17th December 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v32)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
In the long list of men and women recorded for us in Hebrews 11 the last name given is Samuel who can only be described as a remarkable figure. His mother was a lady called Hannah who was incredibly thankful for the gift of her son, so much so that she gave him to the service of the Lord. As a boy Samuel ministered unto the Lord as a priest even though he was not a descendant of Levi (1 Samuel 2v18). Later he heard the voice of God and his work of prophecy was so blessed that the Lord did not allow any of his words to fall to the ground - his ministry was effective and powerful. Indeed all of Israel recognised him as a prophet (1 Samuel 3v19-20).
Later in his life and before the era of the kings, Samuel acted as judge over the people urging them to return to the Lord (1 Samuel 7v3). He lived to see the days of Israel's kings, even though he had warned the people against them and he saw both the rise and fall of Saul and then the choosing of a young man called David. Eventually when his life came to an end the entire nation mourned for such a great servant of God.
Years later the Lord Himself spoke of Samuel in high regard saying that if Moses and Samuel stood before Him even they couldn't cause Him to lift His judgement from Judah (Jeremiah 15v1). Later still Peter preached and was clear that the days of Christ had been proclaimed by the prophet Samuel (Acts 3v24).
His name is the last one given in this long list and not much is said about him by the Apostle but any student of the Scriptures knows that Samuel was a towering figure in the history of salvation and the church of Jesus Christ.
Even so we still don't call upon you to "dare to be a Samuel". Your life and mine will never reach the remarkable heights of this great prophet...but you know what? That's perfectly fine. You see it doesn't matter if we are Moses, Samuel, Elijah, David, Rahab or just Joe Bloggs from 3 Main Street, Ballynahinch...the Gospel is an incredible equaliser and it focuses the attention of God's people on the loveliness of Christ.
Samuel is unquestionably a remarkable figure but Christ is superior by far. Christ is our prophet, priest and king and He fulfils all the roles introduced in the Old Testament. He is the true priest in the line of Melchizedek. He is the true king in the line of David and He is the true and last prophet and God's complete revelation to man.
We all have our spiritual heroes, favourite preachers, go-to theologians and revered examples but we would do well to remember that none of them compare to Christ. Samuel would surely agree and many years later a famous Christian by the name of C.H. Spurgeon concurred. He said..."I am persuaded there are more delights in Christ, yea, more joy in one glimpse of His face than is to be found in all the praises of this harlot world, and in all the delights which it can yield to us in its sunniest and brightest days.”
No one may know your name and the word "remarkable" may never be applied to your life...but that's okay. We are happy to decrease as Christ increases and we know that for every child of God there waits an unspeakable glory in the presence of the truly remarkable Jesus.
Q26 How doth Christ execute the office of a king? Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.