Old Testament – From Genesis to the Prophet Jonah
[Note: The transition from Samuel to Saul and then David took many decades. This is but a very brief summary!]
The Prophet Samuel was the Israelites leader for forty years. During that time, the people turned to God, removed images of false gods and sought repentance. He resided in Ramal and visited his people in Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah, yearly.
When Samuels sons, whom he appointed Judges, proved to be corrupt, the people insisted that he must appoint a king. Samuel resisted but, in the end, God said to Samuel, “Do as they say and install a king over them”. Lots were then cast among the tribes and Saul was chosen. Samuel anointed him with oil saying, “The Lord has chosen you to lead his people Israel”. (1 Samuel 8:22, 1 Samuel 10:1)
Saul reigned over many wars and, “In every direction that he turned, he was victorious”. (1 Samuel 14:47) However, Saul disobeyed God’s instruction as spoken through Samuel when He commanded the complete destruction of Amalek, his forces and possessions as punishment for all the wrong done against the Israelites. Saul’s army was victorious but he spared the king of Amalek and chose to keep the best of his animal herds.
Saul finally agreed with Samuel that he had sinned against God saying, “I have sinned, for I have disobeyed what the Lord commanded… For I was afraid of the army, and I followed their wishes”. (1 Samuel 15:24) As Samuel turned to walk away, Saul grabbed the edge of his cloak, tearing it. Samuel said, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to one of your colleagues who is better than you!” (1 Samuel 15:28)
On God’s instructions, Samuel set out for Bethlehem to find Saul’s successor from the family of Jesse. Jesse presented, in turn, seven of his sons but God’s chosen successor was not among them. Samuel then asked Jesse if he had any other sons to which he replied that he had a younger one, David, who was in the fields herding the family flock.
Jesse sent for David and when he arrived, God told Samuel to anoint him immediately. In the presence of his brothers, he received the Holy Spirit although, it was not until after Saul’s death that he assumed power. (1 Samuel 16:13)
When the Philistines were once again attacked by the Israelites, a great battle raged. Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchisua were killed and Saul was severely wounded by archers. Saul, about to be surrounded by soldiers, ordered his armour-bearer to kill him otherwise, “these uncircumcised people will come, stab me, and torture me”. The armour-bearer refused so, “Saul took his own sword and fell on it,” ending his life. (1 Samuel 31:4) (1 Samuel 7:15-10:1)
We may not always understand God’s ways but we shouldn’t refuse his instructions!
Lord Jesus, I humbly ask you to guide me in my work and decision-making today. May it be what you ask, free from sin and empowered by your holy wisdom. Amen.
Prayer: Family (Adapted – Author Unknown)
I humbly ask you to grant your special graces to my family.
May our home be a place of peace, purity, love, labour and faith.
Protect and bless everyone, present and absent, living and dead.
Mary, loving Mother of Jesus and our Mother,
pray to Jesus for our family
and all families throughout the world.
St Joseph, Holy guardian of Jesus and Mary,
assist us with your prayers.
Ask Jesus for that special grace that he granted to you,
to watch over our home.
O Holy Family,
may our family be one day united with yours,
in the eternal happiness of heaven.