be so directly involved.

4) Samuel instructs Saul, telling him hes’ going to meet 2 men near Rachel’s tomb, 3 men at the tree of Tabor who will give you bread, and then you’ll be changed into a different person when you meet a procession of prophets and prophecy with them. Then Saul is to wait for Samuel at Gilgal. All of this occurred and the Spirit of God descended upon Saul and changed him. The king was to be commanded and directed by God and obey God. The prophets such as Samuel were to reveal God’s will to the king. The king, however, can prophesy as well.

5) Part personal Question. My answer:  God speaks directly sometimes, and we should obey. God has a ton of work for me to do from raising my kids to serving Him to my jobs, my writings, and my testimony of my life.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

I love God’s directness here in choosing Saul and re-iterating his choice with Samuel. I love how Saul at first shirks his duties and then embraces them, probably out of fear. I think we all are hesitant when called by God to do His work. It’s good to know this is a natural human reaction.

I love how unassuming Saul is as we all are. We all can be called and used by God.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 2: 1 Samuel 9-10:

1 Samuel 9:

Saul means “asked of God”. He came from a wealthy family and was good-looking and tall.

What do we learn from Saul and the donkeys?

  1. Not every event in our life holds great meaning from God.
  2. God uses situations to guide us.

Image result for saul and donkeysBible scholar Clarke explains seer: “The word seerroeh, occurs for the first time in this place; it literally signifies a person who SEES; particularly preternatural [supernatural] sights. A seer and a prophet were the same in most cases; only with this difference, the seer was always a prophet, but the prophet was not always a seer.”

When consulting a prophet, it was common courtesy to bring a gift (Amos 7:12), whether modest (1 Kings 14:3) or lavish (2 Kings 8:8-9).

Saul had no relationship with the LORD, so God spoke to Saul through lost donkeys. But Samuel knew and loved the LORD, so God spoke to Samuel in his ear.

In his ear is literally, “had uncovered his ear.” The same phrase is used in Ruth 4:4. “The phrase is taken from the pushing aside of the headdress in order to whisper, and therefore means that Jehovah had secretly told Samuel” (Smith, Pulpit Commentary). It doesn’t mean Samuel heard an audible voice from God.

God gave the prophet Samuel specific guidance regarding future events. Samuel received this guidance wisely and looked for the fulfillment of the words to confirm God’s choice of a king. But Samuel also wisely refused to manipulate circumstances to “make” what God said come to pass. Samuel felt that if this was God’s word, He was able to make it happen.

Though there were many problems with the reign of Saul, no one should think it was a total disaster. Saul led Israel to many military victories and greater independence from the Philistines.

God confirms his words to Samuel twice. This is something we should look for in our lives: a confirmation of God’s Word.

When Samuel spoke to Saul, he prove to Saul that he was a true prophet from God. He showed Saul he knew things that he probably could not have known unless it was revealed to him supernaturally.

What does the seating arrangement at supper between Samuel and Saul tell us?

  • The seat of honor was always on a particular side next to the host. It was a great honor to be seated in this place next to the prophet Samuel.
  • Saul was also given the special portion. In that culture every meal had a special portion to be given to the one the host wanted to honor. Saul was specially honored at this meal.

1 Samuel 10:

The word “anoint” means to rub or sprinkle on; apply an ointment or oily liquid to. The Holy Spirit was poured out onto Saul.

Fun Fact: This is one of the earliest references to prophets in the Bible.

How are Christians anointed?

As Christians under the New Covenant we also have an anointing: But you have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20). In the New Testament sense, anointing has the idea of being filled with and blessed by the Holy Spirit.

Kissing was a sign of Samuel’s support of Saul.

It was a secret anointing because it was not yet time to reveal Saul as king to the nation. As Christians, our anointing often comes in just such a private way.

3 Signs Saul knew he was anointed by God:Image result for saul and donkeys

  1. If there were no men by Rachel’s tomb, or if there was only one man and not two, then Saul would know that Samuel did not really speak from God.
  2. If the men by Rachel’s tomb didn’t tell Saul about finding the donkeys, Saul could know Samuel was not a true prophet. God gave Saul this sign to build confidence in the work of the LORD.
  3. The third confirmation: It would be unusual for men to simply give a stranger like Saul loaves of bread.

