Recovery of the Glory (continued)
Samuel Spanned the Gap
There may be some who doubt whether Samuel did, in fact, play such a vital part in spanning this gap between the departure of the glory and the full recovery in Solomon's temple. Apart from the actual narrative, there is an indication of what both God and men thought of the part he played, in the titles given to the two historical books which tell the story. Up to 1 Samuel 25:1, it can be argued that Samuel was only one of the principle characters. Then he dies, and is no longer on the scene. Yet, in spite of that, both books are called by his name - First Samuel and Second Samuel - though originally, we are told, they were treated as one single book. Who gave the title of "Samuel?" We do not know. But it is singularly appropriate, as many have pointed out. It was Samuel's influence and Samuel's ministry, largely in the unseen realm, that reversed the tragic experience of 'Ichabod' and brought in the fullness of the glory. Where are the Samuel's today? Surely they are as greatly needed in our day as he was in his.
When Saul turned against Samuel, we are told that the prophet returned to his home at Ramah. And Ramah, so they say, means "heights." Earlier on he had built an altar at Ramah. How much Israel owed, and how much David and Solomon owed, to this man whose name was in the heights by the altar!
Discipline Unto Prayer
There is a very striking sequence about the arrangement of many of the Books of the Bible; though chronologically it is all wrong to take the order: Nehemiah, Esther, Job; spiritually it is all right. Each of these books centers around, or emphasizes at least, this matter of intercession. Nehemiah is the work of prayer. Prayer is everywhere in Nehemiah; prayer at all times, long prayers, short prayers, but it is all prayer with the work, and work with the prayer. "In everything by prayer and supplication" (Philippians 4:6) - I think that is Nehemiah. In Esther we strike a deeper note: it is the prayer of love, sacrificial love, in the one great moment of intercession of Esther's life. And in the case of Job I think we go deeper still, including, of course, those other two. Here we have not somebody who is marked by what they do so much as somebody whose doing comes out of what they are, the life of prayer.
(continued with # 48)