Oh dear friend, in order to get to the place where we can begin to understand what Samuel can teach us about healing from the pain of betrayal, disobedience and ungodly choices made by others, we really need to finish the background story that leads to his relationship with King Saul.
You can read for yourself the account in 1 Samuel 2-15 or enjoy my Cliff notes version below….or really….both would be good <3
Picking up where we left off yesterday, Samuel grew up under the care of Eli the priest and his two sons.
These two sons were not godly men and Eli knew what they were doing; yet he did not correct or stop them.
The Lord saw all that they were doing so he stopped dealing with Eli and began to speak personally to young Samuel.
This little fellow was awakened from sleep one night and having never heard God speak to him, he assumed Eli was calling him.
Back and forth he went to see what the old man wanted until finally Eli realized that it was God calling to this apprentice who had been dropped at his door by Hannah years earlier.
Samuel follows Eli’s instructions and when he hears his name called again, he dutifully answers…
“Speak, for Your servant hears.” 1 Samuel 3:9
What he hears is rather upsetting and dire news for Eli and his sons, but the old priest still holds deep respect for God and His Word and he presses Samuel to tell him of the words the Lord spoke reassuring the boy that whatever God has said he will not hold against Samuel.
Eli accepts the prophetic word of God because he knows…God is God.
And so, we are told, Samuel grew up and the LORD was with him and Samuel spoke the prophecies of God and they were each one fulfilled.
Samuel, in the constant company of the LORD, traveled around Israel dispensing God’s guidance and judgment and direction to the people, returning once a year to his home.
He apparently spends little time bringing up his own children well because as he nears retirement and turns the business of judging the nation over to his sons, the people say…
Thanks, but no thanks.
So the elders of Israel gather in force and come to Samuel to ask him for a King to reign over their nation.
Samuel is less than thrilled and prays to God about the whole situation.
And God once again speaks to Samuel…
Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me. 1 Samuel 8:7
God tells him to fulfill their request but to also warn them of all that having a King will mean to them and to their children.
And Samuel did all of these things and then God brings about a strange set of circumstances that involves a wandering herd of donkeys, a young Saul going in search of them and a divine appointment that takes him to Samuel’s front door.
God has already prepared Samuel with the news that this donkey-seeking shepherd is the chosen first King of Israel and so proceeds the even more interesting account of the on-the-go anointing followed by a shy and reluctant Saul playing hide and go seek at his coronation.
And so God opens wide a door of relationship for the older man Samuel and the young King Saul.
As we continue to read the unfolding story, Saul makes at least two very bad decisions where he blatantly disobeys God and God’s clear instructions administered through Samuel’s words.
The first is an unlawful sacrifice held by Saul instead of waiting on God’s timing and the second is disregarding the command to destroy every living thing in an evil nation that God gave Israel victory over.
He multiplies these sins by lying, justifying and denying any wrong doing.
And at the end of Chapter 15 we are left with these heart wrenching words that ring the death toll on the relationship that Samuel had obediently cultivated because of the Word of the Lord to him regarding Saul.
Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15: 34 – 35
This God-ordained relationship has come to a screeching, wrenching halt and Samuel is left to ask…WHAT just happened here????