Posts Tagged With: Holy Spirit

Samuel’s Legacy seen in the Lives of those that were Influenced by him

The  Master Builder who Left a United Israel.   

The anarchical mess of the sprawling godless tribes of Israel carried on in ignorance of the seismic change in history that was about to take place over the next generation, all of which was precipitated and initiated through the birth of Shmuel ben Elkanah. That blessed child born in Ramathaim Zophim passed away, some think, about a full century after the day of his birth. It was Samuel’s time. The Samuellian era. The last and highest peak of the line of characters known as the Judges. This man was also the first and, to my mind, possibly the highest peak of the prophetic office and gift that ever ministered to the whole of Israel during the period of time in which the Hebrews lived in the land. He had become a one man institution. He was the posthumous pillar that epitomised what was to be the future greatness of Israel. He was treasured and feared by all in his mature years, and sadly missed after his passing.  He was anointed and appointed by God Almighty as His representative in Israel throughout his lifetime. What he left behind him was as unified, Godly and purposeful as it was the opposite of those things at the moment he had been conceived. Even while he homed in and concentrated on the schools of the prophets after his last words with Saul, the very fact that he was alive and moving “in God,” even though it was in the background of Israel’s political and tribal cosmos, Samuel gave the nation comfort, and a brighter vision to look forward to.

There was, of course, the hope of the great charismatic leader of men, David. But he was a man that Judah and Benjamin loved beyond reason, while the northern tribes knew less about.

The ground had been prepared for the Glory of God to return, just as dramatically as it had left when the Philistines had stolen the Ark of the Covenant in the early days of Samuel’s youth. The Ark was indeed safe in Israeli hands and had been after several months of Philistine illicit ownership, but the Hebrews had never had it been returned to the Tabernacle. There is no way we can possibly imagine that it was left in the home of a certain Abinadab, by Samuel’s forgetfulness, or anybody else’s forgetfulness. It was a deliberate act of “neglect.” That is, it was deliberately left there by Samuel. It was symbolic of a new day dawning. Samuel was so busy relating to God, hearing from God and ministering to the people of Israel, as well as judging them, that to trouble himself with the symbol of the God he was relating to seemed almost irrelevant.  The substance of their faith was much more vital than the symbol of the same. Samuel was a man born out of time, with a world view, belief system and spiritual disciplines far ahead of his generation. Samuel was living in his own, “Holy Spirit church age.” All he did was relate to Him who is invisible, in as real a relationship as Peter, James and John had done in the days of Christ’s ministry. Samuel would have been considered a spiritual gargantuan giant no matter what age he had lived in. Samuel was the classic wild, giant, dangerous prophet.

Samuel’s anointing had led him in a different direction than the proscribed national slavery to what had degenerated into a deadened sacrificial system. Samuel was a man of the Spirit all the days of his life. He was worshipping the Lord with abandon before he had received that first prophetic word in his youth. By keeping the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle in a low profile with the people, it meant that he could keep the person of Yahweh Himself in the highest possible highlight. For Samuel, everything was a matter of the Spirit. The input of the prophetic word, and the spread and education of aspiring prophets was changing the face of Israel then, in a way that would have a future impact on the entire planet. Samuel’s lifelong circuit ministry of judging and teaching was a generational, credible call to return to the purity and faith of a life lived in devotion to Yahweh. This, after all, was the basic reason for Israel’s existence on the planet. How great was the force of righteousness within the prophet Samuel, and how magnificent was the working of the anointing that was upon him.

Samuel’s adherence to keeping the most intimate relationship with God and obeying Him as often and as consistently as he did throughout his life meant that the schools of the prophets had time to have become engrafted into the atmosphere of Israel’s culture within his own lifetime. His withdrawal from public and political life meant he could give his whole being to the development and the solidifying of an understanding into the world of prophecy and how it was to be maintained. Who knows what treasures he passed on to influence the future prophets.  The schools blossomed and developed under him, and were to direct the people and rulers of Israel over the next 500 years or so, not that they always listened to them.  Because of the fact that the prophetic Spirit and prophetic schools in Israel ultimately gave us the writing prophets, we could actually say that Samuel is still impacting the world today through them.  The writing prophets have left us a deep rich seam of truth that has not to this day been fully fathomed.

Samuel was the original seed of which all later prophets in Israel were the flower and growth. Sacrifice of animals was never abandoned altogether of course, but the sacrificial activity was brought into subjection to the flow of the Spirit of God and the prophetic word and office.  Samuel had gone quite some distance in tying Israel to Yahweh rather than to the Mosaic system that was attached to their history. The Tabernacle and the corrupted Levitical priesthood had lost the awe and wonder of the manifest presence of God in the infrastructure of that form of worship. Samuel had brought the drifting vessel of Israel, at first floating without a sail or rudder, back into its divine haven in all its proper function, i.e. loving God and walking in the parameters of His law.  The land of Israel was and is Yahweh’s land. The people of Israel were and are God’s nation. The whole of Samuel’s life and mission was to see his beloved nation brought under the umbrella of the terms of that covenant that they had so crassly broken.

Samuel had died while David was still on the run from the demonised and demented first monarch, Saul ben Kish. Yet even with the sorrow of the prophet dying without seeing the unity of one nation happily existing under the rule of a man who was after God’s own heart, the loyalty that was brewing in support of the anointed son of Jesse might possibly have been seen and perceived by the wise old man as a truly God inspired phenomenon. This would have allowed Samuel to die in peace concerning the future of the nation after he had departed to Sheol. Yet, whether he saw the hearts of the people turning towards David or not, I feel sure he would have seen in the Spirit what kind of a giant killing king Jesse’s son was to become. The priesthood may have turned out to be wimpish and retiring, but there was a Lion out of the tribe of Judah that was moving into maturity and position.

Saul was famous for his bravery across the twelve tribes, if only infamous for his demonic illness around the southern tribe of Judah. The bible reads as if it was only the confidantes of Saul’s court and the intimates of David’s friends and family that new of all the attempts on his life made by the son of Kish. Common folk might have turned against Saul had they known of the demonically inspired murderous attempts the sovereign had made time and again.  The giant killing, sweet psalmist of Israel was on the run from Saul for many years, while Samuel was alive, and the king’s hot pursuit of his successor continued until his death at Gilboa. There was indeed a conflict of loyalties in the hearts of the people. What were the Godly population of Judah to do? Follow Saul the present king who was clearly not the man he was when he was crowned? Or, like all the other nations that surrounded them, should they rid the land of an unwanted megalomaniac, dictator of a king and put the revolutionary “new boy on the block,” on the throne? Which way was the right one?

David had undoubtedly been taught well by Samuel. God had put Saul in office. God would remove Saul from office. Whatever human means or circumstances would bring about Saul’s removal from the throne, it was not to be by the hand of any God-fearing Hebrew, especially the man who was destined to succeed him. Because of Samuel’s integrity, morality and his grasp of patience for God to resolve issues, after Samuel’s death, the nation, in particular the people of Judah, waited to see what was about to happen. It was clearly a wait for Saul to die. Nobody in Israel it seems, wanted to touch this “Ark,” this anointed of God. Saul, as it were, was a holy vessel chosen by God, no matter what the outward display of vileness revealed. The resolution of the issue was all about divine intervention and a trust in the character of the Ever Living God, and His direct interaction with the people and concerns of Israel.  The tribe of Judah would have wanted Saul’s removal to happen quickly. I often wonder if the Northern tribes had a clue about Saul’s political intrigues against his own son and the man he had long suspected wanted to, “steal,” his throne. The North–South divide in Israel, from Joshua’s time on, is plain to see. On crossing the Jordan, the major campaign in the south, under Joshua, was nothing but a thorough conquering of Judah’s territory. As the years passed the fighting spirit that was needed for the conquering of Canaan leaked away like sand in a sieve. The book of Joshua reveals an incredible campaign in Judah, then a list of all the area that was not conquered, and a much lesser campaign in the north. The mid lands of Canaan were seemingly ignored.

One cannot but own the idea that the many people of Judah, and Benjamin, if not the rest of the nation, were aware that Saul’s successor had been anointed by Samuel and was waiting “in the wings” to assume the throne. News would have spread, throughout the southern people of Israel, of David’s two opportunities to have slain Saul – opportunities he had refused to seize, explaining his actions with the now famous words; “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.” Not only would the story have spread like wild fire amongst the people of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin, but it would have inspired them to emulate their future king. “If Saul’s successor, the son of Jesse, dare not remove Saul in order to get to the throne, then it would be wrong to override his will, his intention and his Godly motive. Therefore we, his future subjects as well as being Saul’s subjects must support our present king and wait to see what will happen.”  And so the people of Judah “sat back” as it were in respect of the throne and waited for the appropriate moment to acclaim their darling tribal representative as the rightful king.

As for the other tribes, there was a kind of cultural and social chasm once a person went North of Judah and Benjamin. (I referred above also to Simeon, but the land allotted to Simeon was a kind of annexe in the midst of Judah’s land. After a generation or two had passed, it seems Simeon was totally absorbed into Judah and is hardly mentioned again in the Bible.) Probably in ignorance of the details of the heavy story of Saul’s downfall, depression and demonization, there was a kind of nominal, “God save the King!” attitude amongst those northern tribes. There was little knowledge up north to think anything else but good things about Saul. If one pedantically marks the map of Israel and the narrative’s geographical location, while reading both David’s life and Saul’s reign, very little transpired in the northern tribal areas, but when it did, it shows a king who endeared himself to the people. Saul was much loved up north.  Possibly unawares of the court politics and intrigues, some were more than nominal in their support of Saul. Some risked their lives simply to return Saul’s cadaver to the land of Israel for a proper burial and time of mourning, showing an almost religious commitment to Saul even when dead. No matter what they thought of Saul down south, the north truly honoured their first king.

