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Recognize where the term “messiah” first occurs in Scripture and what the Scripture text means.
- Hannah’s song (1 Sam 2:1-10)
- The climax of the song, v. 10, displays the first occurrence of “messiah”
- • A prophetic song about the reversal of fortunes, expecting that God will intervene against the oppressive, fallen world order and change things around. The song’s climax is an eschatological look forward to the End of all things – the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn (power) of his anointed one (messiah), who will bring God’s justice and judgment to earth.
Recognize what the stories about the Ark illustrate about our attempts to control God.
- 1. Humankind’s use of the Ark
- The Ark as a magical power – a popular Israelite view (1 Sam 4:1-5)
- • In the ANE view of war, the winner’s god is stronger than the loser’s god. Thus, when the Philistines defeated Israel in battle, Israel thought, “If we go to Shiloh, get the Ark, and bring it with us, God will defeat our enemies.” However, God does not let them do this, but causes the Philistines to get possession of the Ark and to strongly defeat Israel.
- • The Ark was Israel’s most precious possession that symbolized God’s Presence.
- The Ark as a trophy - the Philistine view (1 Sam 4:6-11; 5:1-12)
- • Upon defeating Israel, the Philistines believed, “Our god won!” They put the Ark in the temple of their god, Dagon, at the foot of his statue. Overnight, God made Dagon’s statue fall facedown before the Ark, its head and hands broken off. God also struck the Philistines with plagues of tumors. God showed his sovereignty to the pagans. YHWH is in charge!
- 2. God’s purpose for the Ark
- • The Ark was where God revealed his character and manifest presence. He led the way with the Ark.
- 3. God will not be controlled or manipulated
- • God demonstrated to both the Israelites and the Philistines that he would not be controlled or manipulated.
- • ANE people used magic to manipulate the gods and had no concept of God’s sovereignty. All pagan systems use magic to control their gods by a formula or a metaphysical system.
- • A universal, human, religious reflex is to try to bring God’s sovereignty down under our control. Our formula is to pray, “If we do X (we initiate), then God will do Y (what we want).” The question for Christian power ministry and for witchcraft is, “Who is in control?”
Recognize both the negative and positive Scriptural sentiments of Israel getting a king.
- ~Some passages seem to oppose the idea (1 Sam 8; 10:17-19; 12)
- An earthly kingship brought centralization and bureaucracy (cf. Dt 17:14-20). God warns that it could bring military draft, forced labor, taxation, and the loss of a certain amount of personal liberty.
- • Because Samuel’s sons did not follow his ways, the people did not want their rule. Their human solution for security was to ask Samuel to appoint a king. They did not like that they had to look to God as their king. Israel was convinced their problem was political; Samuel said it was spiritual.
- • Samuel was displeased Israel’s request for a king, so he prayed. God answered, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”
- ~Some passages favor it (1 Sam 9:1-10:16; 10:20-11:15)
- Some passages imply theocracy was God’s ideal. God seemed to indicate he purposed a king for Israel (but not like an ANE king with absolutist authority). God did some positive things: he showed Samuel he had selected Saul, and God gave Saul victory over the Philistines, at first.
Recognize how kingship in Israel differed from kingship in the ANE. (Sect. 37.3 Scholar’s Corner textbox).
- 1 & 2 Samuel reflect both the need for kingship and its dangers (1 Sam 12:19-21)
- Theocracy was God’s ideal. But, whether through a king or through a judge, God would work through a vice-regent.
- • Kingship ultimately was needed, yet it had dangers. God adopts and adapts the ANE concept of kingship, strongly modifying it. Israel’s king was to be co-ruler with God; but he was to be the people’s equal, not lifting himself above them. The king is a parallel to God’s original creation plan of humans co-reigning with him over the earth. God is the big partner and men and women are his co-partners.
- Scholar’s Corner -Kingship in Israel differed from kingship in the ANE in that Israel’s king was to be a servant of God and his covenant. The absolutist tendencies of ancient oriental monarchies threatened both:
- a) Israel’s tradition of personal freedom for approximately the last 230 years and b) the conviction that Yahweh was the true king. Israel’s tradition did not exalt the king to divine status, as that of their neighbors frequently did. Rather, it viewed the king as God’s representative and servant with responsibility to help enforce the covenant.
Contrast (in 4 paragraphs) Saul’s and God’s perspectives of Saul’s two actions illustrated in Sect. 38.
- Saul made the sacrifice at Gilgal before going to battle with the Philistines. He rationalized by saying that when he saw his troops scattering in fear, he felt compelled to offer the sacrifice. (13:11-12). Saul had an inferiority complex and compensated by making a monument to honor himself.
