Saturday Spotlight- Samuel

iStock_000019044346_ExtraSmallSamuel was a great prophet who led the people of Israel as an honest judge and prophet, but he was still human. Dedicated to God from birth, young Samuel mistook God’s voice for that of Eli, his spiritual mentor.


Years later, when King Saul’s arrogance and disobedience caused God to reject Saul, God insturcted Samuel to anoint a new king. Although devoted to God, Samuel was not above feeling fear at the thought of crossing this powerful king. Nevertheless, he followed God’s direction and went to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. In spite of a lifetime of devotion to God, Samuel still had trouble perceiving God’s will. When Samuel was impressed by the physical appearance of Jesse’s older son, God had to remind him not to be influenced by good looks, but to judge by the heart. Only then did Samuel look deeper and discern that Jesse’s youngest son David, who was presumably lowest in the family pecking order, was actually the one God intended to be the next king. 


As a boy, Samuel mistook God’s voce for that of Eli, his spiritual teacher. While we learn from others, it’s important to remember that they are human; only God belongs in first place. Even after a lifetime of serving God, Samuel still mistook God’s intention when discerning which of Jesse’s sons to anoint. Learning to follow God’s will is a never-ending process, so we don’t have to be discouraged if we get it wrong sometimes. God can always lead us back.


Samuel’s life reassures us that dedication does not mean perfection and that imperfection does not mean ineffectiveness in serving the Lord and his people.


Despite years of dedication to God, Samuel was initially taken in by the good looks of Jesse’s oldest son. What are some superficialities that people admire today? Which of these do you most easily fall prey to? What can help provide perspective?

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But Jesus answered “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’” (Matthew 4:4)


All Bible quotes are from the Good News Translation unless otherwise noted.


It is reassuring that Jesus called fishermen and tax collectors to be his followers. These were laymen, not Scripture experts. It is wise to seek guidance from religious scholars and clergy who have studied Scripture to avoid errors in interpretation. But the Bible is also a gift given to each of us, to use as a basis for prayer and meditation.


I’m not a Biblical scholar; I’m an expert only on my own experience. Following the Scripture passage is a brief meditation along with a question or two as a springboard for your own reflections. Please feel free to share your own thoughts or insights on the passage by adding a comment. All comments are moderated, so please allow some time for your comment to be posted.

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