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Exploring theological themes in the Book of Samuel

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Today’s bible study is 1 Samuel 12:24: Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.

Today’s scripture reminds us of the importance of serving the Lord in truth. Samuel tells us how he did this, struggling to reverse the ungodly conditions of his day.

As the Book of Samuel begins, Israel was at a low point spiritually. The priesthood was corrupt, the Ark of the Covenant was not at the tabernacle, idolatry was practiced, and the judges were dishonest. Through the influence of Samuel, a Godly man, these conditions were reversed.

There are four predominant theological themes in I and 2 Samuel. The first is the Davidic covenant. The books are literally framed by two references to the ‘anointed’ king in the prayer of Hannah and the song of David. This is a reference to the Messiah, the King who will triumph over the nations who are opposed to God. According to the Lord’s promise, this Messiah will come through the line and lineage of David and will establish David’s throne forever. The events of David’s life recorded in Samuel foreshadow the actions of David’s greater Son.

A second theme is the sovereignty of God, clearly seen in these books. One example is the birth of Samuel in response to Hannah’s prayer. Also, in relation to David, it is particularly evident that nothing can frustrate God’s plan to have him rule over Israel.

Third, the work of the Holy Spirit is empowering people for a divinely appointed task is evident. The Spirit of the Lord came upon both Saul and David after their anointing as king. The power of the Holy Spirit brought forth prophecy and victory in battle.

Fourth, the Books of Samuel demonstrate the personal and national effects of sin. The sins of Eli and his sons resulted in their deaths. The lack of reverence for the Ark of the Covenant led to the death of a number of Israelites. Saul’s disobedience resulted in the Lord’s judgment and he was rejected as king over Israel. Although David was forgiven for his sin of adultery and murder after his confession, he still suffered the inevitable and devastating consequences of his sins.

As we can see, the Lord wants every Christian to serve him and to consider the great things that he has done for us. May we never forget the glory of the Lord and the power of his retribution. Lead us in the ways of the Spirit that we may fulfill our obligations as sons and daughters of God, now and forever.

Credits: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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