A Transitional Prophet

The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s 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 Samuel 3:19-21

“Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days.  And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’  When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

  • Acts 3:24-26

“Samuel was called a prophet in the Old Testament (1 Sam. 3:20).  Although he did not directly prophesy about Christ, he did anoint David as king and speak to his kingdom (1 Sam. 13:14; 15:28; 16:13; 28:17), and the promises David received were and will be fulfilled in Christ (cf. 2 Sam. 7:10-16).”

  • John MacArthur, One Faithful Life

”Lord, teach me to listen.  The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them.  Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.”  Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart.  Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking voice.  Amen.”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

”I.  God did [Samuel] honour.  Having begun to favour him, he carried on and corwned his own work in him: …v.19.  God honoured Samuel: 1. By further manifestations of himself to him: v.21. 2. By fulfilling what he spoke by him: v.19.  Whatever Samuel said as a prophet, it proved true, and was accomplished in its season.
”II.  Israel did [Samuel] honour.  They all knew and owned that Samuel was established to be a prophet, v. 20.  1. He grew famous.  2. He grew useful and very serviceable to his generation.  He that began betimes to be good soon came to do good.”

  • Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Okay, a lot of quotes and none touch on the point made in the post title, A Transitional Prophet.

I included the Tozer prayer, or personal challenge, to illustrate how Samuel was so blessed by God to be the transitional prophet.  Samuel did as Eli suggested.  When God called upon Samuel, Samuel listened.  Maybe we can all deal with less noise.  In the silence, we can say to God, “Here I am, Lord.  Your servant is ready to hear and waits for You.”

John MacArthur fires a tangential arrow, glancing off the topic in that he claims that Samuel did not prophesy to the coming of the Messiah.  Yet, Peter, in what some call his second sermon (first being on Pentecost {Acts 2:14-4}), mentions Samuel as the first prophet who foretold of the days of Jesus Christ.  MacArthur explains that this was, in a way, tangential, in that Samuel anointed David and said things about David’s reign.  Only by extension does this point to the Messiah.

No, if Samuel had lived in an earlier time, he would have been a Judge, someone who rises to focus the people of Israel back onto God.  But Samuel, as a transitional Judge, anoints first Saul as king and then David as king (1 Samuel 16:13, one of the references in the John MacArthur quote).  If the kings were well established, Samuel might have simply been considered a prophet.  He could no longer be a Judge.

With me being the “Hat Rack,” I always love these Biblical characters who wear many hats.  Samuel was a Judge.  Samuel took over the tabernacle ceremonies upon the death of Eli, the priest.  And Samuel became a prophet.  Samuel could not remain a Judge once Israel had a king.  There would be confusion as to who was in charge, and indeed this was the case during the reign of King Saul.  Whenever King Saul did anything impetuous, he paid for it dearly.  The final straw in his reign is when he took over the sacrifices before a battle, because he was tired of waiting for the one ordained to do such a thing, Samuel (1 Samuel 13:1-15, the first of the MacArthur references regarding the “new king.”)

So, with each type of transition in life, there are smooth transitions and clunky ones.  This was indeed on the clunky side, showing Saul’s lack of leadership skills.  Note:  Saul was tall.  That pretty much sums his leadership skills.  Even a quarterback on the football team must have a few skills.  Being tall in addition to those skills is only an added advantage.

In the clunky transition category, I have suffered through two transitions involving a total management replacement.  The first was when DuPont left the site where I worked in South Carolina and another company took over.  The new company promised the moon and stars, especially for people like me who were working management positions without being promoted.  I seemed to have gotten the label of an old company man, even though the old company refused to give me the promotion, yet kept increasing my responsibilities, definite mixed signals.  While the others who were due promotions got their promotions, I got demoted, and within two years, I had moved on to the NASA project.

The second transition was at my last job when the company was purchased for the second time.  Other than losing a lot of perks with the first company purchase (like business class for overseas travel), the first transition was not a bad one.  Our company just did not fit in well with the parent company and one really bad project (too many mistakes on both sides to mention, but I was only called in to organize and manage the fixing of the mistakes.  Plus, my usual training stuff that was done under budget, as usual.) led to the parent company doing anything that they could to get rid of us.  Like the company transition in South Carolina, the new owners promised that the transition would not leave anyone out of work.  But a few were laid off at the end of the first year, less than a year after the purchase, and then at the end of the next year, more than a third of the company was gone, including me.  And they were not done with the layoffs.  There remains so few of the original personnel that you could count them with your fingers, not counting the thumbs, basically making the company a field office for the parent company, unable to function on its own.

So, the transition from Judges to ‘Kings plus prophets’ was a bit clunky.  God had said, through Samuel’s prophecy, that a king was going to tax the people, conscript the people into serving him, and make life miserable for the people.  That pretty much summed the reign of King Saul.

But David was a man after God’s own heart.  Israel flourished.  Everyone was happy.  But before David died, his many sons fought to take over the kingdom, some rebelling against their own father before his death.  This created distrust in the kingdom.  If it had not been for Solomon’s wisdom, the building of the temple, and the growth of the kingdom, the tribes would have rebelled against Solomon.  Jeroboam even did that near the end of Solomon’s reign, after Solomon’s many mistakes.  Jeroboam had to escape to Egypt in exile until Solomon passed away, and his second rebellion split the northern ten tribes away from Judah.

I copied a social media post by my niece that spoke of our need to learn our history.  She meant US history and some world history that explained some of what was going on in our country lately, but the history that I am interested in, even as it applies to today is Biblical history.

We are sunk as a nation if we abandon God, and many in Washington DC are working as hard as possible to rid our government of any vestige of God.

Do we really want a king?  Even with our democratic form of government, we are taxed, conscripted into service, and made miserable.  Yet, in Jesus Christ there is freedom.

NOTE:  As for the multiple Biblical scholar quotes, I am considering a Bible study series, maybe in the mornings once each week with this type of format, choosing from MacArthur, Tozer, Spurgeon, Lucado, and Matthew Henry.  And maybe even some other sources.  I haven’t written the first lesson yet, so stay tuned.  My normal afternoon entries (Eastern US) will continue regardless, as long as I am able.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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