Prophesying isn’t necessarily predicting the future, but that they all spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

What does the group of prophets tell us?

The Holy Spirit was the real anointing.  “Will come upon you” is literally “will leap or rush upon thee, to wit [namely], for a season. So, it may be opposed to the Spirit’s resting upon a man, as in Numbers 11:25Isaiah 11:2.”

What do we learn from Saul:

God always confirms His anointing.

Saul had to wait for Samuel because Saul had to show that even though he was a king he was submitted to the LORD and the LORD’s prophet. We’ll see later on that when Saul doesn’t wait for Samuel, disaster strikes.

God’s heart:Image result for 1 samuel 10

We also can have another heart from the LORD, but we must receive it from Him. We can’t receive a new heart from anyone except from God, and we can never make a new heart in anyone else.

The LORD, speaking through Samuel, showed Israel how their rejection of Him made so little sense. It makes no sense to reject the one who saves you out of all your adversities and your tribulations. Yet so many of us do.

The choosing by lot simply confirmed the word of the LORD through Samuel.

God gave the Israelites what they wanted: a king who looked like a king.

Samuel taught the Israelites God’s guidelines for both rulers and subjects, probably using Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

It doesn’t seem that this book Samuel wrote is contained in any of the books of the Bible. This doesn’t mean that there is something missing from our Bibles. It simply means God did not want this book preserved in His eternal Word.

Saul had men to support him.

Bible scholar Meyer on Saul’s ignoring criticism:  “It is a great power when a man can act as though he were deaf to slander, deaf to detraction, deaf to unkind and uncharitable speeches, and treat them as though they had not been spoken, turning from man to God, leaving with God his vindication, believing God that sooner or later will give him a chance… of vindicating the true prowess and temper of his soul.”

Saul had great promise:

  • Saul was chosen and anointed by God.
  • Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Saul was supported by a great man of God.
  • Saul was given gifts appropriate to royalty.
  • Saul was enthusiastically supported by most all the nation.
  • Saul was surrounded by valiant men, men whose hearts God had touched.
  • Saul was wise enough to not regard every doubter or critic as an enemy

Despite all these great advantages, Saul could still end badly. Saul had so many advantages, yet it all comes down to choice. He had to choose to walk in the advantages God gave him and choose to not go his own way. The rest of the book of 1 Samuel shows how Saul dealt with that choice.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 2: 1 Samuel 4-5

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Summary of 1 Samuel 4-5:

1 Samuel 4:

Israel fought against the Philistines who defeated them. Not understanding why, the elders of Israel decide to bring the ark of the Covenant out from Shiloh and take it into battle, hoping then they’ll defeat the Israelites. At first, the Philistines were scared, knowing the history of the God of Israel and how powerful He is. However, they rallied and the Israelites were defeated, losing 30,000 men. They fled to their camp and the ark of God was captured. Eli’s sons, who brought the ark back, died in the battle.

Hearing the ark of the Covenant had been captured, Eli who was 98 years old, fell over dead after having led Israel for 40 years. Phineas’ wife gave birth after his death, named her boy Ichabod, which means no glory.

1 Samuel 5:

Image result for 1 samuel 4 & 5The Philistines took the ark from Ebenezer to Ashdod and set it in their god Dagon’s temple. The god had fallen before the ark of the Lord! God afflicted tumors upon the people for stealing the ark. The ark was moved to Gath where the same tumors afflicted those people. Next, the ark was sent to Ekron where people died and were afflicted with tumors so the Philistines decided to send the ark back to Israel.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 2: 1 Samuel 4-5:

3) The ark of the covenant was the place God/His glory dwelled. It held the broken Ten Commandments by Moses and the Testimony by God, the gold jar of manna, and Aaron’s staff. The Israelites were hoping God would be with them in battle if they took the ark of the covenant with them and grant them victory over the Philistines.

4) When the ark of the covenant arrived in the Israelites’ camp, all Israel shouted so loud the ground shook and scared the Philistines to the point they almost retreated. When the ark was captured, Eli and his two sons died because of it. When the ark was captured, all of Israel mourned and of course the Israelites were defeated in battle. Phineas’ wife gave birth to her baby.

