Cover to cover – Samuel

Written by the staff of Renew Devotionals

Used By God: 1&2 Samuel

What God wants from you is not perfection but a heart that seeks his will and his power to walk in it. 

When your days are finished and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. -2 Samuel 7:12-13.

The dark period of Israel’s history recorded in the book of Judges has revealed the people’s need for good leadership. They need a leader who can model what it looks like to live faithfully and obediently in a relationship with God. In 1 Samuel, the Israelite people tell the prophet Samuel that they want a king, and God responds by giving them Saul. Saul, however, turns out to be a big disappointment. He is dishonest, greedy, prideful, and he is disobedient to God. Samuel, speaking on behalf of God, informs Saul that a new king is going to replace him.

God chooses a man named David to be the new king. When Samuel follows God’s lead to go and anoint David as king, David is still very young with the humble occupation of a shepherd. Samuel questions God’s pick, and God replies, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” David is described to be a man after God’s heart! This means that David is willing to let God’s will be the guide of his life.

Because David submits to God as his King, God empowers David to lead well as Israel’s king!

David unifies Israel’s tribes, and he conquers Jerusalem to make it Israel’s capital: the kingdom is flourishing under David! God even tells David he will bring a descendant from his line who will build a dynasty that lasts for eternity!

Things seem to be going really well for David and for Israel, but then the narrative takes a turn for the worse. David makes a bad decision that involves both adultery and murder. As a consequence, his family and kingdom begin falling apart. The end of his story leaves us wondering how God is going to fulfill his promise to establish the eternal kingdom. It makes us wonder, “Did David’s sin mess up the plan?”

Do you ever feel like your mistakes might have messed things up too much? Do you ever feel unworthy to be used by God?

Remember, David wasn’t chosen as king because he was impressive. David also wasn’t known as the greatest king of Israel because of his perfect tract record. Like all of us, David had to repent over and over again for his sin throughout his life.

David’s sin didn’t mess up God’s plan because the plan wasn’t dependent upon David’s kingship, but upon God’s. God’s promise to David found its fulfillment in Jesus, a descendant of David who came as the ultimate king. With his death and resurrection, Jesus launched the age of his eternal reign!

What kind of king is Jesus? In an even greater way that David, Jesus unites his people, his kingdom made up of people from all over the world! As King, Jesus is restoring his people and his world, and one day he will bring this restoration to completion, his reign of justice and peace lasting for eternity!

Do you want to be used by God? The most important thing you can do is not to focus on your performance but to submit to God as your king. This looks like daily, even moment by moment, asking yourself, “What is God’s will for this situation?”

As you submit to God, he will use you, in all your imperfections and failures, to accomplish his great plan for this world. He will use you, not because you are impressive or good, but because he is!

RESPOND: Take a moment to go before God with a submissive heart, seeking his will and repenting of any ways you haven’t been doing this.

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