The deep mindset of division between Judah and the rest of the nation, that later split the whole hegemony into two after Solomon died, was already in the psyche of the people. It started as jealousy and was simmering for centuries before Rehoboam the son of Solomon was crass enough, and silly enough, not to soften the tax regime that funded the king’s lifestyle of luxury. It was the genius of David’s ability to join the nation into one that was a major aspect of the glory of his reign. David was anointed with a Spirit of wisdom. During his reign there was a joining of all the twelve tribes. Solomon’s heavy weight of taxes, and having the nation’s young sons and daughters away from their homes during the course of each year, missing farming time and normal home life for the king’s indulgence was tolerated only because of the wisdom and the character of Solomon and the deep love that the whole united hegemony of Israel had for the demised David and his son. Once the untried and untested son of Solomon had blotted his copy book, the amputation of north from south was done deftly and quickly, without any sociological anaesthetic.

The fact that we can see in retrospect that the nation was on the cusp of greatness, has to be understood as the gift of God on Samuel and then David’s life, a gift that was perpetuated with the very different gift of Solomon. It was an anointing of the Spirit of God that was placed on David’s life simultaneous to the horn full of oil that Samuel poured on his head. It was God that directly made David great. It was Samuel that had anointed David when he was but a child. It was Samuel who had mentored David from the period they had together, near the end of Samuel’s life, leaving the future king with wisdom beyond any of his peers. David proved to his own experience that, “Better is one day in the courts of Yahweh,” that is with Samuel, “than a thousand in the schools of men and worldly wisdom.”

Therefore, conceivably with some of the northern tribes knowing far less about the character of David than the people of Judah, Saul still had a staunch following right up to and even after his death. The nation was soundly formed and stabilising, despite the character of their present king. Samuel had led them away from being a family of tribes with only the religious ties of their history to bind them together while living independent existences.  Samuel, under God, had been the human instrument that had put Saul in office, and, to a degree, as far as externals were concerned, Saul was fulfilling his role. The nation was one, with only the political astute minds of a few who could see the Spiritual and social San Andreas Fault line that ran the whole length of the border between Judah/Benjamin together, and the rest of the tribes to their north, as well as the huge fault line that divided Saul’s character and personality.

David must have been a wise and discerning man, whose company other kings and leaders loved even before he was king. During David’s fugitive years, he made both friends and enemies, however, he befriended some of those rulers that reigned in the days of his loneliness, making friendships that were sustained during the years of his kingship. Some of the kings of those nations that surrounded Israel were still his submissive friends once he had ascended to the throne of Israel.

The nation having been propelled forward by the wisdom of Samuel, a prophet who had an ear to God and the people, as well as a mouth to pray with and teach the masses, built a shrine around his burial place. A building still surrounds his tomb today. Israel has an annual celebration of the life of Samuel.

I salute the son of Hannah, and personally seek God for some slight semblance of his characteristics and Spirit.

4 Nebi Samuel

Nebi Samuel

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Categories: SAMUEL’S LEGACY SEEN IN THE LIVES OF THOSE THAT WERE INFLUENCED BY HIM | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Kingmaker – Prophet and Future King have Quality Time Together.

Minutes of the Meeting?

(1 Samuel 19:18-20:1a)

The most important interview since God spoke to Moses through the burning bush on Sinai! That’s what I think, anyway. David is about to have a time of interaction with Samuel. We enter into, what is for us, an unknown, but truly a very wonderful period of time for David. The number of days this time of refreshing lasted is, alas, indeterminate. But whether it was days, weeks or as long as a full month, it must have been one of the most precious times in the whole of David’s life. It was like minds mingling. It was visionaries together mingling their hearts and anticipations borne of their respective understanding of their faith. It was two men of God running the race of life with unified hearts minds and vision. It was Samuel passing on the baton to the leader of the next generation. It was the elderly prophet who was the divinely anointed kingmaker, sharing his last thoughts with the young royal dynasty maker who was also a prophet. Whether either of them was aware that this would be their only time together … who knows? It was Samuei, saying Good-bye in the late Winter of his life, sharing everything he has with David in the first days of his Spring. This is big. This is a destiny making gathering of two men who were both key in Israel‘s future. Samuel would not only be passing on knowledge by conversation and fellowship, but by impartation of the Spirit with which both of them were so heavily endowed and anointed. I am serious when I assert that this meeting was priceless  and  vital to the future of the nation of Israel and the kingdom of God.
 

Whatever we know, or hypothesize about their talks together during this period, the important thing was an issue that transcends the agenda of these two great spirits. It was deep fellowship in the Holy Spirit. It was a time of awesome change for Israel. It was transition time into a phase that would impact the entire future of the world, and the summing up of the universe in their far distant future. Jesus Christ is King of Kings because of many things, but the fact that He is the rightful heir to David’s throne is one of the most important. I wonder if Samuel’s prophetic insight allowed him to see that far.

So, in the midst of the emotional and spiritual chaos caused by the king who had reneged on his early submission to the will and plan of God, the two greatest revolutionary thinkers and men of God of their time were destined to meet for a brief few days. Oh! The importance of this “conference!” I am sure that as a conferring and sharing time together it would have had its periods of prayer, of musical praise and worship, as well as prophetic input and lengthy hours of discussion.

The text of scripture tells us plainly; So David fled and escaped and came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. 

David did not go in a relaxed holiday mood.  He “fled.”  He “escaped.” Hear the language of the writer of these scriptures. With all the caves and mountains, the deserts, the cliffs and rock faces near the Dead Sea, even way up North to the city of Dan and beyond, there were so many places where David could have gone, within Israel’s borders, in order to hide from Saul. There were innumerable options of hideouts where he would have been safe from the countless eyes and ears of the spies of the murderous king of Israel.  These were places he assuredly would have years to utilise hereafter, between the “now” and “the people making David their king.” Yet, in his newly arrived adult vulnerability and loneliness, of tormenting persecution and rejection by the king, the young man went straight to Samuel, only two to three miles up the road. A man with the anointing seeks like hearts to fellowship with.

In his purity, to say nothing of angry desperation of mind and motive, the son of Jesse wanted answers. In his heart he wanted God’s take on the circumstances that were seeking to bury him. While he was hated and plotted against by the king, he could not go back to his wife, Saul might kill her. David was aware that murder was nothing to Saul, he had already made attempts to kill him several times. He could not go home to Bethlehem, the evil King might slay all his flesh and blood family. In fact wherever he went, anybody that became his companion, could conceivably be blacklisted and killed by Saul. On top of that, some people that he knew and loved, may submit to the temptation to betray David for any reward that Saul might hand out to those that would help the king rid the world of the person he considered to be his worst “enemy.” Yet, even if he was free to go and tell some of his friends, family or acquaintances about  the true state of their king’s mind and spirit, would he want to kill the hopes of Israel simply for the sake of getting sympathy and support for himself? That was something that we discover in scripture that David would never do.

So, David went looking for Samuel, the man who, under God, was the single tangible causative factor that had brought him to this point. Now, that is wisdom!  He wanted a father’s insight. I mean,  the perspective of the father of the nation. He went to the most informative source that he knew of, of God’s dealings with men, and for that reason, possibly, hopefully,  the safest place on the planet for Israel’s “king elect.” He went alone. It was Samuel who, under God, had anointed Saul to be king. It was the same prophet who, by the same Spirit of God, had anointed David.  He must have answers to this chaotic mess of destinies that were seemingly crossing, clashing, and even cancelling each other. What could the answer be?

Nobody else knew where the sweet psalmist of Israel had gone. David had not seen Samuel since the anointing well over a decade earlier, and being anointed as the next king, while the present king still lived, it was neither sensible nor politic to let it be known in the circles of the royal court of his whereabouts. For those reasons, it does seem almost certain that nobody would have suspected that David had rushed off to the mighty, yet elderly prophet who lived only a couple of miles away from the Naioth – Samuel’s home. After all, hadn’t the prophet retired from public life? Wasn’t he having musical praise and worship together with prophetic pronouncements everyday at Ramah? There was not any reason even for a “rebel” soldier of the king to see Samuel – or so the rest of Israel thought.

David’s first line of intelligence and insight, however,  lived at the Naioth, in Ramah. The songwriting, bear and lion confronting, king in waiting, went running to the arms of the spiritual guardian of a generation. Full of fear, apprehension and lack of understanding concerning his present circumstance, David sat down with the prophet and told him “all” that Saul had perpetrated against him.

Apart from the anointing of David in 1 Samuel 16, this time of discussion, debate and devotion of Prophet  and prospective king, is the only recorded time they ever had together. David went to stay with the prophet for an unknown length of time, yet it was, in God’s plan, one of the most essential inter-actions in the entire history of the Jewish people. That is neither an overstatement or an exaggeration. I am speaking the exact truth.

One can almost sense the tears, the tension and the anger, as well as the confusion emanating from David.  I  read between the lines and hear David plead with a vehement query, issues like; “Father Samuel, Sir, you anointed me and told me I was going to be king of Israel. Since that day everything I touch has been wonderfully used of Yahweh, except with things to do with His Majesty king Saul. He hates me. Even while I sing to soothe his spirit, he is trying to kill me. What am I supposed to do? Will he let me live to become king after him? Can you still tell me that God wants me to be king one day? Would it be right for me to fight against Saul? Surely it cannot be right for me to respond violently towards him? Should I surrender to him? Should I kill him? Help me please! Give me some answers!”

How long was Samuel’s answer to David’s breaking heart and strained  understanding? A day or two? A week? A month? There was definitely no more than a month for this secret convocation of two great hearts and minds.  I say this because immediately after David had to leave Samuel, for reasons we will soon discover, David had a chat with Jonathan. In 1 Samuel 20:5 David says to Jonathan, “Tomorrow is the New Moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king.” That quotation surely could not have been spoken if David was absent from Saul for even one previous New moon. This writer is convinced that David’s time with Samuel was no longer than the length of time between two new moons, ie: a calendar month. Other than those maximum limits, the reader’s guess at the minimum time they spent together is as good as mine or anybody else’s.

