1 Samuel 1-14 Daily Devotional writings by Kevin E. Jesmer 2012



Most of 1 Samuel was written by Samuel, yet 1 Chronicles 29:29 suggests that the prophets Nathan and Gad were also contributors. The book was compiled between 970-722 B.C. 1 Samuel describes the transition of Israel from a confederation of tribes into a monarchy. Samuel facilitated this transition. Samuel was a man of decisive influence at a critical moment. He established, and was the spiritual father of, the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. The purpose of the book was to record the life of Samuel, Israel’s last judge; the reign and decline of Saul, the first king; and the choosing and preparation of David, Israel’s greatest king.


There are several themes flowing through the book. (1) God himself is the king of his chosen people. (2) We can see the image of a true spiritual leader in Samuel. (3) The characters of Saul and David are contrasted. (4) The beautiful friendship between David and Jonathan appears. (5) David’s Kingdom was the model of the Messianic Kingdom. (6)  We learn kingship from David.  As you read 1 Samuel, note the transition from theocracy to monarchy, and enjoy the timeless accounts of David and Goliath, David and Jonathan. But in the midst of reading all the history and intrigue, determine to be a person of spiritual influence like Samuel, a person after God’s own heart like David and submit to God who is our eternal King.


I.  Samuel, the last judge (1:1-8:22)

ll: Saul anointed and rejected as king  (9:1-15:34)

lll: Saul and David and their struggles  (16:1-31:13)

Friday, March 1




1 Samuel 1:1-18

Key Verse 1:15


1.  Turn to the one who is able to comfort (1-11)

Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Penninah had children, but Hannah had none.  Every year when they went to worship the Lord, Hannah became distressed because Peninnah taunted her. Elkanah gave more food to Hannah in order to comfort her, but she was not comforted by his love. In her time of distress, Hannah turned to the one who alone could comfort her heart. She prayed and made a vow to God that if he gave her a son she would devote him to the Lord.


2.  Hannah finds favor in the eyes of God (12-18)

Hannah did not despair. She believed in God and expressed her faith in prayer. As she prayed, Eli observed her mouth moving and thought that she was drunk. Eli was a shepherd of his people. How could he not recognize a person coming to God in anguish of heart? Hannah met God in prayer and something changed in her heart. God took away her grief and sorrow and gave her faith that believes in God’s favor. Her face was no longer downcast.


Prayer: “Lord, my heart is full of anguish that I cannot overcome on my own. I turn to you for salvation. I offer my life up to you, Lord.”


One Word: Seek God’s favor

Saturday, March 2




1 Samuel 1:19-28

Key Verse 1: 27-28


1.   Hannah experiences God (19-23)

God answered Hannah’s prayer. She conceived and gave birth to Samuel. She was very happy, enjoying raising her son, but in her heart she knew she would have to give him up to the Lord. Hannah experienced the grace of God and the power of God. She met the God who answers prayer, very personally. 1 Peter 5:6-7 reads, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Cast your cares upon the Lord and experience his grace.


2.  Hannah carried through with her vow (24-28)

So often after obtaining God’s blessing, people abandon God. But Hannah was different. When she was blessed, she kept her vow to God. She went and dedicated her one and only son to serve the Lord at the Tabernacle for the rest of his life. How difficult this was. She was with him until he was weaned, but kept her vow even though it hurt. She was a woman of high spiritual integrity borne out of her personal experience with the grace of God.


Prayer: “Lord, thank you for answering prayer in so many wonderful ways and helping us to experience you. Strengthen me to commit my life to you.”


One Word:  The grace of God leads to commitment

Sunday, March 3




1 Samuel 2:1-11

Key Verse 2:1


1.  Hannah praises God for his deliverance (1)

After dedicating Samuel, Hannah did not have a sad disposition. She praised God in prayer for God’s deliverance from her sorrow and her barrenness. She fought spiritually in prayer and in faith and tasted God’s grace and victory. Hannah praised God for his holiness. This revelation comes when we experience God’s grace personally, and make a spiritual breakthrough after a hard struggle.