The Philistines took the ark from Ebenezer to Ashdod and set it in their god Dagon’s temple. The god had fallen before the ark of the Lord! God afflicted tumors upon the people for stealing the ark. The ark was moved to Gath where the same tumors afflicted those people. Next, the ark was sent to Ekron where people died and were afflicted with tumors so the Philistines decided to send the ark back to Israel.

God is in control. Just because the Israelites thought God would show up and give them victory if they brought the ark with them, didn’t mean He did. They did not consult God on this matter. God also afflicted tumors on people as punishment for stealing the ark. God is God. He does what He wants.

5) This would be when they use God’s word to justify their actions. Pick and choose pieces of the Bible they think support their decisions. They claim God is with them in this or that decision when He’s not.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 2: 1 Samuel 4-5:

Great lesson on God being in control. Just because you parade God around doesn’t mean He’s going to do what you want Him to do when it’s not in His will.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 2: 1 Samuel 4-5:

Who were the Philistines?

The Philistines were an immigrant people from the military aristocracy of the island of Crete (Amos 9:7). Small numbers of Philistines were in the land at the time of Abraham, but they came in larger numbers soon after Israel came to Canaan from Egypt. They were organized into five city-states. The Philistines were the first people in Canaan to process iron. Israel competed on more equal terms with Moab and Ammon, but the Philistines had Greek military equipment (such as helmets, shields, chain mail armor, swords and spears) making the Philistines more formidable opponents.

During this time there was no great world power (such as Egypt or Assyria) seeking to dominate the region. So, Israel’s battles were waged against her near neighbors, such as the Moabites, the Ammonites, or as here, the Philistines.

Why bring the Ark of the Covenant into battle?

  • The Ark of the Covenant was the representation of the throne of God in Israel. Kept in the most holy place of the tabernacle, the people never saw it. Only the high priest entered and saw the ark, and only once a year. The elders wanted to take this representation of the throne of God out of the holy of holies (it could be moved when the tabernacle was to be moved), cover it, and bring it into battle with them. They hoped it would give confidence that God was really with them.
  • The ark went into battle before. The ark went in front of the marchers around the city of Jericho (Joshua 6:6-8). Moses told the priests to lead the ark into battle against the Midianites (Numbers 31:6). Later, Saul brought the ark into battle (1 Samuel 14:18), as did David (2 Samuel 11:11).
  • The elders rightly sensed they needed God’s help to win the battle. But they were wrong in the way they sought help. Instead of humbly repenting and seeking God, they turned to methods that God never approved. They only cared if it worked.
  • The elders believed the presence of the ark would make God work for them. “Their idea was that God should be forced to fight for them. If He was not willing to do it for their sake, He would have to do it for His honour’s sake.” (Ellison)
  • They regarded the ark as the ultimate “good luck charm” and believed they could not lose with it there. They looked to the ark to save them, not to the LORD.

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Spurgeon’s Take on the Israelites’ Use of the Ark of the Covenant:

“Instead of attempting to get right with God, these Israelites set about devising superstitious means of securing the victory over their foes. In this respect most of us have imitated them. We think of a thousand inventions; but we neglect the one thing needful… They forget the main matter, which is to enthrone God in the life, and to seek to do His will by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Why did the Israelites’ shouting upon seeing the Ark of the Covenant not work?

The Israelites thought they could manipulate God and force Him into doing what they wanted Him to do.

Bible Scholar Clarke says this: “Had they humbled themselves, and prayed devoutly and fervently for success, they would have been heard and saved. Their shouting proved both their vanity and irreligion.”

Their shouting was not from the heart nor did the Israelites have faith.

The Philistines knew the history of God and of the ark going into battle with the Israelites, but they did not submit to God. Hence, the tumors sent when the ark was taken as punishment for unbelief.

What do we learn from the Philistines’ victory over the Israelites?

  • Instead of giving up when things look bad we should trust the LORD and fight all the harder and decide we will not give up. Courage and persistence win many battles, even sometimes for the wrong side.

Why did the Israelites lose this battle?