Street of Prophets, Jerusalem. Looking West

It is amazing that Samuel and Saul lived only 2 or 3 miles apart, yet no dialogue ever took place between them after Samuel had pronounced to Saul that the kingdom was torn from him. The deathly silence betwixt existing king and prophet undoubtedly meant that Samuel would be the last person the king would ask about where David was “hiding.” This writer believes that Saul had no knowledge of the day Samuel anointed David as a little boy. Saul was only wanting rid of David because of his soldiering success and his popularity within the nation. Such success could have suggested to the demented king that the people might rise up against him and make the most popular soldier in Israel their new king. Saul had heard Samuel pronounce the loss of his dynasty. His agony was that he had not the slightest idea when he was to be removed. Would it be by forced abdication? Through death? Would the people of Israel reject him? On top of those tormenting questions, Saul obviously considered anybody who was loved by the people, or more successful than he, to be a threat. He must have looked at many of his warriors and repeated to himself many times  the question; “Could this be the one to replace me?” As time progressed after Samuel’s death, it must have dawned on him that David was the man in line to the throne. That does not mean, however, that Saul ever knew of the anointing of David as a young boy.

This prolonged “summit” meeting between David and Samuel was undoubtedly precious to both parties. Samuel had anointed a young lad. Now, some 15 or more years later, in walks an emotional grown man who informs him, “I am David, the son of Jesse. I am  the boy you anointed in Bethlehem.”  The embraces must have been prolonged. The tears must have been profuse. The greeting must have been emotional.

And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.  David had known where to find Samuel, even though he was not  directly at home. If the historians are correct Rama (full title Ramathaim Zophim of 1 Samuel 1) was the city of Samuel’s home (Naioth means “home” or “habitation” in Hebrew). Samuel’s home was within the city. It would not be correct to imagine Rama as anything more than what we today would refer to as a walled Hamlet. This statement  of scripture, alone, lets us know fully the heart and mind of Samuel towards the son of Jesse. The most senior leader of the nation, arguably above the king, received his own as well as Saul’s successor into his own home. The elderly yet majestic Samuel took the youthful, undoubtedly confused and traumatised David to his home, and thus to his heart. He had secrets to disclose to the future king. It was a series of secrets that could not be shared with Saul, nor anybody else in the kingdom. The secrets of the Lord were with Samuel, the man who feared Him. He was about to impart some of those secrets to the man that God Himself described as, “a man after His own heart.”

As a “by the way,” for those who insist that the word Naioth here is strictly plural, I see it as meaning that Samuel’s home was possibly surrounded by the homes of all those that were members of Samuel’s school of the prophets. Samuel was ever surrounded by music, praise and prophecy.

There are moments in the narratives of scripture where dialogue was obviously going on, yet the reader is not allowed to know the contents. There was Moses with two forty-day periods up on Sinai. Yes, he returned with the Decalogue, and from his intelligence from the Almighty we believe he wrote the first five books of the Bible on his return. However, surely  eighty days, alone in discussion with the Everlasting All knowing God leaves the imagination to run wild on what was discussed throughout the whole time. Nearly three months alone in the Shekinah glory with God Himself! The very thought of what could have been discussed is incredible.

Centuries later, Peter, James and John, overheard Moses and Elijah discussing Christ’s “exodus” from this life. What treasures would they have shared in the hearing of those three departed, heavenly men? And, believe it or not, the three disciples nearly fell asleep while overhearing their discussion!

The Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, met believers at various times during the forty days between the resurrection and the ascension. What were the “infallible proofs” that Luke talks about, that Christ showed his disciples cum apostles, during those days? Apart from the Great Commission, what transpired between Christ and the group of 500 that saw Him at one time? Where were the other 380 when the day of Pentecost was fully come? Oh! To have overheard some of the dialogue in those days and been able to hear the logistics of Christ’s words and the disciple’s responses.

There is another awesome dialogue, of which we are told nothing. Paul went and stayed with Peter at his home in Jerusalem for two weeks. How infinitely priceless would the transcripts of their conversations be?  Then again, what did Paul preach about every day of the week for three whole years at the school of Tyrranus in Ephesus?  Over a thousand sermons, or thereabouts? Was it all précised in Ephesians?

We could go on. And In the same spirit of hungering for spiritual treasure, I would dearly love to know the depth of conversation between Samuel and David during the time David was staying at the Naioth with the elderly prophet. When they first met in 1 Samuel 16, we are given the impression that no words at all passed between them – probably because of the age of David at the time. If one takes the bear narrative of scripture as the full content of the meeting when the prophet anointed David, Samuel did not even talk to David, neither was David actually named.

But now the two of them were together as grown rational, spiritual men.

Samuel must have somehow expected this meeting. I do not say that Samuel knew David was coming in the circumstances that he arrived in, although that is not beyond the realm of probability. If Samuel knew the entire story behind his first meeting with Saul the day before he arrived into Samuel’s life, I do not find it difficult to assume he knew all about David’s arrival before David arrived on his doorstep. I do say, that because of what transpired between them, Samuel was ready with divinely received information that required a face to face meeting with David, as it was to be shared with David alone, before he, Samuel, was to leave this life.

The ruins of Saul’s fortress

This writer believes firmly that there are some things that David effected when he was king that he could not have known about, nor would he have implemented, if he had not received instruction and wisdom from Samuel on those very issues. And these days at the Naioth were the only opportunity that we know of, where Samuel could have shared them with the future greatly loved king of Israel.

We can piece together from scripture some of the issues they definitely discussed together during this period. There are some things that can be extrapolated intelligently from the biblical text that they probably talked about. There are also some issues that seem logical to suggest that they would have shared together but are here just hypothetically presented. None of these things about which I am referring could have been discussed in David’s innocent youth the day he was anointed in his father’s home at the age of around 10 -12 years old..

The man who was a soldier, earning a king’s respect in battle, who had come knocking on Samuel’s door in confusion, was ready to hear the full blown truth concerning his future. There was no, “pink and fluffy,” talks between Samuel and David. This was a time of rough, tough, “man to man” exchanges, both giving the discussion content “straight from the shoulder.” Samuel would have shared the full picture with David, and left nothing out. Samuel must have expected his time with David to be brief. The dialogue and interaction between Samuel and David was to plant seeds that would build David into the kind of man that was worthy of ruling Israel. I think even the “small talk,” must have been over huge issues. What was discussed was to prepare David for the incredibly hard time that was to be his lot in life for the next 5 years at least, before he was to become king of Israel.

Let’s plough through what I perceive as the agenda of this “Summit Meeting”.

AGENDA ITEM 1. THE SURETY OF DAVID’S KINGSHIP.

Samuel must have assured David that he would definitely become king of Israel. This is rock sure fact simply because the scripture tells us so. No matter how the demonic rages of Saul ranted against him, David would be king. 1 Chronicles 9 tells us in verses 21 – 23, “So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD through Samuel.” This prospect was still at the very least five years away in the future from these moments that Samuel and David had together. “According to the word of the LORD through Samuel,” some commentators believe, means simply that he could not become king until he was anointed, as per the book that Samuel wrote. That is too weak an interpretation to refer to it as “according to the word of the LORD.”  This writer is confident that it meant that what happened at Hebron was predicted by Samuel. We have nothing in scripture that tells us that Samuel said any such thing apart from the anointing of David before the eyes of his father and his brothers. In retrospect, we of course, are fully aware of what went on when Samuel anointed Jesse’s youngest. But we cannot be sure at all that the family that was present knew what was happening. For this reason, Samuel, logically, must have spoken this word to David during this period at the Naioth. I believe that somewhere in their inter-action Samuel gave David the top most important message:  “David you will be king! The people themselves will anoint you!”

We are not actually told that Samuel said anything all to David in 1 Samuel 16, or to Jesse and his other sons. It was possibly understood to be a king’s anointing. Such anointings as David received with the precious oil, were reserved only for prophets, priests and kings (not that I can find any man being anointed with oil in scripture in order to become a prophet). I am not sure we can be certain that Jesse and his household knew what we know today about how being anointed with oil was reserved for prophets, priests and kings only. However, Jesse was not a Levite, so David could not have been anointed to be a priest. That would make a nonsense of the Mosaic law. They would not have thought of it as being a prophetic anointing, for prophets were rare at the beginning of Samuel’s life, and only increased in number and presence because of Samuel’s drive to initiate the schools of the prophets. Logically, therefore, if they considered it at all, they may have assumed that he was anointed to be king. I have to add, however, the reception David received from his brothers when he brought them food from home and was introduced to the ranting of Goliath, suggest that they had no insight at all as to David’s future, even though they were present when Samuel poured the oil (1 Samuel 17: 28-29). My thesis is that the family just had no idea what Samuel’s anointing of David was all about. It was nothing but the passing of time that educated them about David’s destiny.

It was possibly Samuel’s first major issue after they had got down to business with David at the Naioth. The prophet must have poured into David’s heart the deep and certain assurance of his destiny.

The prophet’s rationale as to the persecution thus far that the king had inflicted upon David would have been hard. It is Samuel who would have taught David to, “Touch not the Lord’s anointed,” and to “Do His prophets no harm.” Saul, David and Samuel were each of them anointed, and each of them had prophesied. We know Samuel was acknowledged as a prophet (Acts 3:24), and so was David (Acts 2:30). Saul had prophesied several times in his life (1 Samuel 10:10 -11. 18:10. 19:23). That is why it was said, “Is Saul also amongst the prophets.” However, we have to add the rider that, all prophets prophesy, but all those that prophesy may not necessarily be prophets.

Receiving his throne after much hardship must have been Samuel’s prophetic word to David. Oh the agony of the hard truth!

AGENDA  ITEM 2.THE TEMPLE.

Even though the Temple would not be built in either Samuel’s day, nor David’s life time – in fact it was not built until something like 60-70 years in the future after David’s time at Naioth – we are absolutely certain that Samuel talked at great length to David about the Temple that we now refer to, in hindsight, as Solomon’s. This was certainly on Samuel’s agenda. Allow me to explain why I say such a thing.