2.    Hannah praises the sovereign Lord (3-11)

Proud people are self-righteous and arrogant. They dare to think that they are in control of their own destiny. But God is the one who decides victory and defeat. (4) God feeds the hungry and gives life and death. God makes a person poor or wealthy, and God gives honor and thrones to whom he chooses. (8) God protects his people, but the enemies of God will be punished. (9) In short, God shatters those who oppose him and exalts and strengthens those he gathers to himself. When we know who God really is, like Hannah, we can trust God, keep our vows to him, follow and pray to him.


Prayer: “Lord, you are the holy, compassionate and powerful one. I thank and praise you from my heart.”


One Word: Sing prayerful songs to the Lord!

Monday, March 4




1 Samuel 2:12-36

Key Verse 2:26


1.  Eli and his wicked sons (2:12-18)

Eli’s sons were priests but they had no regard for the Lord. They were corrupt, abusing their priestly offices. How could they have become like this? Eli worried more about what people would think than doing the right thing. He honored his sons more than God. (29) When he did rebuke his sons, his words had no effect. Eli’s compromised influence would effect generations of his descendants.


2.  Samuel and Hannah were blessed. (2:18-21)

Despite of the bad atmosphere, Samuel and Hannah were blessed. In accordance with his mother’s prayer, Samuel ministered before the Lord. He grew in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people. The Lord granted Hannah five more children and filled her heart with joy. We wonder how this could happen with such bad mentors. God protects, nurtures and grows those whose hearts are committed to him, despite the environment. We need to trust the Lord that he will grow his people in spiritual stature and in favor with the Lord and with people according to his sovereign plan and will.


Prayer: “Lord, so often I worry about the faith of those I love. But I know that you protect and nurture those who are yours.”


One Word:  God is in control

Tuesday, March 5




1 Samuel  3:1-4:1a

Key Verse 3:10


1.  God calls Samuel  (1-10)

The word of the Lord was rare. Samuel seemed to be one of the few young people ministering. This is a recipe for disaster in any generation for the word of God is the word of life. People suffer greatly when the word of God is rare.  But God did not abandon his people. He would call Samuel, who would grow as the lamp of God. God called him three times. Eventually Samuel answered God’s call and entered into a personal relationship with the Lord.


2.  Samuel was a man who spoke truth (3:11-4:1a)

God shared his heart with Samuel, though the message was hard. God thought of Samuel as a co-worker. Samuel then told Eli everything, hiding nothing. It is very difficult to deliver hard words of truth and judgment, but sometimes it is God’s message. Samuel listened to God’s voice carefully and let none of his words fall to the ground. When Samuel had the words of God in his heart, all Israel attested that Samuel was a prophet. The Lord revealed himself to Samuel through his word and that word came to Israel through Samuel’s ministry.


Prayer: “Lord, raise up your servants through whom the word of God can come to our whole nation.”


One Word: In hope, God still calls his servants

Wednesday, March 6




1 Samuel  4:1b-22

Key Verse 4:22


1.  Superstitious faith is not good enough (1b-11)

The Israelites were in political and spiritual disarray. In one battle the Philistines defeated the Israelites. In response, the Israelites brought the ark out in a superstitious way, thinking that it might save them. Theirs was not faith in the living God.  The Philistines were afraid and won the battle by rallying all of their human strength. Human strength and bravado overpowered superstitious faith.


2. The glory of God did not really depart (12-22)

Eli heard the news and he broke his neck. Israel’s hopelessness was revealed through Phinehas’ wife. It was time for her to pray as Hannah prayed. Instead she named her son, “Ichabod”, meaning, “the glory has departed from Israel. In reality God’s glory had not departed. God is always with his people. Though things may seem hopeless, in God, the darkest time is actually the time to open our eyes to see the glory of God at work among us, purifying our faith through every hardship.


Prayer: “Lord, I become fearful and despair, holding onto something else other than living faith in you, the living God. May I turn to you always.”


