1: "Finally, the LORD said to Samuel, "You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel. Now fill your horn with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my new king." - "Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that He had made Saul king over Israel." (1 Sam 15:35 NRSV)
2a: "But Samuel asked, "How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me." - Listening to and obeying God was Samuel's strongest attribute.
7: "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions." - Samuel was looking for a replacement for Saul, a tall and handsome king. However, he willingly set aside his preconceived ideas and followed God's guidance.
13: "So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the olive oil he had brought and poured it on David's head. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him from that day on." - Following through with God's plans results in spirit-filled lives.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you listening to God?
Samuel's entire life is a model for listening and paying attention to God's voice in every situation in life. When things do not seem to be going as you think they should, when the plans of God seem to have gone astray and the world seems filled with darkness and despair, do you hear God calling you out of your doldrums with new tasks in store? Can you set aside your mourning and despondency long enough to recognize that God does not need you to be dwelling on the past but to be focused on the glorious future that He has in store? Will you put aside your questions and move forward in ministry?
What do you see? By what attributes do you judge people? Do you have preconceived ideas and concepts that limit your ability to minister? Do you tend to categorize and label? Do you have an image set in your mind of those you seek? If God has called you into a specific ministry and if that ministry is to seek the lost and to build His kingdom, should you not be open to all possibilities that might present themselves and not just those situations that seem to fit into the image you have created? As you minister, are you looking into people's hearts or only at their outward appearance and actions?
Are you filled with "the Spirit of the Lord?" Samuel followed through with God's plan and anointed David as the King of Israel in spite of all the implications and consequences against it. As a result of listening to God and acting on His suggestions, great things occurred. What great things are occurring in your life as a result of your response to God? When you have listened and acted in the manner God has instructed, do you see positive results? Do you feel the Spirit of the Lord actively involved in your life and in the lives you touch? Is this an indication that you, too, have been anointed for kingly duties within God's kingdom? Promises of the Gospel:
We cannot read a single story about Samuel without being amazed by his ability to listen to God and to do what God asks. If we choose to model our lives after any single character in the Bible, Samuel must be at the top of our list. When we listen to God and act, great things happen. When we follow through with the ministry God calls to do and when we set aside our preconceived notions and ideas to see directly to the heart of the matter, the kingdom of heaven will be revealed. In many ways, opening our hearts to the Spirit of the Lord for guidance and direction is all we need to do to become holy and sanctified in God's sight. All other issues of religiosity and faith become moot when we choose to hand our lives over to God and to follow His voice wherever He leads.