We know that booty and loot from many successful battles and wars was taken and dedicated for the building project of the temple. 1 Chronicles 26:26-28 states that, “… Shelomoth and his relatives had charge of all the treasures of the dedicated gifts which King David and the heads of the fathers’ households, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and the commanders of the army, had dedicated. They dedicated part of the spoil won in battles to repair the house of the Lord.  And all that Samuel the seer had dedicated and Saul the son of Kish, Abner the son of Ner and Joab the son of Zeruiah, everyone who had dedicated anything, all of this was in the care of Shelomoth and his relatives” (NASB). The house of the Lord obviously referred to the Tabernacle as well, but I find it hard to believe that the mighty Samuel would even sanction worshipping at the place that was created to house the Ark of the Covenant, whilst for well over half a century the Ark of the Covenant was infamously not there. Samuel had king, kingdom, and a king’s city in mind -as well as a magnificent Temple.

This means that the Temple was, “in the air,” even from Samuel’s day. We are not told of it in the books of Samuel, but the plan was afoot to build a permanent temple of the Lord, and Samuel was the earliest name mentioned in 1 Chronicles 26:26-28. Because the collection of treasure with which to adorn the Temple was obviously done whilst folks were alive, Samuel was collecting the loot from battles for this purpose, and it would seem obvious to assume that Samuel gave the same instruction to Saul as “Saul ben Kish” is on the list of contributors. Samuel must have also passed on the idea to David. Because it is inconceivable that Samuel might have told David when he anointed him as a child, and because we only have two meetings between Samuel and David recorded, we have to deduce that at the second meeting, while they talked together at the Naioth, Samuel shared the idea of any looted treasure being dedicated for a future temple. Because of David’s battles and victories, and the blood on his hands, God did not allow David to actually build the structure during his reign. But David did make sure that the entire facility was prepared for before he died.  In his very last days he passed the plans for the temple over to Solomon. This could only have been in David’s heart through the sharing of hearts and minds with Samuel. I often wonder if it was Samuel that suggested to David that Jebus (now known as Jerusalem) would be the best place for the temple to be built. But that is just a little bit of my own speculation.

Although Samuel and David discussing this issue is extrapolated from the verses that inform us that they planned together the singers for Divine worship that were to be ministering 24/7 around the ark at both “David’s tabernacle” and “the temple that Solomon built,” it presupposes self evidently that it was in the context of building a permanent temple that the loot was gathered and kept safe.

The things dedicated to the temple were the spoils of battle from Samuel, Saul, Abner, Joab and David during a period of between 80 and 100 years or more. That is  prophetically extremely longsighted by Samuel. This is yet another reason why I believe that Samuel is generally underrated as to his importance in Israel’s history.

AGENDA ITEM 3. THE IMPERATIVE NEED TO ENCOURAGE PROPHETS AND THEREFORE THE SCHOOLS OF THE PROPHETS.

As we plough through the agenda of the meeting between Samuel and David at the Naioth in Ramah, we need to see that we are touching some of the issues which, to my mind, puts Samuel even above Moses. We are talking about aspects of his ministry of innovation and creativity which changed the spiritual face of Israel over  a couple of hundred years well beyond his life span. The Temple, the music of praise and worship, the abandonment to the Spirit, the desperate imperative of the prophetic word – all these things and more came from and were instituted by Samuel. It was the son of Hannah that received the ideas from heaven, had them fertilised  by the prophetic Spirit that abode on his life, and then brought into manifestation, some of it in his own life, some left for David, and one major item that had to be left for Solomon.

The schools of the prophets were one of the most influential projects that Samuel initiated that went on far beyond his generation, as well as David’s and Solomon’s.

We have quite a few mentions of these schools in the Old Testament. As David settled down for a month or so of fellowship with Samuel, we get the picture of a company of prophets living at Ramah, under the management, leadership, or whatever term one should use, of Samuel. The members of this group I venture to suggest lived in a common home, or homes, in the same vicinity where Samuel had his own house at Ramah (1 Samuel 7:17). I understand that within Ramah was the Naioth. Naioth means home. It is sometimes plural, as here in 1 Samuel 19, giving the impression that the home of the prophetic school, and the home of Samuel, were in the same area, if not in the same block (1 Samuel 19:18).

The detailed origin and history of these schools are lost in obscurity. But logic absolutely demands that it was Samuel who created them. According to 1 Samuel 3:1, before the call of Samuel to his role of prophet, the prophetic word or vision was “very rare in Israel,” and prophecy was not widely heard of at all. It is absolutely certain that these schools- groups – unions of prophets arose during Samuel’s life time under his guardianship. They were seemingly called into existence by the chief prophet of Israel at that time, that could be nobody else but Samuel.

There is, however, uncertainty concerning Samuel’s leadership of, and participation with other such unions in different parts of the land beside the one that conducted its business right under the auspices of Samuel’s physical presence. For instance, in 1 Samuel 10:5 and 10:10, we find a band of prophets, utilising their gift and carrying on with their business at Gibeah, coming down from the sacrificial height there, and descending in order to meet Saul. I hasten to add that the text does not state that this company had its Naioth (home) at Gibeah, although the name of “Gibeah of God” causes this writer to acknowledge the significance of such a possibility as the prophets were active there. If there was a school at Gibeah, I see it as likely that, once Saul’s demonic depressions set in, the school would have uprooted itself and joined the group at Ramah for the physical safety from the king who lived at Gibeah. Once Saul’s demonic anger matured and the whole of the  Israeli public knew he was against Samuel as well as David, any School of the prophets at Gibeah of God would have had to change their country seat.

It is my thesis that both Gad and Nathan turned up later to be with David from out of the ranks of the school of the prophets at the Naioth in Ramah. In fact I am of the  feeling that it was Samuel that seconded Gad to minister to David, after David had left Samuel and Ramah. Gad turns up with David shortly after David left Samuel (1 Samuel 22:5). Gad was David’s prophetic Seer (2 Samuel 24:11) who gave the word of the Lord to David quite often, and sometimes at crucial moments.

Samuel’s tomb

After this reference here in 1 Samuel 19, there is no mention again of these “schools” until the days of Elijah and Elisha. They had by then evolved into the new generic term of “the sons of the prophets” ( 1 Kings 20:35). It seems that they were living in considerable numbers at Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho at least ( 2 Kings 2:3, 2:5. 2:7, 2:15, 4:1, 4:38, 6:1, 9:1).  According to 2 Kings 4:38- 43, about a hundred sons of the prophets sat before Elisha at Gilgal, and took their meals together. The number at Jericho may have been not quite as great; for fifty men of the sons of the prophets went with Elijah and Elisha to the Jordan (2 Kings 2:7, 2:16-17).

These passages tell us that the sons of the prophets also lived in a common house, as it seems to me, they did in their days of their origin at Ramah with Samuel (2 Kings 6:1). A practical point is raised with this observation, namely that only the unmarried could live in a common building. We know of prophets in scripture that were married, and therefore must have lived in houses of their own (2 Kings 4:1).

We have to take note, of course, that it cannot be logically assumed that all the prophets of the time, from Samuel and onwards, were compulsorily initiated into their gift, or office, through attendance at a school  of the prophets, exactly parallel to the fact that not all contemporary ministers of the gospel have necessarily been to Bible College or Theological Seminary.  It is not possible to prove unequivocally that these schooling groups continued uninterruptedly from the days of Samuel down to the times of Elijah and Elisha, yet logical extrapolation strongly suggests it was so. The historical line which can be traced in the influence of prophecy from the time of Samuel on, can only be practically and easily explained from the uninterrupted continuance of these colleges of prophets in training. The huge numbers of prophets, already in the land when Elijah first appeared, points to the existence of such unions as these already in existence ( 1 Kings 18:13). The use of the numbers being in “50’s” is strongly reminiscent of 2 Kings 2.

The darkness of the days of the Judges meant that Samuel was born in a time where prophets and prophecy were very rare. Samuel started the schools, and the written history of Israel screams at us that the Old Testament Hebrew prophets were very strong, very influential and incredibly numerous. They were much more numerous than twelve minor prophets and four major prophets suggest (Jeremiah wrote Lamentations as well as the book we know of as “Jeremiah.” Thus four major prophets).

My own thoughts are that Samuel kept his ear to the ground, as it were, in his ministry circuit throughout his life, talked to many people, and invited those that he discerned had some prophetic gifting, to join him with other like minded people in the dormitory home he had set up in Ramah. These schools were called into existence by chosen instruments of the Lord, such as Samuel, and later Elijah, and Elisha, whom the Lord had called to be mighty prophets, and endowed with a peculiar measure of His Spirit for their particular calling, that they might check the decline of spiritual life in the life of Israel, and bring back the rebellious “to the law and the testimony.” The name “schools of the prophets” is the one which expresses most fully the character of these groups. And we must not think of them as educational institutions like we have today, in which the pupils of the prophets received instruction in prophesying or in theological studies with a certificate at the end. No! No! No! The academic thirst for book knowledge is as far as the east is from the west when considering Eastern life style, and the man Samuel himself. The tuition was solely of the word and the Spirit. In fact there was nothing else to be considered. Hearing accurately from God, and dividing rightly the scriptures that were given by God was the only issue on the table, as far as Samuel was concerned.

Prophesying, and, indeed, being a prophet can neither be taught nor communicated by instruction, but is a gift of God which He communicates according to His free will to whomsoever He wills. And God, more often than not, chooses people that we would not. From the purely human point of view, that choice often seems utterly arbitrary. But God is not arbitrary at all with the moving of His Spirit. The divine impartation of such spiritual matters presupposes a mental and spiritual disposition on the part of the recipients as fitted them to receive it. In short, God looks on the heart. The exercise of the gift required a thorough acquaintance with the law and the earlier revelations of God, which the schools of the prophets must have promoted. It is therefore justly and generally assumed, that the study of the law and of the history of the divine guidance of Israel formed a part of the curriculum of the pupils of the prophets, which also included the cultivation of sacred music and lyricism, and united exercises for the promotion of prophetic inspiration.

