Introduction to 1 Samuel

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 8:6-9 (NIV)
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

1 Samuel 8:6-9 (MSG)
When Samuel heard their demand—“Give us a king to rule us!”—he was crushed. How awful! Samuel prayed to God. God answered Samuel, “Go ahead and do what they’re asking. They are not rejecting you. They’ve rejected me as their King. From the day I brought them out of Egypt until this very day they’ve been behaving like this, leaving me for other gods. And now they’re doing it to you. So let them have their own way. But warn them of what they’re in for. Tell them the way kings operate, just what they’re likely to get from a king.”
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“But their demand displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge and rule over us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have abandoned (rejected) Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. So now listen to their voice; only solemnly warn them and tell them the ways of the king who will reign over them.” -AMPLIFIED

We move now into the book of First Samuel. First Samuel is a book that is full of theological history; it takes us from the time of the judges into the time of the kings. In fact, Samuel is the last of the judges and it will be he who anoints the first two kings of Israel.

Message: The message of the book is focused on the people’s demand for a king and their move away from God. The move away from God came when  as they insisted on becoming like other nations. They moved away from being a theocratic nation, where God was their head, to a monarchy, where the king became head.  We will find that the people of Israel had chosen less than God’s best for themselves with this choice.

Key verse: The key for the entire book can be seen in our text. “But Samuel considered it wrong for them to request a king to judge them. So Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord told Samuel, “Listen to everything the people are saying to you. They haven’t rejected you; they’ve rejected me. They’re doing just what they’ve done since I took them out of Egypt—leaving me and serving other gods. Listen to them now, but be sure to warn them and tell them about the rights of a king.” -(GW)

Authorship: According to Jewish tradition the writer of this book is no other than Samuel, himself. It is very probable that he wrote most of the book, but we find the passing of Samuel happening in chapter 25; so we must assume that someone else wrote the last part of the book.(Something else that we must consider is that originally 1 and 2 Samuel were one book. It was not until the Septuagint translated the book did it become divided.) 1 Chronicles 29:29-30 gives us an idea who some of the other contributors were to the books of both 1 and 2 Samuel were, “As for the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seer, the records of Nathan the prophet and the records of Gad the seer, together with the details of his reign and power, and the circumstances that surrounded him and Israel and the kingdoms of all the other lands.” -(NIV)

Content: In 1 Samuel we will find the autobiography of Samuel; as well as the biographies of both Saul and David, the first two kings of Israel.

Purpose: It was Samuel’s intent to record the history of Israel in the land of Canaan. He especially focused on what was happening as the people moved away from the theocracy government to the monarchy government.

In all of this we find Samuel was appalled by the people’s choices. He could see how their decisions were moving them away from having a relationship with Jehovah and to where they were wanting to be like all the other nations.  This did not make him happy. God’s response to all of this was this, “Forget about it, Samuel. Listen to what the people are telling you; go ahead and do what they are asking. They are not rejecting you, but me; just as they have been doing ever since they left Egypt. Listen to what they are saying and do what they have asked you to do. But give them fair warning about what a king will require of them. ” -Tonia’s Translation

In the coming days we will investigate what happens to the people of Israel because of their rejection of Jehovah, their One True King.

My Prayer:
Lord, reign in my life always. I do not ever want to come to the place where my greatest desire is to be like everyone else. I want you to be at the center of my life. I want you to sit on the throne of my heart. Forgive me for those times that I have let my heart and mind wander to the things of this World. Forgive me for following those things that tempt and entice. Help me to stay focused on what is truly lasting. You are my One, True King!

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