DAILY DISCIPLINE #61
By Colleen Donahue
Our study this month in the book of I Samuel takes us through a transition period in the Israelites' history with the man Samuel holding together two ends. He stands between the years when Judges ruled Israel until the time when kings began to reign. Samuel was the final Judge.
Since the birth of the Israelite nation back in Abraham's time, hundreds of years of religious tradition had built up with little love for God. Generation after generation had abused God's love and kindness and willfully disobeyed Him. Yet, despite the evil of the times, there were still ones that loved God and honored Him. Samuel was born into such a family.
All of the historical events brought alive through these next chapters in the Bible are a significant part of the Middle East crisis today. We see today only the tip of an iceberg that has been growing for centuries.
At the same time, we can also see patterns repeating themselves as we look at history today and then at our own lives. These were and are...
Do You Need a New Start? Times of Change
A LOW LEVEL
Approximately 1000 years had passed since Abraham's first call to the Promised Land when God had chosen the Israelites to be His own people. There had been many centuries of "ups and downs". Now once again Israel had sunk to a very low level.
Day 1- What was the overall situation of the nation?
Day 2- Polygamy must have become such a common practice that we see it was even a part of godly homes (I Samuel 1:2) and the cause of much family strife.
I Samuel 1:3-8
Day 3- The priesthood at that time was the equivalent of our Parliament or Congressional Representatives. What kind of men were representing the people at that time? I Samuel 2:12-17
Day 4- We see that sons had no fear of their fathers or regard for their advice.
I Samuel 2:22-25 / I Samuel 8:1-3
Day 5- God's condemnation of Eli, as a father that did not restrain his sons, was grave indeed considering Eli himself did not act wickedly.
I Samuel 3:11-14
Day 6- Centuries later what was to be an important criterion for someone that would serve a leadership position in the church?
I Timothy 3:4-5,12
Day 7- What drastic measure did God take to deal with the corruption in the priesthood?
I Samuel 2:27-36
Day 8- The Ark of the Covenant was the holy dwelling place of God amongst His people. Now, it was used as a "good-luck" charm much as we might carry a cross in our pocket.
I Samuel 4:1-11
Day 9- Then came a dark day indeed. Besides all the death and destruction came the recognition that the "Glory of Israel" was gone. The Ark was now only a physical form. God had been driven out.
I Samuel 4:12-22
A BRIGHT SPOT
Over and over in the course of history, we have seen leaders rise up from out of nowhere that have been like a savior for a particular time and situation. These men and women have been God's gift to the world to maintain His order and balance usually at times when the world seemed to be falling apart. So it was at this time in history when things seemed so low that God began to train a little boy who would become the nation's leader.
Day 10- Why was Samuel born?
I Samuel 1:10-18
Day 11- Although Hannah (Samuel's mother) did not yet know the words that Jesus would speak centuries later, she fulfilled them beautifully and shows us how we ought to pray.
Matthew 7:7 / John 16:24
Day 12- Notice that by the time Hannah had left the temple from her prayer, she was no longer sad. Although nothing was different, she had received her answer! How?
Day 13- Many who pray do God an injustice. They ask for something but do not look for the answer. Or, they expect that God will give them something else. What does God promise?
Isaiah 65:24 / Luke 11:9 / John 15:7
Day 14- How did God answer Hannah?
I Samuel 1:19-20,27
Day 15- Notice that God gave her EXACTLY what she prayed for. Our Father loves us and will not give us stones when we ask for bread.
Day 16- When YOU pray, do you pray in faith--confident of the Father's love for you?
Mark 11:24 / I John 3:21-22
Day 17- What is even more remarkable about Hannah is that she had no heart for grabbing her son for herself.
I Samuel 1: 24-28
Day 18- While many mothers would be sad at having to part with a son, read Hannah's prayer that came from a full heart.
I Samuel 2:1-11
Day 19- Her unselfishness and gratitude could put many of us to shame who have received numerous answers to prayer but have never thanked God not to mention giving something back to Him!
Now Samuel being trained under the House of Eli was training under a condemned priesthood line. It's remarkable how God can use even second-rate leaders for His purposes.
Day 20- What was Samuel like as a boy?
I Samuel 3:1-18
Day 21- Who was Samuel's real trainer?
I Samuel 3: 19,21
Day 22- The mark of a real leader is one that everyone recognizes and looks to naturally. So it was with Samuel.
I Samuel 3:20
AN INTERLUDE OF REPENTANCE
Day 23- It was while Samuel was growing up and coming into his own as a leader that the people's hearts began to stir towards God.
I Samuel 7:2
Day 24- What advice did Samuel give the Israelites if they wanted to turn back to the Lord with all of their hearts?
I Samuel 7:3-4
Day 25- What does it mean for any man--including ourselves--to turn back to the Lord?
Isaiah 55:7 / Ezekiel 18:21-22,30-32
Day 26- How will the Lord always respond to us?
Day 27- Yet, the Lord who knows all hearts knows when our REPENTANCE has come from true conviction of sin or whether it has been prompted by fears for our own welfare. What seemed to be the motivating factor behind the Israelites' fasting and confession of sin?
I Samuel 7:3B, 7-8
Day 28- Notice when they cried out for Samuel to pray for them it was as though the Lord was just a distant person to them and thus they needed to rely on Samuel's close relationship to bring them through a pending crisis.
Reread: I Samuel 7:8
Whose cry did God answer?
I Samuel 7:9
Day 29- Samuel's prayers for the nation of Israel are living proof that God will hear and answer even one righteous man's prayers on behalf of a whole nation. What did God do throughout Samuel's entire lifetime?
I Samuel 7:13
Day 30- If you see in your own country or life some of the signs of degradation that the Israelites went through then begins your duty to pray. First, make sure your own life is right with God. Then you will be in a position to affect the direction of an entire nation.
2 Chronicles 7:14 / Psalm 4:3 / Psalm 5:1-3
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