That the study of the earlier revelations of God was entered into, may be very safely inferred from the fact that from the time of Samuel onwards the writing of their sacred history formed an essential part of the prophet’s labours. The cultivation of sacred music and poetry may be inferred partly from the fact that, 1 Samuel 10:5 informs us  that musicians walked in front of the prophesying prophets, playing as they went along, and partly also from the fact that sacred music not only received a fresh impulse from David, who stood in close relation to the association of prophets at Ramah during this period of time with Samuel, but was also raised by him when he was king, into an integral part of public worship. Music was by no means cultivated merely that the sons of the prophets might employ it in connection with their inspiration and prophecy, but also as means of awakening the human spirit as well as emotions of the soul after God, and of lifting up the spirit of God, and so preparing it for the reception of divine revelation (2 Kings 3:15). We are forced to include, among the spiritual exercises that took place in the schools, prophesying in companies, as at Gibeah and Ramah (1 Samuel 10:5 and 19:20).

We cannot but see the prophet Samuel as the major seminal instigating genius of this “movement” of the Spirit of God. The time of Samuel, and the very character of the man creates a radical turning-point in the development of the Old Testament history and theology, as well as in the kingdom of God overall. While Samuel was still a boy priest, learning his craft as a prophet, and how to hear God, the judgment of the Almighty fell upon the sanctuary, profaned by the shameful conduct of the priests, the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas. The Tabernacle was made bereft of the ark of the covenant, and ceased in consequence to be the scene of the gracious presence of God in Israel. National worship, it seems, insanely, carried on in the Tabernacle with no Ark within. Ridiculous in the extreme!

The mission fell upon Samuel, as prophet of the Lord, to found a new house for the spiritual life which he had ignited, by calling and gathering together those who had been awakened by the word of God that he taught. This gathering of likeminded  souls was not for the promotion of their own prophetic inclinations under his direction, but also for joining with him in the spread of the fear of God and obedience to the covenant. A true prophet has an all round ministry of presenting truth to people. This means that they would have been preaching prophets.

I believe Samuel’s casual attitude to getting the Ark of the Covenant back to the Tabernacle as a solid indication of his forward thinking. The Ark, though sacred and real in its carrying of the divine presence, was still only a symbol. The spirit of God  moving in the prophetically inclined men of Israel was the substance of which the Ark was a shadow.  Though he was a Levite, Samuel was also a prophet, and his prophetic roll was master over his Levitical priestly understanding.

Samuel knew the need  for  1. Prophetic input in everything that king and country did. And  2.Once the monarchy in Israel was allowed to reach its peak, a king’s city with a permanent temple would be required in which to house the Ark of the Covenant for the purposes of holding the nation together.

But just as, in the days of Samuel, it was the fall of the legal sanctuary and priesthood which created the necessity for the founding of the schools of the prophets; so in the times of Elijah and Elisha, in the northern kingdom of the ten tribes, it was the utter absence of any sanctuary of Jehovah which led these two prophets to support and sustain groups of prophets, and so furnish true worshippers of Jehovah with places and personnel of edification, as a substitute for what the righteous in the kingdom of Judah possessed via the prophets, the temple and the Levitical priesthood. Samuel, to my understanding was much more far sighted prophetically than even Elijah or Elisha.

There was a higher reason still, which must not be overlooked in our examination of these groups, and their importance in relation to the kingdom of Israel. We learn that those disciples under Samuel were found prophesying (1 Samuel 10:10. 19:20), and that they were seized by the Spirit of God in order to facilitate their prophecy. We also discover that the Divine Spirit which moved them, exerted a powerful influence upon all who came into contact with them (ie: with Saul and his messengers).  We need to declare that the Holy Spirit thinks and moves regardless of any human crisis or need, and always inspires people according to His eternal purpose. What I mean by this, is that over and above the sociological imperatives as explained above, there was God working out His purpose at His pleasure. God does things at His initiative and time. He moves in a manner that is not caused by, or required by any sociological phenomena that complicates the human situation. God pours out His Spirit when He says it is time. If God responds to human societal phenomena, that is His divine prerogative, but I feel as I write, that it is not quite correct to suggest that God moved, like a knee jerk reaction, simply because man turned away from Godliness at that time.

The music that precipitates the outpouring of prophecy amongst the prophets, which then flowed over Saul, and even Saul’s messengers that he later sent to Ramah to find David, is a fabulous biblical introduction to the concept of the Spirit of God being poured out, presupposing a group reception of the outpoured Spirit. The move of the Spirit in this manner is always in a group.

Consequently the founding of schools of the prophets is to be regarded as an operation of divine grace, which is generally observed to be manifested with all the greater power where sin mightily abounds. It was by no means an accidental circumstance that these groups are only met with in the times of Samuel and of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. These times resembled one another in the fact, that in both of them idolatry had gained the upper hand; though, at the same time, there were some respects in which they differed essentially from one another. In the time of Samuel the people did not manifest the same hostility to the prophets as in the time of Elijah. The darkness of the days of the Judges brought a light out of that very same darkness – that light was Samuel. The darkness that infiltrated Israel during the days of Ahab and Jezebel also brought great light out of the belly of that darkness-namely Elijah leading to Elisha.

Samuel stood at the head of the nation as judge even during the reign of Saul; and after the rejection of the latter, he still stood so high in authority and esteem, that Saul never ventured to attack the prophet even in his royal madness. In the circumstances of Samuel, what had to be done was to bring the nation to a recognition of its apostasy, to foster the new life which was just awakening, and later to remove whatever hindrances might be placed in its way by the monarchy. After he was gone, the schools of the prophets would continue, following the footsteps of their master, Samuel.

I believe Samuel, if not by word, definitely by example, would have impacted David in a very positive manner towards supporting the schools of the prophets.

AGENDA ITEM 4. MUSIC IN PRAISE AND WORSHIP.

The Levitical worship and sacrificial system was done in silence. Only the crackling of the fire, and the groans of the animals being sacrificed could have been heard. The worshippers were not even encouraged to confess their sins by word of mouth, but merely to lean with their hands on the head of the animal that was to be sacrificed. The introduction of music for worship was undoubtedly utilised as early as Moses’ sister Miriam after the crossing of the Red Sea. To use music as a norm for inspiration and public worship, however, is not seen in scripture until Samuel’s reference to the group of prophets that would meet Saul after his anointing, and when David played before Saul while he prophesied.

It seems to this writer as a definite extrapolation from the book of psalms, and the intense musical work rota that David instigated in Jerusalem, that the doctrine, the atmosphere  and the absolute imperative of musical praise and worship was discussed between Samuel and David during the days of David’s brief touch down at the Naioth. David was already known as a fine musician, so what we are suggesting may actually have already been an aspect of David’s understanding of the spiritual life. But Samuel’s utility of music to inspire the prophetic would obviously have impacted David. The son of Jesse must have already perceived this truth during his playing for, and singing to king Saul (1 Samuel 18:10).

David’s love of music was profound. He wrote songs, and sang them under a heavenly anointing of freedom and deliverance. Saul’s calm may have been only temporary after David sang and played the harp to him, so we cannot claim that Saul was delivered from the demon that pursued and clung to him, but it pacified Saul, and caused the demon to a dormant state at least. However, David’s songs of praise and worship were undoubtedly one of the contributing factors in  the soup of what created Israel’s halcyon days under his reign and Solomon’s as king. Samuel must have impressed the need for music in public worship upon the future monarch. When one realises the role that corporate musical worship played in David’s days, and in the early days of the temple, one cannot but see the hand of Samuel at work in David’s thinking. I perceive this as a self evident fact. When David set up the worship in Jerusalem, there was worship with music 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That is difficult to comprehend as normal practice. I know many churches that have held a “praise-a-thon” for a day or 2. I know one church that had praise and worship for three days without a stop. But most of these events that I have heard of were attempting to raise funds for one project or another. But to have a full band playing, with prophetic singers, on shift work that activated a rota that was without end is to my mind, phenomenal. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, without any time off for feast days or Bank Holidays! It is a difficult thing to image. Samuel, however, imaged it, and David happily implemented it after he brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.

It was Samuel that had a revelation of how music that was sung from the heart, with words not only addressed to God Himself, but declaring truths about the person of Yahweh, would break through from the physical and carnal into the spiritual and the invisible releasing the blessing and power of God. The prophetic Spirit that came upon  the schools of the prophets, was entered into by this very means.

The first time we hear of the Schools of the prophets is significant. The  Principle of First Mention is a sharp point of observation for many Bible scholars. The principle states that the first time any subject, or doctrine, or practice is mentioned in scripture, it has, contained in that first mention, many aspects that comprehensively explain the meaning of that issue whenever it is mentioned throughout the rest of scripture. We hear of the schools of the prophets initially in 1 Samuel 10:5.

The text recounts how that Saul, soon after his anointing by Samuel would meet a procession, or group of prophets coming down from the peak of the hill at the place that Samuel refers to as “Gibeah of God.” Surely this was the Gibeah from which Saul was domiciled. Saul would see them with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps leading the group, and those following would be prophesying. The Spirit of the Lord that was on the group would come upon Saul as he approached them.

Why is this significant?

  • It tells us that even though the word of the Lord was rare in the early childhood of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1), after years of circuiting around Israel, preaching, teaching, prophesying and judging, the ministry of Samuel had birthed not only a hunger for God and the prophetic, but a whole generation of prophets that were being trained under the mentoring hand of Samuel. 
  • Music was an essential and integral part of the prophetic movement that was beginning to blossom. This was no, “Instant Result” manifestation, but the fruit of a long hard period of ministry that had taken time to grow roots and be planted. Everything big starts little. This group of prophets at Gibeah was the first fruits of Samuel’s vision. Though they are not mentioned again until the days of Elijah and Elisha some 120 or more years later, it is this writer’s conclusion that the schools of the prophets continued for years even beyond Elisha. The  contagion of the prophetic that was sown through these schools probably led to the likes of Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah, and even Jeremiah. Isaiah himself had a school of prophets, referred to as his “disciples.”  Not that these giants of the prophetic  world necessarily attended a school of the prophets, but by their presence in the land they released something of the Spirit of God that caused a hunger and a passion amongst true believers for the secret things of God, and the prophetic word from heaven. Music of a certain kind causes the Spirit of God to move, and the prophetic spirit of man to rise up and receive Him. That is the thing to search for. 
  • The Tambourines being present suggest that the music was somewhat lively and rhythmic. We are not talking of whispered, slow songs of devotion. The suggestion is that the music was quite wild. Where translations use the word “Shigganoth” for some of the psalms of scripture, the Hebrew translation of the word plainly suggests it being what twenty first language refers to as “Rock and Roll.” Check for yourself. 
  • The word used for”prophets” here is “Nabi’m.” Foundationally, and etymologically meaning to be in a trance and speaking from the impact of that trance. 
  • The fact that Saul caught the “atmosphere” of the prophetic was basically a statement from God that he wanted the prophetic gift to be spread to many. It was God’s desire from the very start of things, to pour out His Spirit on all flesh, that they may prophesy, and have visions. It could not properly be done until the resurrection of Christ, and the pouring forth of the Spirit in Acts 2. It has not been properly fulfilled to this day.