One Word: Open your eyes to see God’s glory


Thursday, March 7




1 Samuel  5:1-12

Key Verse 5:11


1.  Don’t make use of God (1-5)

The Philistines thought that they could make use of the ark of God. So they put the ark of God near Dagon, their god. But when they awoke, Dagon had fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! Later, Dagon’s appendages were broken off. The whole nation panicked – and so they should. God does not compromise with idol worship. Nor does he compromise with those who want to make use of him. He brings a curse, not a blessing.


2.  “Let go” and completely repent (6-12)

They knew that they had to get rid of the ark! But they did not send the ark directly back to Israel right away. They moved it around from city to city thinking that their troubles would end and in some secure place they would be able to further exploit the ark. But they did not find rest. The Philistines were afflicted with tumors. God would not allow them to find new ways to hold onto their sin. They simply needed to repent and return the ark immediately, giving God the glory due him. God was solving Israel’s national problem his own way.


Prayer: “Lord, I am tempted to just use you to serve my purposes. I repent of this and want to surrender to you immediately, giving you all the glory.”


One Word: God never compromises with any idol

Friday, March 8




1 Samuel 6:1-7:1

Key Verse  6:14


1.  God himself brought back his ark (1-18)

Their wise men sent an offering of gold shaped as tumors and rats to appease the God of Israel. Their plan was very wise. Two calves were penned and their mothers hitched to a cart carrying the ark. By nature, these cows should have returned to their calves. But instead, they ignored their calves and took the ark home. The Philistines knew that what happened was from the Lord. The Israelites rejoiced at the sight of the ark. They saw the glory of God and thanked God the best way they knew.


2.  Maintaining holiness is the key (19-7:1)

God warned them not to look at the sacred objects in the Most Holy Place or they would die. (Num 4:20) Only Levites could move the ark. But some had an unholy curiosity. God could not allow them to ignore his warnings. Disrespect for the holiness of God would lead to idolatry and defeat once again. God’s plan worked. A fear of God grew within them. They embraced the ark and sent it to be protected and ministered over by a consecrated priest. It was the beginning point of their restoration.


Prayer: “Lord, you can solve big problems in your way…in your time. I rejoice at your wonderful deeds and want to make a new start with you.”


One Word:  New beginnings with the Holy God

Saturday, March 9




1 Samuel 7:2-17

Key Verse 7:12


1.  Return to the Lord (7:2-11)

     WhileIsrael mourned, Samuel stepped up and gave the people clear direction to return to the Lord with all their hearts. He challenged them to rid themselves of foreign gods and commit themselves to God, serving him only. Then God would deliver them out of the hand of their enemies. They accepted Samuel’s words. Confessing their sins, they repented, symbolized by the pouring out of water. People do many things in response to their miseries. But the best response is honest repentance before God. Repentance opened the peoples’ spiritual eyes to elicit prayer support from a servant of God.


2. Thus far the Lord has helped us. (12-17)

Ebenezer means, “thus far the Lord has helped us.” Samuel did not claim all of the glory for himself. He acknowledged God helping them; that God heard and answered prayers; that God was with his people, delivering them and that God would continue to lead. We must thank God, realizing God’s providence and grace in every circumstance.


Prayer: “Lord, I have my own ideas about how I should be helped. But help me to hold onto the best solution: humble repentance and holding unto you.”


One Word: Thus far the Lord has helped us

Sunday, March 10




1 Samuel 8:1-22

Key Verse 8:7


1.  It is not you they are rejecting (1- 8)

The people thought that they needed to be like the other nations. They asked for a king and came up with many reasons why they should have one. Their request was misguided because God was their king. It was a rejection of God’s rule. People think they will be happy if the right leader is in office. But this is not so. People are the most happy when they accept God as the king of their lives. Samuel was upset but he prayed. God let him know that the people were not rejecting him, but God.


2.  Listen to them but warn them solemnly (9-22)

Their sin was that they did not ask nor even consider what God wanted for them. They asked God for what they wanted. But what they wanted was actually inviting disaster. God knew this and yet he was very graceful. He warned them what would happen to them. When they still held onto their own ideas, he granted their request and would later work through the kingship. God is full of grace and truth. He is patient with his people. Our greatest enemy can sometimes be ourselves.


