1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Romans 1:1-3 NKJV
We know from Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus Christ, that the Messiah was to be born in the line of King David. This was also confirmed by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.
Before Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecies, Israel would be guided by the prophet Samuel. Through him, God would institute the first king of Israel, Saul, and the second, King David.
But before Israel received their kings, they were to go through many years of hardship. God had brought them into the Promised Land and led them as they took possession of it.
43 So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass. Joshua 21:43-45 NKJV
By resting in the Lord, He gave Israel rest from their enemies around them. It was a time of peace and prosperity as they were able to sow and reap and raise flocks again after so many years of relying on manna in the desert wilderness.
But soon Israel turned their backs on God and began to worship other gods. They did not keep up their end of the bargain, the covenant, and life began to take a turn for the worse. They eventually came under the thumb of their enemies around them, such as the Philistines, and all those blessings God had given began to slip away.
The book of Judges details the cyclic back and forth of ignoring God, losing blessings, and returning to God during suffering. As the people turned back to God, He would raise up leaders such as Gideon and Sampson to help free Israel from oppression. But inevitably, they would slip back into old habits and lose their blessings and favor from God as a result of abandoning Him.
It was into this messy situation that God brought the prophet Samuel into the world. Like John the Baptist hundreds of years later, he would prepare the nation to receive a new king, David. After first choosing a king that met the world’s standards, Saul, God replaced him with David, a “man after God’s own heart”. David was a type of Christ, a leader who reigns in the Spirit of God. Unlike Jesus, David was not without sin and he made many mistakes. But God saw something in David’s heart and chose him to reign on a throne that would establish an eternal kingship, with the Messiah Jesus to reign forever upon it after He returns from heaven.
God will often come into our lives to plant a seed of hope when we least deserve it. Like Moses, we may be at the far end of a desert, far away from God in our minds, when He suddenly manifests Himself in love, and begins our life journey of calling us back to God. Like Israel, we enjoy countless blessings when we turn away from other “gods” and make Him the center of our lives.
Returning to or finding God for the first time may happen quickly or slowly, but He is reaching out to us nonetheless, even in the midst of failures, despair or misdirection in our lives.
What “prophet” has God brought into your life to help turn your heart toward Him?
Are you wandering in a desert, far away from God? He is reaching out to you even now in love.
What other “gods” tempt you today? How can we turn away and give our all to our loving Heavenly Father?