  1. The Philistines fought with the courage of desperate men.
  2. The Israelites felt the battle would be easy with the ark of the Covenant there and did not try as hard.
  3. God did not bless Israel’s superstitious belief in the power of the ark instead of the power of God.

God did not appreciate being summoned to win a battle like a genie in a bottle. The Israelites believed if God was with them, they didn’t need to try so hard. We do this same thing. We think if God is on our side, the work will be easy.

Not only did Israel lose this battle, they lost far worse than they did before taking the ark into battle. The loss which prompted them to take the ark resulted in the death of about four thousand men of Israel (1 Samuel 4:2). With the ark more than seven times as many men of Israel were killed.

Fun Fact: In the late 1970’s, a five-line inscription was found on a grain silo in the ruins of Izbet Sarteh. When deciphered, it was found to contain a Philistine account of this battle, the capture of the ark, even specifically mentioning the priest Hophni. This is the earliest known extra-biblical reference to an Old Testament event.

Why did God allow the ark to be captured?

  • Losing the ark was far worse than losing the battle.
  • The very “thing” they thought would win the battle was captured. Israel made an idol of the ark and God often deals with our idolatry by taking the idol away.
  • God wanted to make sure the Israelites understood their mistake and punished them severely.

Even a good thing can be made an idol. God does not tolerate idols.

God still used the ark for His glory as He punished the Philistines wherever the ark traveled.

We see the fulfillment of God’s promise that the two sons of Eli would die on the same day as proof of His ultimate judgment on the house of Eli (1 Samuel 2:34).

Image result for aphek to shilohThe battle was fought near Aphek (1 Samuel 4:1), and it was at least 20 miles from Aphek to Shiloh. The messenger had a long way to go, the route was mostly uphill, and he carried very bad news.

Because the news was so bad he came with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. These were some of the traditional signs of mourning. The messenger brought bad news, and he let his appearance reflect how bad the news was.

The next time we encounter Eli’s family, they have moved as a group to Nob. Several Bible passages mention Shiloh’s destruction as a punishment for sin (Psalm 78:60-64Jeremiah 7:12 and 26:9). As an important site for worship, the Israelites were even more in despair at its destruction.

Bible scholar Ellison explains:  “The glory of God had indeed departed, but not because the ark of God had been captured; the ark had been captured because the glory had already departed.”

Why does God let bad things happen to good people?

  1. He allowed it as a righteous judgment upon Israel as a nation and the family of Eli. They simply received what they deserved.
  2. Secondly, God allowed it as a correction to the nation, so they would not trust in the ark of God, instead of in the God of the ark.
  3. Finally, though it seemed so terrible to man, was it all that terrible to God? At that moment, did God wring His hands in heaven, worried about how things would turn out? Worried about His reputation? Worried about the Philistines and their gods? Looking at it this way, the glory had not departed at all. Instead, God was just beginning to show His glory.

What do we learn from the defeat of the Israelites and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant?

  • Many circumstances that we regard as a calamity, God uses in a marvelous way to glorify Himself. Israel was right to be sad at the loss of life and the ark on that day. But they should have been confident, knowing God was well able to take care of Himself.

Bible Scholar Poole explains: “Thus as God was no loser by this event, so the Philistines were no gainers by it; and Israel, all things considered, received more good than hurt by it, as we shall see.”

1 Samuel 5:

No doubt, the Philistines were jubilant and confident in the superiority of their god over the God of Israel. They faced the God of Israel in battle and believed their god Dagon delivered them and defeated Israel. Dagon was half-man, half-fish and believed to be the father of Baal by the Philistines. Now, the Ark of the Covenant of Israel’s God stood as a trophy in the temple of their god Dagon. The victory seemed complete.

Instead, the statue bowed down before the ark of the covenant.

What do we learn from the ark being with the Philistines?

  • God will glorify Himself. He doesn’t need man to do so.
  • God can be as a fragrance of life to some and the aroma of death to others (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). It’s our choice.

God had given the Philistine priests a chance to turn from their god Dagon to Him. They rejected God despite the evidence. Now they would be punished. God would try again, only this time, it would be harsh.