Prayer: “Lord, how often are my feelings hurt, thinking it is about me. But it is all about you. Lord you are my king. May I live under your kingship.”


One Word:  God’s way is best…ask him in prayer

Monday, March 11




1 Samuel 9:1-27

Key Verse 9:15,16


1.  Saul was a good son (1-14)

Saul was impressive. His father’s donkeys were lost and he ran off to look for them. Though tired, Saul searched hard. Realizing his father was worried, he wanted to go back. But first he sought out the direction of a servant of God. Saul was such a good man, and many a teenager can learn good things from him, especially how to honor their parents. But was he a man after God’s own heart?


2.  God was leading Saul (15-27)

God was going to give this impressive young man a chance. God also planned to defeat their enemies through Saul. As he entered a town, Samuel appeared. This was no accident, but rather God’s leading. The Lord had revealed to Samuel that he would send Saul to him and that he would deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. Saul was the answer to the peoples’ prayers. Samuel did not like what was happening, but he accepted what God was doing. He curbed his feelings and accepted Saul as God’s choice and blessed him, counseled him and ate with him.


Prayer: “Lord, I see how you answer prayers and gave Saul a chance. You are a graceful God. Grant many young people a chance in life to serve you.”


One Word: Bless those whom God has chosen

Tuesday, March 12




1 Samuel 10:1-27

Key Verse 10:6


1.  Saul became a changed person (1-16)

Samuel anointed Saul privately, commissioning him to the kingship. He then told Saul future signs to look for as confirmation and gave direction how to respond. The Spirit of God would come and he would be changed. As they parted, the power of God came upon him, granting him conviction to embrace God’s calling. God enlarged his heart to adopt the hope of God. Saul was unspiritual and immature, but there he was, a changed person, among the prophets! It was pure grace. We need God’s anointing to stand up as God’s servants.


2.  Samuel makes it official (17-27)

Saul needed to accept God’s personal calling for him to be king, but the people also had to accept him as their king. And so Samuel brought the tribes of Israel together and presented to the people their chosen king. Saul seemed unlikely to be king, for he was scared of the appointment, but God helped him to stand. God also provided co-workers, valiant men, whose hearts God had touched.


Prayer: “Lord, I am immature and unspiritual in so many ways. Please grant me your anointing that I can stand as your servant in this generation.”


One Word: Am I also among the prophets?


Wednesday, March 13




1 Samuel 11:1-15

Key Verse 11:6


1.   Paralyzed by fear (1-3)

The people of Jabesh Gilead were gripped with fear of the Ammonites, powerless to defend themselves. They envisioned getting their eyes gouged and their families sold as slaves. Israel was a loose confederation of tribes who couldn’t help each other. So one tribe could not but surrender in the face of an attack. In response to their S.O.S. call, all of Israel cried out in a helpless rage. Fears and sins can paralyze us and sap us of all hope and strength. But we are never hopeless when God is with us.


2.  God would rescue them through Saul (4-15)

God saw their suffering and came to their rescue. When the power of God came upon Saul, he was changed into a courageous general. He burned with anger. He had passion and wisdom to do something creative. The terror of the Lord fell on the people. They gathered as one and completely defeated the Ammonites. Impressed, the people then renewed Saul’s kingship. God looks for one person through whom he can bring about change.


Prayer: “Lord, people are paralyzed by the power of sin and death. Hear their cry. Raise up your servants endowed with your spirit.”


One Word:  God comes to the rescue

Thursday, March 14




1 Samuel 12:1-25

Key Verse 12:23


1.  God works through a leader with integrity (1-15)

      Samuel was a shepherd who followed God’s way. He was full of integrity, living a pure and sanctified life. Samuel reminded them of God’s immeasurable grace and cautioned not to take that grace in vain. He loved God and people more than donkeys, oxen and money. People responded to his leadership. We desperately need servants of God with such integrity in our generation.


