We know from Matthew 1, in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, that the Messiah was to born in the line of King David. This was predicted by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, and referred to by the apostle Paul in the book of Romans.
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)
Before Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecies, Israel was guided by the prophet Samuel. Through him, God would institute the first king of Israel, Saul, and its second, King David.
Before the people of Israel received their kings, they were to go through many years of hardship. But first, God 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 Him, the Lord gave Israel rest from their enemies all around. It was a time of great peace and prosperity as the people were able to sow and reap and raise flocks again after many years of relying on manna in the desert wilderness.
But soon, in their prosperity, Israel began to turn their backs upon God and began to worship other gods. They did not keep up their end of the covenant, and life for them began to take a turn for the worse. They eventually came under the thumb of neighboring enemies, such as the Philistines, and the abundant blessings God had given them began to slip away.
The book of Judges details the repeated cycles of the people ignoring God, begin to lose blessings, then return to God during times of suffering. To help draw them back, He would raise up leaders such as Gideon and Sampson to help free Israel from their oppression. But inevitably, the people would slip back into old habits and lose their blessing and favor from God as a result of abandoning Him.
It was into this messy situation that the Lord brought the prophet Samuel into the world. Like John the Baptist man hundreds of years later, Samuel would prepare the nation to receive a new king. After first choosing a king that met only the world’s standards, Saul, God replaced him with King David, a “man after God’s own heart”. David was a type of Christ, a leader who reigned 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 be established for an eternal kingship, with the Messiah Jesus to reign upon it when 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 new life journey by calling us back to Him. Like Israel, we will enjoy countless blessings when we turn away from other “gods” to make Him the center of our lives.
What “prophet” has God brought into your life to help lead you closer to God?
Returning to, or finding God for the first time, may happen quickly or slowly, but He is always reaching out to us nonetheless, especially when we are in the midst of a failure, despair, or misdirection in our lives. Thank God for that!
Father God, thank You for the good people You have placed in our life to help lead us and guide us in Your ways. Bless them, and help us to become a blessing to others. Thank You for reaching out to us in grace and mercy, especially when we are going through difficult times. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.