This week we consider the role of Samuel who anointed the first two kings of Israel
Reading:1Samuel 12:22 – 25
Born late in his parents lives, his mother dedicated Samuel to God before he was born. Early in his life he began to serve God in the temple at Shiloh. It was a time of unrest with constant threats from the Philistines. The tribe of Israel were mainly independent of each other, but began to recognise the need for a unifying leader. As Samuel grew he became somebody with power and influence, regarded as a Seer [later known as a prophet], someone respected and ‘having God’s ear’.
Leaders of the tribes asked him to appoint a king, a leader for them al
l. Samuel advised against this, but then understood from God that Saul was to become king. He was well known for being obedient to God and so when Saul came to him he poured oil over him anoint him to the leadership role.
Not all the leaders of the tribes were in agreement about Saul’s kingship, but Samuel advised the people, including Saul, to keep faith with God and all would be well. Saul, as we have read was disobedient to God’s instructions, often depending on his own insight. Samuel predicted his fall from grace, but was saddened at his demise. God instructed him however to ‘fill his horn with [anointing] oil and go to Jesse as one of his sons would be the next king. So, David, the youngest son, was anointed in Saul’s place.
Samuel was obedient to God all his life. He was instrumental in bridging the transition of the tribes of Israel from a system that we know as Judges to the new system of Kings. His story reminds us of God’s shaping of human life, emphasising that disregard of God can lead to disaster. This is the theme of the book of Samuel.
To Ponder: Do we recognise prophets in our day, even though we may not use that term?
What, if any, do you consider to be the rights of kingship?
Prayer: Gracious God, we recognise the faithfulness of Samuel, and his obedience to you. He was regarded as wise, holding many roles of power. He was a judge, a priest, a prophet and a leader, someone whose opinion was trusted as coming from God.
We cannot all have such a wide influence, but what we say and do can affect and influence others. Help us to be good role models, to think before we speak, to act for the welfare of others, and to care for your creation. Give us the determination to be faithful followers. We may not be anointed with oil, but we can be guided by your Holy Spirit. Make us alert to what you ask us to do in our own lives. Amen.