King's Business - 1915-02




S u b je c t : The history of Israel; its last judge and jts first king. W r ite r : Uncertain. Tradition ascribes the first part of the book to Samuel himself, after whom it is called, and the latter part to the prophets, Nathan and Gad. This would seem to be warranted by the state­ ment in 1 Chron. 29:29. T im e C overed by t h e H isto r y : 1155- 1056 B. C. v. 1. “And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD/’ There is an exquisite beauty about these simple words. In them we have one of the many Bible illustra­ tions of true and acceptable piety in early childhood. One does not need to become a man or even a youth before he can ren­ der intelligent and acceptable service to God (cf. Matt. 19:13, 14; 18:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:15 R. V.). Samuel, though a young chiTd, entered heartily into the service of Jehovah under the direction of the aged Eli* and God passing over older servants chose him while still a child to be the one person In all Israel through whom He should make known His will, unto His people. Teach­ ableness and consecration count more with God when He would reveal His truth than age or experience (cf. Matt. 11:25; 1 Tim. 4:12; Matt. 21:16). But Samuel was no conceited upstart but a modest boy not­ withstanding all the revelations given to him. He went right on attending to all his humble duties and made no parade of the revelations that God made to him (v. 15). Early piety is often spoiled and made of­ fensive by the self-sufficiency and supercil­ iousness of young Christians, especially of boy preachers, but there was nothing of this in the case of Samuel. “And the Word of the LORD ivas prec­ ious in those days.” The Word of the Lord always is precious (Ps. 19:9, 10) but it is not always regarded as precious. Happy is

OUTLINE I. The birth and call of Samuel, 1-3. II. The capture and return of the Ark, 4-7. III. The anointing and choosing of Saul, 8 - 12 . IV. The testing and rejection of Saul, 13-15. V. The anointing and persecution of David, 16-27. VI. The close of Saul’s life, 28-31. the man who esteems “the Word of the Lord” at its true value and who estimates it as “more precious than gold, or mucfi fine gold.” “There was no open vision.” The Re­ vised Version renders the Hebrew word translated “open” by “frequent.” The exact force of the word is “widely spread” or “spread abroad” ; the thought is that God rarely spoke, there was a dearth of the Word of God (cf. Amos 8:11, 12). Lees- ser’s translation, commonly used among the Jews, is “And the Word of the Lord was scarce in those days; prophecy was not extended.” “Scarce” is not at all an ade­ quate translation of the Hebrew word ren­ dered “precious.” It means “precious,” “costly,” and is applied to precious stones (1 Kings 10:2, 10, 11) and to persons who are dearly beloved (Ps. 45:9, where it is translated “honorable”), but the thought that Divine revelation was not widely ex­ tended is the thought of the words in this connection; there were few speaking for God in those days. It was a day not alto­ gether unlike our own. But by the few who really longed for God, His Word was regarded as all the more precious because it was so seldom heard. When the Word of God is as common as it is in some quarters many set little store by it. God will judge them for this even as He did Israel for their contempt for His Word (Amos 8:4-6, 11, 12). How little some of


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