The building of, and the work within the Tabernacle, and later the Temple was strongly on Samuel’s agenda with David. 1 Chronicles 9 is a brief genealogy of some of the tribes of Israel, as well as a list of people who were appointed to work at the “Tabernacle.” The singers listed, however, all lived in Jerusalem. This presupposes that the arrangement was made, in Samuel’s day, between David and Samuel, that these families of trained and worshipful singers would be the backbone of the perpetual worship that was instigated in Jerusalem around David’s Tabernacle, to where the Ark of the Covenant was brought in David’s reign (2 Samuel 6). These people, and their families, were installed into office, and were fully functioning worshippers ready for when the Temple was built. How did they get these jobs? In what way were they qualified? Under whose authority were they called to worship? 1 Chronicles 9:22 says, “These were enrolled by genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer appointed in their office of trust.” So we know that David and Samuel shared on this issue.

AGENDA ITEM 5.  DANCE IN WORSHIP.

The picture is plain concerning the worship that was conducted within the school of the prophets, both from 1 Samuel 10, and 1 Samuel 19. The music was being played before the prophets, that is, in their presence, but it is clearly connected that the music, the tambourine, and the inferred rhythmic response, or dance somehow facilitated an open heart and mind to receive the prophetic words. Samuel was the overseer of this practice as witnessed by Saul himself and the messengers he later sent to bring David into the courts of Saul’s “justice.”

Surely the majority of modern Christianity, with the dead restraint of the sobriety of western Christianity would deride this practice as an occult practice.  I have even heard one preacher say, “It smacks of the demon worshipping witches and wizards of Haiti playing demonic, heavily rhythmic music for incredibly long periods of time, dancing and jumping until they leave normal consciousness and move into a trance like altered state.” It leaves us with a problem that needs addressing to explain.

  • The music, the lyrics and the rhythm of the tambourine were clearly and definitely not demonically directioned. The music must have been God directioned, ie: sung towards God. The rhythm was to encourage a release of the human spirit, and when the lyrics glorified God and expressed the desires of the human heart to praise Him and worship Him, somehow the Spirit of God met with them. It was the dynamic of things in Samuel’s day, and it is the dynamic of things today. This writer is sure such a status quo has always been so. 
  • The inference is made by many commentators, that on the two occasions Saul entered “into the fray” of what was happening with the schools of the prophets, Saul seemed to prophecy, as it were, against his will. Nowhere in the scripture is it mentioned that Saul’s own will was overridden. I have an alternative answer.  Saul was wanting the blessing of God. On both occasions that he mingled with the prophets school, or entered into the geographic location of their activity, the Spirit of God that was upon the prophets came upon Saul, and so he willfully, spontaneously decided to submit to the anointing of the Spirit of God that came upon him. When the Spirit of God is poured out on a group, geography is part of the equation – vicinity is important.  The outpouring presupposes a geographical parameter.                                                                                                                                                                
  • Even within the release of New Testament Christianity, people who did not know what to expect, when receiving the Holy Spirit reacted in a manner that would, by normal parameters, be called strange. In Acts 2, the whole initial motivation of Peter’s sermon was to counter the charge that they were all drunk, as well as speaking in languages that they did not know. They were doing things , and acting in a way that was not in accordance with their normal modus operandi, nevertheless it cannot be said that it was against their will. 
  • Without precedence and foreknowledge of what it meant to, “receive the Holy Spirit,” in Acts 8, Peter and John laid their hands on Christians in Samaria, and although it is not stated whether they spoke in tongues, prophesied, or acted as if they were drunk, something visibly and tangibly took place, so much so that Simon Magus offered money so that he could lay hands on people and get the same response as when Peter and John ministered. Whatever happened could not possibly have been what they expected. 
  • Again, in Acts 19 when Paul baptised and laid hands on “about twelve” disciples in Ephesus they all spoke with tongues and prophesied. It could not have been what they expected, but this does not necessarily suggest it was against their will. 
  • On all those three occasions, people who had no previous experience of “what to expect,” even though they were hungry for more of God, were all immediately thrown into an expression – an experience – that they gladly submitted to, no matter how much their response was unlike their normal modus operandi. I believe this is what happened with Saul in 1 Samuel 10 at Gibeah and  1 Samuel 19 at Ramah. 
  • The moving of the Holy Spirit upon an individual causes phenomena in a unique and life changing way. Unbelieving people, or even Christian people, who do not encourage or entertain the supernatural breaking into the act of worshipping Christ and His Father, shy away from such things. Yet, Samuel was now a seasoned prophet, a man of character, depth and profound Godliness. From the understanding of the situation  of the music, the rhythm  and the prophesying, it was Samuel himself that had instigated the whole thing. When Saul came looking for David in 1 Samuel 19, he obviously entered into a meeting of the prophets where there was music, rhythm, dance and prophecy. Both times Saul stripped off his outer garments. This certainly suggests active and exertive dancing and movement. And Samuel was overseeing, undoubtedly with approval, the whole scene. It is the character of Samuel and his “stamp of approval” that demands this to be a legitimate practice. 
  • What is strange is that nowhere in the whole life of Samuel are we given any suggestion that the music, the dance and the stripping of the clothes, was done by Samuel himself, in fact we gain quite an opposite picture. Samuel’s interaction with Yahweh always  seems calm and very conversational, especially in his first receipt of a prophetic word in 1 Samuel 3, when God calls and the boy Samuel thinks that it is Eli speaking. 
  • My explanation of that phenomena is to assert that Samuel was a Holy Spirit “Carrier.” What do I mean by this? I mean that the gift of God that sat upon Samuel was so powerful and rich, that some way, in a manner not unlike Peter’s shadow falling on people who were ill and their receiving healing, Samuel’s praying, anointing and speaking were things that released the Holy Spirit to whoever was receiving  from him. 
  • The gift of God that sat upon Samuel was so phenomenally supernatural that while he could relax and smile at his prophetic scholars, something was imparted to their spirits that released them into the realms of the prophetic. 
  • In the world of the medical there is such a phenomenon as a “disease carrier.” This is a person who carries a virus, perhaps even one that could kill, yet the carrier has no symptoms at all. However, if that carrier mixes with other people, the disease he carries could be transmitted in the natural way. If we talk about the anointing and power of God, Samuel was a carrier. He obviously could impart something of that prophetic anointing that would have in its DNA the requirement for music, dance and rhythm to manifest the full parameters of what had been imparted by him. 
  • Our point is to explain how Saul entered into the prophetic umbrella that was shed abroad by Samuel’s gift onto the school of the prophets that were under his pastoral care.  In 1 Samuel 19, Saul prophesied, and was stopped in his tracks as far as the primary purpose of his visit was concerned. He came looking for David. He arrived and was somehow impacted by the Spirit of God. He danced and stripped off his outer garments. Supposedly exhausted, he lay naked on his back all night long and prophesied. No trance is presupposed. Saul’s heart was open for what happened. Saul was among the prophets.  
  • This is called, in the Hebrew, Nabism. A Nabi is a prophet. The people created a proverb, “ Is Saul also among the “Nabi?” This break out of the Spirit of God was initiated under the authority of Samuel the ultimate Nabi. 1 Samuel 3:20 tells us that all Israel acknowledged that Samuel was Nabi. So Nabism was not necessarily restricted to the dancing, frenzied like schools of the Nabi’m. (1 Chronicles 29:29 also refers to Samuel as a seer. All seers are prophets. Not all prophets are seers.)

This is so important in order for people to grasp the impact of prophets  and prophecy on Israel. Samuel initiated a move that was to increase over  several generations. This prophetic move came out of a dark period, ie: the days of the Judges. Remember that Samuel was the very last of the Judges.  It was at the very time when the disorganized charismatic leadership of the nation (ie: the Judges) was beginning to give way to a new era in which, to start with, men of princely and prophetic dignity were confirmed in their position by a method of popular elective support, and by arrangement with the elders of the people. First Samuel, then Saul, then David. This new phenomenon of Nabism also emerged from among the spiritual charismatics of the time.   What we are seeing here is the earliest form of the prophetic, referred to by all academics as nabism.  It at once attracted attention, and evoked criticism as well as enthusiasm, as it still does today. Where one person detects only heathen, demonic  frenzy, another sees the stirring of the very Spirit of God belonging to the essence of true worship as God desired. I am definitely among the latter.

The peculiar feature  of it, that really needs to be understood, is that of the group prophesying together in something that seems to the scripture reader, as an ecstatic experience.  Though ecstatic experiences were already familiar among the seers, these were things of which the earliest worship for Yahweh knew nothing.  The passage in which a group of prophets, is mentioned for the first time in Israelite history also notes that this band was coming down from the place of sacrifice (1 Sam. 10.5).  Furthermore, cultic places are later recorded a sites of the prophetic guilds e.g. Jericho (2 Kings 2.5). Gilgal (2 Kings 4.38) Ramah (1 Sam. 19.18).

