I swear I have seen him! I know what he looks like! I have caught a glimpse of his elderly gait. I have heard the tone of his voice. I hear him speak in English, even though it was ancient Hebrew he undoubtedly spoke. I have even overheard him muttering to himself concerning his own decision making processes, and his God. For these notes I have read the biblical account of his life and pondered over it again and again; it may even be in the area of three figures. I have read every book I can get my hands on that mentions him or discusses him.
Who are we talking about? For me personally – the ultimate in Old Testament biblical prophets. The supreme forerunneer of those who started their days work by declaring, “Thus says Jehovah”. The Father figure for other generations of prophets to follow. This man is the nearest thing to a benchmark amongst the widest mixture of human types that ever sought the same interest – I am talking of the incredible bunch of men we refer to as “The Old Testament Prophets”. We are discussing a man mountain – nay – a veritable continent.
I have grown to love this man despite him annoying me. He has had the lack of consideration to wake me up at night, to perplex me as to why he uttered a certain sentence, or why he did or did not do a certain action. He has, through the years, made me late for appointments while my reflective juices “squandered” time and pondered some of his rationale and motivations. He has at times kept me entwined in his bundle of life whilst my drink or food has gone cold while I merely “finished typing the thought of the moment” – for another hour.
I have depressed myself wondering how he responded and felt about his corrupt children. I have been stunned at times as it continually dawned on my soul more and more that the sheer dynamic force of his righteous character and creative teaching that he brought to his generation impacted Israel for the next two or three generations. In fact there are certain aspect of his world view that still impacts us today in the 21st century New Testament church. I have been amazed at the degree of intimacy and relaxed spirituality he had with his God.
All this, and more, have left me at moments in my prayer times crying out with acute heartache, “God give me at least some of what this man had.”
I am referring to Samuel ben Elkanah.
Samuel the prophet! Samuel the Priest! Samuel the Kingmaker! Samuel the Apostle to his generation! Samuel the Old Testament Evangelist cum revivalist! Samuel the Shepherd of a nation! Samuel the teacher of a people who, initially in his early days, were lost in idolatry and synchretism joining Yahweh with casrved idols! Samuel the Judge! Samuel the monarchical constitution writer! Samuel the personal confidante of the Almighty!
And that’s just for starters.
We are talking of a man whose Godliness was so powerful it clearly corrected not only his own generation but the following century or so after his demise.
Oh Samuel! Samuel! I feel like a toddler having a tantrum and throwing his Teddy out of the buggy. I fell like a spoilt child who is angry because he cannot have his way. But I shall still bang on the floor with my fists and cry out to God from the depths of my guts. “Lord! Give me just a little bit of what Samuel had and was”.
The following notes started as a devotional notebook of a diary on my PC over 20 years ago and was not intended for public perusal. It grew and grew. It finished up as what I am editing here on this blog.
May God use it to communicate to you my reader, something of what I see of a man who, to my mind, towers above all the biblical men of God – even Moses. And my goal is not just to impart something concerning Samuel, but most of all, the God who Samuel served.