Kings & Prophets

Few Christians have a deep understanding of the Old Testament kings of Israel, or the prophets and their messages. The purpose of this series is to allow anybody to quickly gain a better understanding of those things, as well as an appreciation of how that information is relevant today. The Old Testament prophets were real people who proclaimed important messages from God that have stayed true for thousands of years. Jesus and the apostles thought the kings and prophets were important, so we should, too.

It is no wonder that few Christians have deep familiarity of the kings and prophets. Christians tend to read the New Testament, while the kings and prophets are in the Old Testament. The books of the kings and prophets  are not arranged in chronological order, the history of ancient Israel and its neighbors is complex, and the geography of the region is an ever-shifting jigsaw puzzle. The language of the prophets is often symbolic or metaphorical, and the intended messages seem to be shrouded in mystery. Lastly, many people assume that Old Testament prophecies have mostly been fulfilled, so they must not still be very important.

Perhaps our attitudes would change if we thought of prophets as truth tellers, not fortune tellers. Their truths stand important today. Besides, it may be that a number of their prophecies of the future have not yet been fulfilled.

Last Judge, First King

Samuel was the first influential prophet in the era after the judges. Although Samuel was blameless and honest in his leadership, his sons were dishonest and took bribes. To avoid having them as leaders, the elders of Israel demanded that Samuel appoint a king to lead them,  like all the surrounding nations had.

God told Samuel that the people had rejected God, not Samuel. He instructed them to warn the people of all the horrible disadvantages of having a king other than God, but the people continued to insist on having a king, especially one who would lead them into battles.

God eventually had Samuel appoint Saul as king, even though his only obvious good qualities were being handsome and tall. Saul did become powerful when the Spirit of God came upon him, and he started leading the Israelites in a powerful way when he rescued the city of Jabesh from the Ammonites.

Samuel and King Saul
Primary Scriptures:
1 Samuel, 1 Chronicles 1-10
Story Summary:
Stories of the first prophet and first king of Israel
Twelve tribes of Israel, Kingdom of Israel
Circa 1100-1010 BC