Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Prophet Samuel (1)

God provided the Old Testament histories for our benefit.

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come (1 Cor 10:11).
The things recorded happened to teach us about God’s requirements for his people. We can learn a lot from reading the Old Testament, however we must not assume that because a situation is recorded that God approved the actions taken. Some incidents were recorded as warnings of wrong behaviour.

In some histories, the Old Testament assesses the behaviour and states whether it was good or evil. However, many other events are just recorded without comment. In these cases, we need to assess the action against the moral teaching of the Old and New Testaments and against the lifestyle of Jesus. I think that we accept too many of the stories uncritically. We just assume that prophets always behaved correctly, when there is no reason that that should be true.

Christians should be careful following the examples of Old Testament heroes. They did not have the benefit of knowing Jesus or living in the fulness of the spirit, so their lives will often fall short of what God expects of us. That is why Corinthians says that their lives are a warning to us.

I have always been a great fan of the prophet Samuel, but recently I read the record of his ministry again using a less credulous approach. I also came to the books named after him with a clearer understanding of the role of kings in God’s plan. I began to see Samuel in a different light. He is still a great prophet, but he was also very human. He made several serious mistakes, when his humanity overpowered his prophetic gifting.

Samuel received a powerful calling to be a prophet to his nation.
The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And 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).
This full series can be found at Prophet Samuel.

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