We often wonder about the childhoods of great people. We have little information about the early years of most of the people mentioned in the Bible. One delightful exception is Samuel; he came as a result of God’s answer to Hannah’s fervent prayer for a child. (In fact, the name Samuel comes from the Hebrew expression, “heard of God”.) God shapes Samuel from the start. Like Moses, Samuel was called to fill many different roles: judge, priest, prophet, counsellor, and God’s man at a turning point in the history of Israel. God worked through Samuel because Samuel was willing to be one thing: God’s servant.
Samuel showed that those whom God finds faithful in small things will be trusted with greater things. He grew up assisting the high priest (Eli) in the tabernacle until God directed him to other responsibilities. God was able to use Samuel because he was genuinely dedicated to God.
Samuel moved ahead because he was listening to God’s directions. Too often we ask God to control our lives without making us give up the goals for which we strive. We ask God to help us get where we want to go. The first step in correcting this tendency is to turn over both the control and destination of our lives to him. The second step is to do what we already know God requires of us. The third step is to listen for further direction from his word – God’s map for life.
Strengths and accomplishments:
- Used by God to assist Israel’s transition from a loosely governed tribal people to a monarchy
- Anointed the first two kings of Israel
- Was the last and most effective of Israel’s judges
- Is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11
Weakness and mistake:
- Was unable to lead his sons into a close relationship with God
Lessons from his life:
- The significance of what people accomplish is directly related to their relationship with God
- The kind of person we are is more important than anything we might do
- Where: Ephraim
- Occupations: Judge, prophet, priest
- Relatives: Mother: Hannah. Father: Elkanah. Sons: Joel and Abijah
- Contemporaries: Eli, Saul, David
Key verses: “The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognised that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD” (1 Samuel 3:19, 20).
His story is told in 1 Samuel 1-28. He is also mentioned in Psalm 99:6; Jeremiah 15:1; Acts 3:24; 13:20; Hebrews 11:32.