It needs to be noted, for the clarity of thinking of many who struggle with this phenomena in scripture, that  occultic  excitation with the aid of narcotics or physical self-torture was always completely and totally anathema and unknown to Israelite custom, and always has been.  On the other hand, there was one well-attested element of Israelite worship ceremony, which could easily, and legitimately turn into ecstasy, and that was “the sacred dance.”  It is clear, moreover, that dance  in worship was practised by the nabi’m with particular abandon, and that music and song played a great part in heightening and enlivening its intensity. To add to this,  there is plenty of evidence in the Old Testament that the cultic dance was accompanied by inspired hymnody (2 Sam. 6.5 30.29; Psalms. 25.6. 118.27). Note also, as a side line, that Peter had fallen into a trance in Acts chapter 10 when he received a startling revelation that impacted the entire church.

A state of ecstasy enabled many to impart information in the name of Yahweh in a way which revealed the presence of a higher kind of knowledge – I mean prophecy.  This demonstrated that frenzy was not merely dissolution of normal consciousness, but an endowment of a  higher power, ie: the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  The prophet/nabi became the preacher par excellence, not only as a man who raised the acts of praising and calling upon God to the deepest depth, but as the prophet cum spokesman empowered by God to reveal His hidden will.   They demonstrated, what was considered the loftiest worship of Yahweh, in virtue of which the nabi’ becomes the man in whom the word of Yahweh flows.  (1 Sam 28.6; 2 Sam. 16.23, where “to seek a word from God” is equivalent “to enquire of the prophets.” (1 Kings 17.24; Hosea 12.11)

These are the basic features of the earliest dynamics of the biblical prophets.  It is impossible to render the issue under any general religious category, classifying it in terms of “physical versus moral,” “Godly or ungodly,” “right or wrong,” or even,  “psychic or spiritual.”  The decisive factor in any assessment of this practice must rather be its position in the totality of the particular relationship with the word of God to Israel, and the volume of its contribution, or lack of it, to the kingdom of God within the kingdom of Israel.  The scary thing, of course, to the Levites and the people as a whole, is that the prophets arrived without a certificate of achievement from anybody. All had to judge within themselves, “Is this a prophet or not? Is what has been said from heaven, or not?”

AGENDA ITEM 6.  KINGLY CONDUCT.

Finally, I think Samuel would have at least shown David the book he wrote concerning how kings should behave. In 1 Samuel 8 the prophet warned the people what a king would do. Verses 11-18 are a list of a king’s prerogatives that was intended, I believe, to scare them off wanting a king.  He declared that a king would do the following:

  1. He will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.
  2. He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties,
  3. He will take some to plough his fields and to reap his harvests, and to make for him his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
  4. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
  5. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants.
  6. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants.
  7. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to do his work.
  8. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.

I am sure that he would have encouraged David to avoid these things that would cause unrest in the land of promise.

Samuel and David must have talked until their mouths were dry about the issues above, and other stuff that we have not touched upon. The spiritual father of the nation would have poured as much of himself into David as his spiritual son could take. Their fellowship in God, and the inspiration they brought to each other must have been immense. The two of them must have wished they could be together for  years to fathom the depths of what they had in common through the Spirit of God.

The fellowship gave them a sense of eternal destiny. How long would these glorious days of revelation and teaching go on. Perhaps it could last for the rest of Samuel’s life.

How long? How long? What is it that could separate them?

 

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Categories: 1 Samuel 19:18- 20:1a, Dance, Kingmaker Prophet and future king have quality time together, Schools of the prophets, The sacred dance, The Temple | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Teaching Concept We All Hate, Don’t Want to Know About and Stick Our Fingers in Our Ears When We Hear It.

The Teaching Concept We All Hate, Don’t Want to Know About and Stick Our Fingers in Our Ears When We Hear It.

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Samuel was conceived, gestated and birthed into a national situation that today we would refer to as a crisis. The twelve tribes were in total disharmony and were dominated by animosity between various clans and tribal advantages or disadvantages. The priesthood was in a weakened state of impotence, being placed in a high profile scandal because of the familial discordance with Eli and his sons. These sons were infamous. Israel, of course, at this time had no king or anointed leader. Most writers refer to Eli as being a Judge before Samuel arrived, yet scripture gives us not the slightest indication of any anointing or move of the Spirit of God in his life. Eli, a judge? In fact, the narrative of 1 Samuel leads us to believe that he should not have been in any kind of leadership as far as the priesthood was concerned. As well as the family trees and genealogies in the Old Testament explaining to the reader that Eli was not a descendant that was in line to be High Priest, he shows no leadership capabilities, no charismatic gifting or dynamism – so much so, he could not even exercise authority in his own home. Everything about him seems to be in a pathetic state of withering. The only medal we can award him, was his prophetic word delivered to Hannah after he had thought her drunk, and later he spoke of her having more children after Samuel. I suppose that was two phenomenally glorious prophetic words.  Well done Eli!

With a spiritually dead priesthood, and a non-existent monarch, there was only one other lack that nearly killed the destiny of Israel off. In those days there was no open vision. There were no prophets standing up and putting things right.  When Samuel began to hear from God and started to develope into a full blown prophet, he was a lone voice. There were no others that we know about, save the nameless prophet who addressed Eli and his lack of parental skills in bringing up Hophni and Phinehas.

The lamp of Israel was flickering and near to failing.

But we cannot forget the mightiness of Yahweh who had called Israel into being. When discussing the things of God it is always folly to depend on the data that the physical eyes feed us with, or what the textbooks and statistics tell us. God Himself was about to turn Israel around and put them together as they had never been put together before. They would become the envied model of unity and prosperity for many of the nations that surrounded them. Samuel was to be the initial human catalyst. This was Samuel’s greatness.

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In the realm of the Spirit, God was about to raise up a man that would think, see and talk like He Himself did. That man was the one we are focussing on, Samuel. Samuel grew up in a desperately low ebb of fortune for the various tribes that were known together as Israel. It would be true to say that Samuel was born in circumstances that would lead many to say that the entire world and its circumstances was in opposition to and militated against his growth, stability and character. Although loved by his mother, he was undoubtedly despised by his father’s other wife and his half brothers and/or sisters. He was placed by his mother into a home where the father of the house was too weak in character, and too aged in body to discipline his wayward sons. How on earth did he bring up Samuel?  He lived in a domicile where selfishness, theft and debauchery were commonplace. On top of this, seemingly, he seems to have grown without any peer group friends. One cannot but get the impression that he was destined to a life of loneliness. Perhaps that was one of the secrets of his greatness. He was born to climb a sheer cliff face of opposition and loss, and still reach the peak.

Samuel was made of strong stuff. How did he see the big picture of the place in which he grew?

All opposition in life should be seen in a context of a challenge to improve us. No matter how useless, purposeless, and negatively damaging circumstances and happenstance may seem to be, we are made to conquer and in so doing, we grow as people. Purposelessness never comes from pain, but thrives in comfort. You can say “Yuk!” as loud as you like and with as much feeling as you like, but that is the bottom line for the whole of humanity. I believe this is true whether one believes in God or claims to be an avowed atheist. Most people turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to this sort of line, but to me it is as ubiquitous as fresh air. It is just a self evident fact of life. We are all made with the capacity to fight against the status quo’s of life. God wants us all to do exactly that.

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Before my readers start writing and complaining about the blandness of such a concept, let me tell you where I come from on this issue. God made man to love Him and walk with Him in faith. Faith is needed because even though God is as personable, and tangibly real as you and I, we cannot see Him. We read what He says and what He is like from scripture, and from that understanding, life is to be lived in the sure knowledge that we are joined with Him through Christ. As Christ conquered in the realm of the spirit, so should we with His strength.

No matter how close we are with God, and no matter how deep our understanding of God is, there are evil things in the world that exist and move with no other reason than to rule mankind and ruin them. Christians get it even worse than others from one direction in particular. The fact is that the world is full of darkness, and the darkness is out to drown us all. Let’s qualify this by trawling through a few statements of the Bible.

“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9 NKJV). This verse makes a startling statement that we need to assimilate into our overall worldview. Just in case we mistake the subject of this statement for any of my readers, there are four appellations given. 1. The great dragon. 2. The serpent of old.  3. The devil. 4. Satan. I feel sure that all readers are left in no doubt as to the personage concerned with this verse of scripture. It is the ultimate power of evil that Revelation 12:9 refers to.

Satan was cast out of heaven and was clearly seen, by cross referencing the scriptures, to be thrown down onto planet earth. While he is making his home on earth, starting with Adam, and including every person who has lived since (not counting the Lord Jesus Christ) the entire population of the world has lived under a huge deception. We have all been seduced, manipulated and lied to, by Satan himself. Satan’s punishment for pride and arrogance was his being sentenced, intermediately, to exist on earth. This fact is inexorably embedded in the calculation of the people of faith, conquering the devil by their faith. This is the plain straight-forward unarguable teaching of the Bible. The fact that the entire world has been deceived is a huge hook on which to hang our thoughts as we proceed on our pathway of thinking. You and I have lived the early years of our lives in a deception.

Ephesians 2:1 -3 informs us; “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” We are redeemed from the ghastly fruit of the devil’s deception, but believers always need to be further disabused of the mental and practical impact of the demonic deceptions that fill our lives. Traditionally (and flawlessly) Christians through the ages have referred to these deceptions as, “The world, the flesh and the devil.” These three aspects explain the situation totally and are fully revealed to us in this passage of scripture from Ephesians.

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Before Christians actually become Christians (i.e: before they exercise faith in Christ), they are walking, “according to the course of this world.” The world has a course. Outside of Christ the whole of humanity is running after that course (too often people pursue this course while “in Christ.”). The world has a philosophy and a presence of evil that has a determined course. There is absolutely nothing at all that is positive about walking according to the course of this world. Even the good things, like the scramble for knowledge, health and overall success, turn out to be bad because of its godless outlook and underlying philosophies. Christians talk about some other Christians being “worldly.” It is a sound byte of Christianese meaning that a person has trusted Christ and become a Christian, but is hitherto still living in a way that nobody would guess that they are Christians at all. The apostle John says that we should, “Love not the world.” It is talking of the system, the worldview, the rat race that is the way of the world, together with its lack of sensitivity, as being something that Christians should not be part of. The world clashes with the way a Christian is encouraged to live. These pages are not the place where I want to define the world and where those clashes occur, but rest assured, the truth is that the world and the Christian are juxtaposed in the most naked throes of reality.

