These are notes collected from studying with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
2 quick things from 1 Samuel that speak to me:
- The place that holiness and integrity plays in advancing against the enemy (see 1 Sam. 4). From the outside, it seemed like they had all ingredients for success: the Ark, the poeple, the passion, etc….but in reality, it was just a shell and a performance…their hearts were self-centered and far from God with no sign of repentance…they mistakenly thought God wanted outward things to win victory…but soon they tragically learned God wants your heart pure before Him (think of Josh 7 – Achan)
- When God miraculously routes the enemy (1 Sam 14) – I’m amazed at how often the people STILL advance against the enemy after the routing!! If I were in their shoes, I wonder if I’d watch the miracle and think, “Phew, we dodged a close one,” then go back to my home. But these guys see the miracle (and still being outnumbered) charge ahead. The same with Gideon, and other times. This has really struck me. I’m leaning into this…chasing down the enemy a bit where I see God’s hand of deliverance moving.
2 More Things
- Look at how strong God’s anointing is toward Saul in 1 Sam. 9-10. Prophecy, sign, wonder…it is all so powerful. He was clearly the one appointed by God to “restrain My people” (1 Sam. 9:17). But as you read on in 1 Samuel, Saul gets worse and worse and worse :disappointed: …this doesn’t mean God wasn’t in his appointment or beginning. But it does mean God may start something, and yet it goes south later. God is still perfect, and good, and holy through it all…and then redeems it later for His glory and purposes. I dare say this is the summary of the entire Bible (starting with Adam and Eve who God started everything off with)
- I was struck this morning by the beginning traits of David’s mighty men: (1) his family members, (2) those in hard times, (3) those in debt, (4) those unhappy/disgruntled (see 1 Sam 22). This is the kind of rag-tag team the Lord is looking for — Amen!
Music, Prayer, Prophecy
After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying.
1 Samuel 10:5 – I am struck by how much music and prayer and prophecy are all together in the scripture
1 Sam 1-12 Reflections
This is an incredible book! Really a fun read for me anyway because of all the drama and cast of characters. It’s amazing thinking of all David had to endure for so long at the hands of Saul and really gives even new perspective to so many of his Psalms for me when he was really in distress for so long and running for his life for a lot of his young life but yet holding fast to the Lord.
In the beginning of the book I was really struck how much the people were begging for a king and how this was not God’s intention. He has set them up with judges but then eventually He relents and gives them a king (Saul)
8:19-“the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No.” there shall be a king over us.”
For almost all human history people have wanted power and influence (a king/political influence) and the same was true when Jesus came on the scene. The people wanted a king and a political figure, not someone coming humbly on a donkey and they were furious.
So God gives in and gives them Saul and this is the start to a mess yet it’s still redeemed through the lineage of David which is amazing!
Samuel’s farewell address in chapter 12:19-25 absolutely rocked me. We can sin, but we still can be redeemed if we turn back and follow God with our whole hearts and turn from our wickedness. There is great hope for redemption in this! 12:24-“only fear the Lord and serve Hum faithfully with all your heart. For consider the great things He has done for you.”
1 Sam 13
been thinking about 1 Sam 13…
- Saul waited the allotted time for Samuel
- Samuel didn’t come as soon as it seems like he should’ve (or as Saul expected)
- The Philistines were getting ready for battle with them
- Saul wanted to appease God and seek his help/favor before battle, so…
- Saul took it upon himself to offer the burnt offering (instead of Samuel)
Logically speaking, this makes a lot of sense and seems a very natural conclusion.BUT, God’s word said only a priest should offer the sacrifice.THUS… he chose human logic over God’s wordAND… he was rebuked and his reign began to end because of this 1 “logical” decision.”Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart, and LEAN NOT on your OWN UNDERSTANDING.” (Prov. 3:5)
David & Saul
I also think it’s a big turning point in chapter 18 after David & Goliath when David starts getting praised and everyone is singing “Saul has struck down his thousands and David his ten thousands.”
Yes, Saul had pride but even more so he was jealous of David which was the root of so much hatred.This book has so much to say about good and bad leadership, but one thing is for sure- we need to guard our hearts against jealousy.
Brian says: Though where does the pride start and the jealousy begin, right? Seems like the one fuels the other….what is your experience in counseling, Matt?
Matt says: Great question! Yes, I agree one fuels another generally. They are often intertwined and I think we see this with Saul. The Bible has much to say about pride (and also jealously) but I think of you look close it’s hard to see one without the other.
Brian responds: Good points, Matt…I’ve also wondered where insecurity interacts with pride (and jealousy). Seems like it is there often with pride. Not sure where the 1 starts or the other begins…just an observation that they often seem to go together from my very amateur eyes.
1 Sam 28 – Samuel’s Spirit Returns?
Please see Samuel’s Spirit Brought Back?
I just finished 1 Sam tonight and that medium/spiritous woman is messing with me a little. How could a great leader who Loved God turn so hard to “other” mediums to find direction…. I guess if you turn from the Lord anything is possible (sadly).
David and God’s Mercy
Another thing that hit me was David’s mercy on Saul (how many times could David killed Saul 2-3 times?). What a picture of the mercy and grace God gives us. He could strike us down so quickly, yet extends grace.
Random thought, the multiple wives things messes me up. It’s not a good picture of Christ and the Church. But God allowed it.
About the multiple wives thing…
- God shows his original intent in creating Adam and Eve (not Adam and Eve, Victoria, Susanna, you get the picture). From the beginning He designed 1 man to 1 woman.
- Then, even before Israel fell into sin by demanding a king, God prophetically knew it would happen. And says this about the kings: “He [the king] must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.” (Deut. 17:17). Again, consider God warned about this before they even had a king! Sadly, the kings seem to rarely follow this command.
- God also shows the picture of 1 man and 1 wife in His marriage to the church: Christ is our husband, we are his 1 Bride (Eph. 5). To bring in any other lovers is idolatry, adultery, and blasphemy.
- So, saying all this, it’s true that God allows multiple wives, though it’s never His highest intent. He allowed for it in the OT because He knew their hearts were hard, and would already do it, so He gave some accommodation for it (like in Matt. 19:8). But it was never his intent. In fact, as we will see soon in David’s life, it always seems to be a VERY BAD idea in the Old Testament because it leads to lots of drama and issues and fighting, etc.