The Book of 1 Samuel is all about leadership. We were prepared for this theme of kingship by the cycle of futility in the book of Judges, “in those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.” We need to understand that God’s design for His people the nation of Israel was that of a theocracy – quite different from the nations around with their visible king.
The parallel I would draw today is God’s design for leadership in His church. The Holy Spirit is the one mediating the Headship of Christ over His church universal as well as over every local body of believers. Once again you have the invisible God seeking to lead His people into a dependent relationship with Himself. However, human nature is to oppose the plan of God and to formulate a leadership model patterned after the world. What we end up with too often is dependency upon a single leader (who might have some helping assistants) who becomes the “shepherd model” when Christ wants to be seen as the direct shepherd with a plurality of godly men functioning together in love and humility as under-shepherds.
The Divine Appointing to Leadership Does Not Justify Violating God’s Revealed Leadership Principles
Judges 8:7 “they have rejected Me from being king over them”
Rejecting God’s Design for Leadership
I. Transition from Samuel (Period of Judges / Theocracy)
II. To Saul (Monarchy / The People’s Choice)
III. To David (the man after God’s own heart)
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• Gain insights into the pitfalls and opportunities of spiritual leadership.
• Learn how our stubbornness and self-will can rob us of God’s best for us.
• Renew your appreciation for the Holiness of God and your fear of the high cost of disobedience.
• Be inspired by some of the heroic attitudes and actions of David as a type of Christ.
• Appreciate Christ as the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King.
• Dedicate yourself to the hard work of parenting as an even higher priority than ministry.
• See loyal friendship in action.
David Malick: “YHWH’s deliverance of his people from the oppression of evil will not be realized through those like Eli and Saul who trust in natural strength but through those like Hannah, Samuel, Jonathan, and David who in their weakness trust in Him.”
J. Sidlow Baxter: “In the case of 1 Samuel there is really no need to burden ourselves with a detailed analysis. Fix it well in the mind – and the memory will easily retain it – that 1 Samuel is the book of the transition from the theocracy to the monarchy; and the book of the three remarkable men – Samuel, the last of the Judges, Saul, the first of the Kings, and David, the greatest of the kings.
If we remember this, we cannot easily forget the central spiritual message of the book. God had called Israel into a unique relationship with Himself; and God Himself was Israel’s King invisible. Through disobedience the people had brought chastisement upon themselves from time to time, but were willing to attribute much of this, later, to the fact that they had no human and visible king, such as the surrounding nations had; and now, at length, as Samuel ages, and his sons prove perverse, the people make it the occasion to press for a human king. The fateful choice is recorded in chapter viii. which should be read carefully. It was a retrograde step, dictated merely by seeming expedience. It was the way of human wisdom, not of faith in God. It was taking the lower level. It was a refusing of God’s best, for the second best-and there is much difference between the two.”
Bob Deffinbaugh: “What we have seen thus far (and will continue to see throughout the remainder of the Old Testament) is that no human system of government will work as it should so long as men are involved. Individual saints like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and even Moses will fail. The period of the judges failed because of “human failure.” No system of government will ultimately succeed if mere men carry it out. The problem is not with these systems as much as it is with man himself. We soon come to see that the only perfect world will come about when it is governed by God and when sin ceases to exist. If we supposed that having a king would change things, we are wrong. The Kingdom of God will come when the King Himself returns to this world to rule over it. Until that day, we can only pray.”
Estes: “Israel has a problem, but it isn’t leadership- it’s sin. Sin is their mortal wound, and they need surgery. A bad king will only create conditions in which their disease can spread and at best, a good king can be a Band-Aid to slow the bleeding. What they need is open-heart surgery. What they need is a transplant.
And God is the surgeon. 2nd Samuel 7 records a covenant God makes with David, a covenant in which He promises to provide David an heir whose kingdom will be eternal. This promise finds its fulfillment in Jesus who broke the power of sin and offers us a heart transplant.”
Biblical Expositor: “The books of Samuel contain some of the finest historical writings in all literature. there is no party, class, or personal bias to distort the picture, no spotlight of the good or shading of the bad, no calculated juxtaposing of statements to blunt truth. Here is laid bare the universal frailty of human nature: here stands naked the sinner beneath the royal garment; here is revealed the hidden cause behind the visible effect; here truth suffers neither from the malignity of cunning foe nor the menace of ignorant friend. This history differs not only in degree, but also in kind, from all other history of ancient east.”
Campbell: “This transition from the period of the judges to the Davidic rule is integral to the unfolding of God’s redemptive purpose in the Bible. With the anointing and accession of David, God’s covenantal revelation in the Old Testament will reach a peak. The promises of blessing on David’s kingdom and on David’s heir will lift the focus of salvation history beyond Solomon to Christ, the greater than Solomon. All the tensions and difficulties within the kingdom up to that point are preparatory to the revelation of the Messiah who is to be the Son of David.”