2. Samuel, a man of prayer (16-25)

Samuel did his best to help his people seek God. But they did not listen. Through this, Samuel realized that he was not able to change even one person’s heart, but that God can do everything according to his plan. He committed himself to pray for his people and to teach the truth. The best way to teach the truth is to live it out. Prayer coupled with the teaching of truth is a most effective instrument for all Christian leaders. Instead of getting upset at the darkness without and within, we must pray for others while living as servants of God. Then God will surely work in peoples’ hearts.


Prayer: “Lord, I can not change anyone, but I can pray and teach the truth. Help me to never give up, but stand as one who prays for the people.”


One Word: Always pray and teach the truth

Friday, March 15




1 Samuel 13:1-22

Key Verse 13:14


1.  Samuel Rebukes Saul (1-15)

Samuel told Saul to wait for his coming. But things happened. Jonathan irritated the Philistines and so they amassed their superior forces. The Israelites knew that their situation was dire and hid. When Saul saw the army scattering, he panicked and offered up the burnt offering. Samuel arrived and rebuked him for acting foolishly. He was foolish because he did not seek God in prayer. He violated the priestly office, doing what only priests were allowed. (2 Chron 26:16-20) He broke the commands of God. Under pressure he was showing his true colors. It was the time for Saul to repent and come to God for help and restoration.


2. God trains his people through battle (13:16-22)

Saul’s army dwindled to 600. They had no swords or spears because the Philistines controlled the blacksmiths. Meanwhile, the Philistines were getting ready to crush the Israelite army. What was going on? God was teaching them faith and giving Saul a chance to repent. God’s faith training is never easy.


Prayer: “Lord, how often I panic and forget about you. I take my eyes off of you. Lord, help me to always turn to you and seek your face in a crisis.”


One Word: Seek, honor and obey God always

Saturday, March 16




1 Samuel 13:23-14:23

Key Verse 14:6


1.  Nothing can hinder the Lord (13:23-14:14)

Jonathan, a man of courageous faith, was not helpless when the Israelites could not make a move in battle. He planned an attack with his armor-bearer. The source of his wisdom, strength and courage was his faith. He knew that nothing could hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few. The first obstacle was the rugged cliff. He climbed on his hands and knees. Next were the numbers of enemy soldiers. It was not wise to reveal himself, but he did. There were so many uncertainties, but Jonathan was sure to follow God through prayer and signs. He and his co-worker tasted victory. His courageous faith was matchless.


2.  The fruit of one person’s faith (15-23)

Jonathan’s attack threw the Philistines into a panic. Their ranks dissolved as the Israelites regrouped. One man of faith was mightier than an entire army! One Christian, who has faith in God’s power to save and puts that faith into action, can make history. Your courageous faith is very important.


Prayer: “Lord, how often do I remain powerless in the face of dark forces. Grant me faith that you have power to safe under any circumstance.”


One Word:  The Lord Saves; now make your move!

Sunday, March 17




1 Samuel 14:24-52

Key Verse 14:45


1.  Saul’s foolish oath (14:24-46)

In light of his miraculous victory, Saul needed to be humble before God. Instead, he made an oath that revealed his pride. He should have cared about his soldiers’ recovery, but he made a law forbidding them to eat. He was not fighting for the Lord’s honor but for himself at others’ expense. Saul caused his soldiers to ignore the law and scavenge. He was expedient…not repentant. He was ready to execute his own son because of his pride. But God protected Jonathan. Saul should have been a good shepherd for his men and a good father. But pride stopped him and made him a selfish leader.


  1. God blessed Saul unconditionally (47—53)

Saul’s reign was marked with fear. There is no indication that the nation was expanding. There was a lot of conflict and no lasting peace. Yet in spite of Saul’s sin, God blessed him in battle. God blessed his family also. God was not blessing Saul for Saul’s sake but in order to bless all of God’s people. He was also giving Saul a chance. God pours out his grace on the righteous and the wicked.


Prayer: “Lord, my pride keeps me from doing good and sometimes harms others. In light of your grace, help me to bless others and encourage them.”


One Word:  Humble myself before God

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