Posted By Nan
1 Samuel 
If you read the Old Testament you will find cycles of obedience and disobedience among the people of Israel.
From the time of the Judges to the time of Samuel (and beyond) the people would worship and follow God while a particular leader lived. Then the leader would die and the people would fall away, pursuing the gods of the people around them. Then God would bring great trouble upon them and they would eventually call out to God and turn back to Him. Once this happened God would return to them.
At the time of Samuel it is said in 3:1 that at that time, the word of the Lord was rare and there were not many visions.
This was a time of great disobedience and worshipping of other gods.
The story of Samuel is one of great faith. Faith that was present in his parents. His mother Hannah had no children and was tormented by her husband’s other wife. Every year the couple went up to worship God at Shiloh where the altar was. 
It is evident from this that both were righteous people who followed God and His commands. 
One year a very distressed Hannah prayed to God earnestly and begged him for a son. She promised God that when her son was born, she would give him to God’s service. God answered her prayer and Samuel was born. Once he was weaned, she took him to the old priest Eli to grow up there in God’s service.
I have always been amazed at the faith of Hannah. God gave her a much-wanted son and she gave him back to God when he was still a small child. She gave up all her rights as a parent and left her child in the care of the priest and his family.
I could never have given up one of my children. I am not sure of many who could. What Hannah did was a great example of love and obedience to God. 
When Samuel was still a small child, not yet old enough to be taught about God, he heard his name being called.
Thinking he heard Eli calling he went to him. Eli sent him back to bed.
Again Samuel heard his name being called and again he went to Eli.
Again Eli sent him back to bed.
The third time Samuel heard his name being called Eli realised God was calling him and told him that next time God called he was to say “Speak, Lord, for you servant is listening”.
So Samuel did as he was instructed.
This was when God gave him instruction on the fate of Eli and his disobedient sons.
The was the start of God’s instructions to Samuel.
Samuel grew up in the faith and knowledge of God. Everyone recognised that God was with him and Samuel was recognised as a prophet of God. God spoke to him, after so long, God was finally speaking to someone in Israel.
As Samuel reached old age the people became fearful for their futures and asked for a King. So God granted them their request and Samuel anointed Saul as king.
It did not take Saul long to start believing in his abilities and more than in God’s control and care of Israel. He also started caring more what others thought of him rather than what God thought of him.
During one Phillistine advance on Israel Samuel told Saul to wait 7 days for him to arrive at Gilgal where Saul and his army waited. In those days the Israelites did not go into battle unless they had prayed and sought God’s advice.
Saul lacked the faith in God to wait patiently. He was already considering he was greater than God. And there was his reputation with the people. He placed great value on that.
As the 7th day approached Samuel had not come and Saul was afraid his men were beginning to leave. So he made the burnt and fellowship offerings to God himself. He could not wait for God’s prophet to come. In short, he could not wait for God!
Samuel arrived just as he was competing the offerings. 
Samuel chastised Saul for not keeping God’s command to wait. This was a test for Saul that he had failed. Because of this he and his family would not have a future as rulers of Israel.
This warning was not enough for Saul.
He went out and attacked the enemy as Samuel had instructed him. However the instruction to put all people to the sword and destroy all animals was ignored by Saul. He kept the king and sheep and cattle alive.
When Samuel came to him challenging him on his failure to obey God. He tried to justify this by saying he had killed everyone but the King and the livestock were taking to offer as sacrifices.
The perils of arrogance coupled with a convenient legalism that seeks to justify disobeying God!
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