- In God’s perspective, Saul was presumptuous, acted foolishly and did not keep the command the Lord gave him. Due to the fear of man, Saul sacrificed foolishly. Saul’s actions revealed his true heart. Therefore, God said Saul’s kingdom would not endure. Instead, God sought a man after His own heart (David) and appointed him king. (13:14)
- Saul kept the best livestock after slaughtering the Amalekites. Saul said, “I have carried out the Lord’s instructions” (15:13); Saul had a list of reasons why his sacrifice was okay. He did not take seriously the ban on taking any plunder
- In God’s perspective, Saul was presumptuous. His disobedience was arrogance and rebellion. He overstepped his God-given boundaries as king. Due to the fear of man, Saul sacrificed foolishly. Obedience to God is always better than sacrifice. Sacrifices of our own choice are religious compensations for disobedience.
Contrast (in 4 paragraphs) Saul’s and David’s characters, as revealed by the four 1 Samuel texts of Sect. 39.
- 1 Sam 17 Looks for a champion
- Saul looked for someone to represent Israel to fight Goliath in a showdown with the Philistines. Becomes a champion
- Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days. When David saw Goliath smearing God’s and Israel’s reputations, he was jealous for God’s glory. David gets a spirit of faith, remembering how God delivered him while a shepherd from wild animals. David knew he did not defeat them in his own strength.
- 1 Sam 18-20 Alienates his son, Jonathan, through jealousy
- The Lord took his Spirit from Saul and put an evil spirit on him (16:14). Saul was insecure and jealous as he watched David’s popularity rise. He became increasingly unjust with David. Jonathan saw Saul’s progressive disobedience and jealousy. Attracts Saul’s son through loyalty
- Jonathan insightfully sees that David is God’s chosen one. David demonstrated his loyal (chesed) character by not wanting to enthrone himself. Jonathan, attracted to David’s character and loyalty, cuts a covenant of loyalty with David.
- 1 Sam 21-27 Persecutes David
- An evil spirit ignited Saul’s hatred so that Saul tried to spear David. David flees and Saul hunts him seeking to kill him. Although Saul and David had pledged not to kill each other, Saul continually sought to kill David. Remains loyal to Saul
- Twice David showed chesed (covenant love and loyalty) by not killing Saul when he had the opportunity: 1) Saul was going to the bathroom in a cave where David was hiding. David said he would not touch the Lord’s anointed and cut off a piece of Saul’s hem to prove it. (ch. 24)
- 2) When David found Saul asleep in camp, David chooses not to spear him. In humility, David refused to raise his hand against the Lord’s anointed king. He chose not to seize what seemed to be a God-given opportunity. (ch. 26)
- 1 Sam 16-31 Increasing instability and alienation from God
- As Saul continued in disobedience, he became increasingly disobedient and developed a “jealous eye” (envy with the force of a curse on it). Saul was in demonic bondage further compromising his character — he became increasingly angry and murderous, even murdering a clan of priests. (chs. 18, 19, 22).
- Saul was ready for a big battle with the Philistines but could not hear from God. So he consulted an occult witch of Endor because that was the only type of supernatural guidance he could get. (ch. 28) He died two chapters later. Increasing reputation and dependence on God
- David had success wherever he went because God was with him. He was on an upward trajectory towards God. (18:14)
- When the Amalekites killed David’s troops and their families at Ziklag, David strengthened himself in the Lord; he humbled himself and fell before the Lord. God met him and revived him. (ch. 30)
State (in 1 word) the character trait that David exhibited but Saul lacked (Sect. 39.1), and list (in 1 phrase each) David’s three character traits that God valued and honored. (Sect. 40)
- The character trait that David exhibited but Saul lacked: loyalty (chesed: covenant love, steadfast love, loving kindness)
- 1.Heart for God (1 Sam 16:7)
- 2. Loyalty to God’s anointed leader
- 3. Trusted God to fight his battles
Recognize the four steps in Israel’s transition from a loose tribal confederacy to a great nation. (Sect. 41)
- 1. A power vacuum existed between the periods of Egyptian and Assyrian dominance
- 2. Samuel, the last judge, anointed Saul, who protected Israel against enemies and established minimal government
- 3. David defeated all enemies around Israel, established a larger government in Jerusalem, expanded borders, and brought in tribute from the nations to Jerusalem
- 4. Solomon consolidated David’s gains, built a strong bureaucracy, and established peace and commerce with the surrounding nations