Free files for youth pastors:
1 – 1 Sam 1-3 – Samuel (game: kingdom text mix)
“Kingdom” is a word that everyone gets and wants if they know it or not. When I was around 7, my cousin and I would hangout a lot to set up our G.I. Joes like a kingdom battle. In the next room, my sister would set up her Barbies like a peaceful kingdom-home. All kids freak out when they get to experience the Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld. Even elderly people love to join a kingdom-like retirement village with their own chariot-golf carts, dwell in their own castle-apartments, etc. A kingdom is a place were people life live together ruled by a king. Our culture and we as humans seem to both understand and desire a kingdom, but why? Everyone sets-up their own kind of kingdom. Why? It’s because God created us for an eternal and powerful kingdom.
Leading up to the book of 1 Samuel, God is moving Israel into the kingdom phase of their history. In the beginning God created all things to be under the feet of Adam as king, and then a Satanic conspiracy rose to dethrone Adam. God then called the Hebrews to be His Kingdom people, rescued them from slavery, gave them His kingdom-laws, led them through a wilderness, and brought them to their promised kingdom-land. After going through a really whacked-out time in Judges, God is now starting the kingdom as they’ve settled in their land, built a permanent temple, and God will give them kings.
The start of 1 Samuel is a time when God isn’t speaking much to His people because no one will listen. But He begins to speak to a young man named Samuel who lives in the temple yet who is of no relation to the priests. Who is this young dude, and why does God choose to speak to him. Why is this whole book named after him? It all started when his mom (Hannah) was getting trash-talked by her husband’s (Elkanah) other wife (Peninnah) for not being able to have any kids. Hannah busted out crying, ran to the temple, and prayed to God for a son so emotionally that the priest (Eli) thought she was a drunk. In our times of greatest emotional despair, do we run to God in prayer? God answered Hannah’s prayer, and she gave birth to Samuel. She promised God that she wouldn’t keep him, but that she’d give Samuel back to God by letting him live and serve in the temple. Hannah sought first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33) over everything else by praying, and by giving God’s answer to her prayer back to Him.
So that’s where Samuel came from. He was an answer to prayer, a gift from God. That’s why God has chosen to speak to him. God called out to him three times while he was sleeping in the Holy of Holies with the Ark of the Covenant in the room. The first two times he thought it was Eli calling him from the “Holy Place” room. Eli figured out it was God calling, and told Samuel how to answer: “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” How do you respond when God speaks to you through His Word, preaching, etc?
Maybe your first thought is telling you that 1 Samuel doesn’t have anything to do with your life…but think again! What is the kingdom of God? It is God’s realm where His people worship Him by obeying His King. God has set-up His Son, Jesus Christ, as His King. The people of God’s Kingdom are the Christians that make-up the church. So where is the Kingdom of God today? The Kingdom of God is present in the church as the people of God submit to the rule of Christ. The church is the presence of God’s Kingdom since it is shepherded by pastors, served by deacons, and filled with His people just like Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, the servant of God, and is followed by God’s peeps.
Have you ever imagined yourself already being a part of God’s Kingdom? Are you yet? Have you responded to God’s call by turning from your sinfulness, believing in Jesus’ death for your sin, resurrection for your new life of righteousness, and calling Him to be the Lord-King rest of your life? And, are you serving in His kingdom-church?