Between Judges and Kings: Israel Needed a Leader

click to viewSamuel, Saul, and David.

Three pillars of the Old Testament. But what did they do? Why are they in the Bible?

Raising a Leader

The period of Judges (about 100 years after the death of Joshua) was not working. Sin after sin the Israelites committed. God realized He had to do something else. And fast.

Enter the rise of kings for Israel. This is not something God had ever intended for the Israelites, but it was needed. The Philistines, Israel’s nemesis for centuries, was pressing in, threatening all of the tribes of Israel for territory. They boasted of chariots and a better organizational structure. What was Israel to do?

The Story of Hannah

God had a plan. Using the pain of not having a child, Hannah prays to God for a son whom she’ll dedicate to the Lord. This son is Samuel who would grow into one of the greatest leaders Israel ever had. He had three roles to play:

  1. Prophet–discerning God’s will
  2. Priest–led Israel in worship
  3. Military leader–led Israel against enemies in battle

He and God chose Israel’s first two kings.

From Hannah’s bitter pain comes great promise. Despite being made fun of and taunted for having no children, she had one of the greatest leaders of all time. She definitely got the last laugh. The Israelites followed the same path: from pain comes promise.

The Best Leaders are God’s Leaders

  • Samuel was chosen over Eli’s sons to lead Israel because he listened to God.
  • David, a poor shepherd boy, was chosen to lead Israel because he listened to God.

Samuel: A Transition between Judges and Kings

Samuel unites Israel for the first time in over a century, bringing the Israelites close to being a nation again. He anoints Israel’s first two kings and deposes one who doesn’t measure up (Saul). He delivered both good and bad news and had God’s ear. He settled disputes as a judge and prayed consistently. His life ended with not one black mark on his record, and the people loved him.