The main reason that the world is declared to be evil is because the manner in which the world is, “according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience.” This confronts us with the reality of the devil. The devil and his hordes are referred to as, “the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” That is radical, and would no doubt be denied as being, “extreme,” terminology by many Christians – but it is the simple statement of scripture. The devil is the one who prompts us in many ways to disobey God or even deny Him and His ways. The world and the devil are conjoined, yet separate forces. He works within, that is, on the inside of those who live according to the devil’s ways.

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So all of humanity, since the fall of Adam and Eve, were conceived, gestated, born, lived and died in the environment of the world and the devil. There is, however, a third dimension that the scripture informs us of that leads us astray; our own fleshly inclinations. Ephesians 2 talks of the entire mass of humanity that is walking in the direction of the world, flowing according to the way of the devil who was working within us before people had faith in Christ, and then goes on to say that it is, “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath.” So we have our own internal mechanism that leads us into evil when submitted to. The power of the principle of sin that works within humanity is broken by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The point of Christianity is the offer of following in the train of Christ’s triumph and breaking the power of sin in all its intricate nature. Christianity is to do with the inside primarily  before it starts to impact the outside.

The force of these conjoined triplets is what has the world’s population in its grip. But we must remember that Jesus Christ declared, “I have overcome the world,” as well as saying of the devil, “He has nothing in me.” The scripture also says he defeated sin “in the flesh.” On all three fronts the Christian is facilitated, and has the capacity to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. The renewing of the mind to enforce a pure walk in the Holy Spirit is to aid us in combating the sin principle within our own flesh, the world on the outside with all its circumstances, philosophies and situations that are created to destroy people, and the very person of the devil himself. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. To be blunt. Christians have no excuse for spiritual or moral weakness.

The devil’s deception of the whole world, as referred to in Revelation 12:9 is in all these three areas of human existence. The world, the flesh and the devil, are all calculated to lead us all in a present lifestyle that leads to pain and sorrow, and straight into hell in the hereafter.

Because of this dreadful and terrorising reality of the human experience, it means that there are forces that are against God and all Christians intending to kill the believer’s faith and commitment to God. The world, the flesh and the devil must not be listened to or entertained. They are not to be parleyed with. It is found to be deadly warfare for Christians who fail in this dimension.

Because of these realities, all obstacles in life are to be met by faith and optimism for God’s power to release them. From Car crashes to sickness, from thought patterns to mental pressure, from circumstances that overwhelm us, to challenges that we enter into willingly or not, everything we encounter in life should be made into part of the character building exercise that God has made for us in this life. Whether situations are God made or devil manipulated, whether a person is in faith or not, whether it is something spiritual or the furthest thing away from anything to do with Christianity or spirituality. All situations should be met with a response that improves us as people. From what we understand from First Samuel, this was the prophet’s attitude to all that life threw at him apart from the rejection of Saul as King of Israel. It seems that Saul’s disobedience was, at one point of time, just too much for Samuel. But more of that, later.

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This writer believes that all things are to be brought under the umbrella of one’s faith in Jesus Christ, and He intends us to conquer by our connection with Him. Our faith is our connection. We shall be the other side of the grave a whole lot longer than we are in this life on this side of the grave. That places this life on the footing of being a kind of probationary period before we pass on to be with Him.  Jesus Christ is what the whole cosmos is about. “By Him, for Him and to Him are all things.” And even when challenges and bad situations seem to be simply benign circumstances that we cannot perceive as being anything spiritual, the Christian addresses him or herself to Christ for deliverance and freedom no matter what. Things that seem as harmless and accidental as running out of wine at a wedding (John 2:1-12), or even not having enough money to pay a legitimate bill, when brought to the attention of Christ can be seen and discerned from an entirely different perspective.

All negatives in life are a challenging negative for us to make a victorious positive out of. And most importantly in this area, even if the physical negative cannot be realistically turned around, as in an amputation through war or car accident, the losing of a loved one to illness or accident, or even suicide, the highly concentrated attack by the world the flesh and the devil to drown the human spirit and cripple the mind is not to be allowed. We are to fight the good fight of faith, and not give place to the devil.

If lack of forgiveness is the largest human problem, and according to volumes of statistics in a thousand different areas we are led to believe that it is – then the biggest negative on the planet is the human response to being mistreated, spitefully used, betrayed and/or abused. This also is to be thwarted by the power of Christ within us, working in the grace of God that is upon us, defeating the world, the flesh and the devil in all situations that we encounter them in.

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Isaiah 25 adds yet another dimension to the deception of the whole world by the devil and his darkness. The twenty fifth chapter of the great prophet starts off by praising God for his faithfulness in keeping to the promises that He had made historically to Israel (verse 1). Things promised long before Isaiah was born, were all being fulfilled before his eyes. He is obviously homing in with his thoughts on the States and cities of heathen godless nations that were violently rampant at that time. Assyria was sinking fast during the days of Isaiah 25 into the oblivion of history. Isaiah talks of cities of empires like Assyria, being made rubble, never to be rebuilt (verse 2). He concludes that some of these godless nations will bow down to Yahweh because of His dealings with them (verse 3), and the prophet exalts God for being  a refuge for the poor and needy, a shelter from the storm in a weary land. He likens the attacks of the ruthless to a storm driving against a wall, or the heat of the son suddenly assuaged by a cloud, meaning that the overall strength of the godless heathen is really powerless and cannot succeed against Israel (verses 4 and 5). This is good and clear in Isaiah’s singular thinking. Then he changes the subject ….or does he?

Isaiah lifts his eyes and takes our breath away with words that are intensely relevant to our issue on this page. My own lengthy paraphrase of what Isaiah sees is as follows:

“In this mountain in Jerusalem, Yahweh Almighty who commands heaven’s armies will spread for all the people of the world a feast of choice rich pieces of food, a wonderful feast of the best wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of the best well-refined and aged wines on the lees. And He will destroy and swallow up on this mountain the surface face of the covering burial shroud of gloom cast over, binding and enfolding all people; as well as the woven sheet, or veil, the shadow of death that is spread over all nations like a sticky web. He will swallow up death in victory forever, and the Lord God will wipe away all the tears from all the faces of the world; the rebuke and shame of His people He will take away from all the earth; For Yahweh has spoken and announced it” (Isaiah 25:6-8 Lannon’s Expanded Version).

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If the breathlessness of the three verses has not rendered you incredulous, I want to place it in the graphic that this chapter and these pages are painting. The prophet is undoubtedly talking of Mount Calvary. A spiritual feast with richness and protein that the world, in Isaiah’s day could simply not comprehend, was to be brought to the world’s dinner table. What Christ was to accomplish at Golgotha was to terminate the hopelessness that satanic power had wrought in the lives of all peoples. This feast, created and initiated by Yahweh of the angel armies, would be premised by the removing of not only the burial face cloth placed over the vision and understanding of the body of the world, but also the entire death shroud and the “sticky web” that has the entire human race fooled, deceived and wrapped within its horror and restrictions. Somehow, this awesome feat of Yahweh on “this mountain” was to remove all tears, lift all shame that ever was imputed to Israel, and cause the entire planet to see Israel in a new light. “The Lord has spoken it,” simply means that, as far as the chances of this statement to be changed were concerned, it was out of the question. It was set in concrete. It was unchangeable. It was to happen seven centuries or more after Isaiah had breathed his last, two millennia prior to this writer’s life time. From another perspective, the removal of the death shroud and the thick sticky web that has bound the world is in the process of being slowly dismantled by the light of the gospel.

The sticky web, and the veil of the shadow of death that envelopes humanity, and is embedded in the overall route that the world and the devil are set on is what smothers and wraps all dealings of mankind with each other, their aspirations and ambitions and relationships. Only Christ and what He accomplished in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification can accomplish the defeat of these things in our lives. He defeated them completely and absolutely. Our faith is our connection with Him. It is our own faith, and the workings of our faith that pierces the darkness and dissolve the bondage.

I have never met anybody who enjoys being told this when they most needed to hear it, that is, when they are at breaking point with some kind of circumstance.

It is because it just cannot be faced when people are in the midst of catastrophic loss and trouble. It engenders shame and guilt in many. When tragedy, at whatever level, and in whatever domain, strikes a person, when the whole bundle of life seems to be at an end, yet we are still breathing, when such a thing oppresses, depresses, possesses or obsesses us, it is at that point we need a miracle. An external miracle changes a situation. An internal miracle changes our frame of mind towards the environment that we find ourselves in. Either way, it is a miraculous breakthrough from our deathly situations.

This is the total deliverance that belongs to the Christian, and because of what God promised Abraham, was the inheritance of Israel. Because it was the inheritance of Israel, God shared these truths with the only man he could talk to about it after all the Judges – namely Samuel ben Elkanah.

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This kind of deliverance is for all. There are no degrees in Justification. There are no degrees in the promises of freedom and deliverance, only degrees in which individuals believe such things.

If people do not believe such things, there is no guilt or condemnation from God’s side. God is for the person who has faith in Christ. And if God is for a person, who can be against them? There is, however, no excuse for not believing the entire message of God’s freedom and deliverance, be it in the Old Testament or the New, even though in the New Testament it is made much more clear and full.

Samuel was to grow into having the faith of God. Samuel grew into taking the promises of God and defying the world, the flesh and the devil with those promises. Speak out what God says and we cause the devil to tremble.

What we do not like to hear is what Samuel was to be hearing all the days of his life.

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BIBLE TRIVIA FROM THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT

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cos family is where it all begins!

Narrow is The Way Ministries

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14 (KJV)

Craig T. Owens

"Oh! that the power of God would set my heart and pen at liberty while writing, and fill your hearts while reading, that we may rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (John Newton)

Center for Evangelists

SOS Events - a life saving ministry

hocuspocus13

Magickal Arts