What were the tumors? Possible answers include:

  1. Hemorrhoids
  2. Bubonic plague
  3. Dysentery, bloody flux, and ulcerated anus

The Philistines sent the ark back. They got rid of God. But we can’t get rid of God nor push Him away. One day, we’ll all answer to Him.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 2: 1 Samuel 1

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Summary of 1 Samuel 1:

A man named Elkanah of Ephraim had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah was childless. He would sacrifice to the Lord and give double portions to Hannah because he loved her. Yet, Peninnah taunted Hannah because she had no children, which made Hannah sad. So she prayed to God, vowing if He gave her a son, she’d give him to God. Eli thought her drunk, but she was only praying. Sure enough, Hannah had a son and named him Samuel, meaning “heard of God.”

When Samuel could leave his mother, Hannah took him to the temple at Shiloh and gave him to the Lord.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 7, Day 2: 1 Samuel 1:

3) Hannah was provoked by Elkahan’s other wife, Peninnah, because she had no children. She took her tears to the Lord and gave it all to Him to handle. She was also the favored wife.

4) Personal Question. My answer: Eli was judging Hannah based off appearances. You can’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t jump to conclusions. Ask questions before assuming.

5) Part personal Question. My answer: She prays a heartfelt prayer to God, giving Him all her anguish. She keeps her vow of giving away her precious son to God. I’m challenged by agreeing to give stuff up. It’s hard.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 2: 1 Samuel 1:

I love the example of faith of Hannah. So much more here about faith and prayer that BSF did not have time to touch on. Please read my End Notes for the full discussion and what Hannah teaches us.

Another amazing video on 1 Samuel HERE

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 7, Day 2: 1 Samuel 1:

God begins 1 Samuel 1 with a man He is going to use. God often uses man for His purposes.

He was a descendant of Zuph, and his family line shows he was a Levite (1 Chronicles 6:16-30). He is called an Ephraimite here because his family lived in a Levitical city in the boundaries of Ephraim, not because he was of the tribe of Ephraim.

Polygamy was a fact of life in the ancient world. However, the Bible never puts polygamy in a favorable light. Strife and conflict always characterize polygamous families in the Bible.

According to the Law of Moses, Israelites could not worship God through sacrifice at any time and in any way they pleased. They were to bring sacrifices to the tabernacle and the priests, which at this time were at Shiloh.

These priests are mentioned by name because they were known as notoriously wicked priests (1 Samuel 2:1724). Their mention here shows how godly Elkanah was. Even though the priests were wicked, he still offered sacrifices to the LORD, knowing that the wickedness of the priest did not make his own service to the LORD invalid.

As Elkanah brought his family each year to the tabernacle for sacrifice he ate a ceremonial meal at the tabernacle with his family, giving portions to his wives and their children. He showed his favor and love to Hannah by giving her a double portion.

Because of the conflict between the two wives, Hannah could not enjoy this display of love and favor from Elkanah.

Beyond Hannah’s painful trial, there was a purpose of God. God used the trial of a closed womb to accomplish something great in her life and to further the whole plan of salvation.

It seems strange that Peninnah (who seems of a bad character) was blessed with children and Hannah (who seems of a good character) was cursed with barrenness. God’s ways are not our ways.

What do we learn from Hannah’s hardship?

  • Even though things were hard, God was still in charge.
  • God has a purpose in all our trials.
  • Often, we don’t understand God’s ways until He completes His plan.

In Elkanah’s response to Hannah’s sorrow, we see that he really did love her; yet like many men he was insensitive. He did not recognize that she had needs he could not fulfill (such as the desire to be a mother).

Hannah was in bitterness of soul and great anguish, yet she did the right thing. Hannah took those bitter and anguished feelings to God honestly in prayer.

Fun Fact: Hannah began her prayer by calling on the LORD of hosts. This title is used some 260 times in the Old Testament and has the idea “LORD of the Mighty Armies.” Hannah felt attacked by her rival, so she called on the LORD of Mighty Armies to be her protector.

Hannah promised her son to the work of the LORD, vowing he would be a Nazirite from birth. According to Numbers 6, the vow of a Nazirite included:

  • Abstinence from any product from a grape vine, signifying distance from all fleshly pleasures.
  • Taking no part in any mourning for the dead nor to come near a dead body because the dead show the corruption and the fruit of sin. Also, this showed that the Nazirite had greater concerns than the ordinary joys and sorrows of life.
  • Never cutting the hair because it was a public, visible sign to others of the vow.
  • Typically, the vow of a Nazirite was taken for a set and rather short period of time. Samuel and Samson (Judges 13:5) were unique because they were Nazirites from birth

The child was already dedicated as a Levite because God regarded the tribe of Levi as His own special possession. But the time of a Levite’s special dedication to the LORD only lasted from the age of 30 to 50 (Numbers 4:2-3). Hannah took something that already belonged to the LORD and gave it again to Him in a greater way – for the whole life, and in the dedication of a Nazirite, which was a greater consecration than a Levite.

This is literally, “as she multiplied to pray.” We only have recorded a bare summary of Hannah’s prayer. Can you imagine her whole prayer?

What do we learn from Hannah’s prayer?Image result for mountain

  • Prayer does not need to be aloud.
  • Prayer only needs to be from the heart.
  • Pray your heart, soul, and anguish before the Lord, and give it to Him.

Eli misunderstood Hannah, but the fact that he suspected that she was drunk shows that it may not have been unusual for people to become drunk at the “fellowship meals” with the LORD at the tabernacle. The fact that Eli suspected Hannah of drunkenness doesn’t speak well for what went on around the tabernacle.

Hannah did not accept Eli’s accusation, but she did not respond in a haughty or arrogant tone or get defensive. She would explain herself, but she did it remembering that he was her high priest.

Eli may have spoken this only as a kind wish; but it was in fact a word from the LORD.

The change in Hannah’s countenance shows that she received the promise from Eli with faith, something necessary if we will inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12).

Hannah shows how we can regain the joy of fellowship in the house of the LORD again: by pouring out our heart before the LORD and by receiving His word with faith.

Hannah could genuinely worship the LORD in faith while the promise was still not yet fulfilled. This is a glorious pattern of faith.

To use the term remembered is an anthropomorphism, a way of explaining God’s actions in human terms that we can understand, even if it doesn’t perfectly describe God’s action. It isn’t as if God ever forgot Hannah, but it is proper to say He remembered her.

What do we learn from Hannah’s example?

  • Patience. It didn’t happen right away. Hannah had reason enough to be discouraged, but when the promise of God was spoken she did not lose faith in the promise, even when it took some time. She is a great example of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).
  • Keep your vows. Even in difficult situations, they could worship the LORD.

In that culture, a child was usually not weaned until two years of age, or sometimes three years. It is reasonable to assume that Hannah was in no hurry to wean Samuel.

The fact that 1 Samuel 1:24 mentions three bulls brought to Shiloh but 1 Samuel 1:25 mentions only one being sacrificed (with some of the meat available for a fellowship meal) emphasizes that one of the bulls was specifically made as a burnt offering for the cleansing and consecration of little Samuel.

This could be translated, “And I also made myself to present for the LORD.” The idea is not that Hannah “owned” the child and “lent” him to the LORD. Instead, the idea is that the child is her “prayer,” or the fulfillment of her prayer to the LORD.

The name Samuel means “Name of God” but Hannah – as was common among the Hebrews – made a pun on the name by saying that she had “asked the LORD for him.” Asked in Hebrew sounds like Samuel.

Worship is a repeated characteristic of this family (see also 1 Samuel 1:31928). Praising God on the day you give your little son away may not be easy, but it is praise God is pleased with even as we are told to bring a sacrifice of praise to God (Hebrews 13:15).

God helped several barren women in the Bible: Sarah (Genesis 11:30), Rebekah (Genesis 25:21), Rachel (Genesis 30:22), and Elizabeth (Luke 1:7).

Image result for butterfliesWhat do we learn from Hannah’s life?

  • She did not cling to her woes.
  • She did not cling to her blessings.
  • All belong to God.

The longing for children may be the strongest in life. Look at the thousands spent on fertility treatments. Instead, with no such technology available, Hannah went to God. And God answered. Every year she made Samuel a garment–a huge expenditure when cloth and thread were made by hand.