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I Samuel – Three Key Doctrines

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Life in the flesh or Spirit would be an apt title of this first book of Samuel. The striking contrasts between Hannah and Peniah, Samuel and Eli, David and Saul attest to this truth. 

We read some of the great stories of the Bible in First Samuel, like the persistent love of Hannah [1], the wicked sons of Eli [2], the calling of Samuel [3], the humiliation of Dagon [4-6], the disobedience of Saul [13-end], David’s calling from the flocks [16], David and Goliath [17], the friendship of Jonathan [18], Saul and the witch [28] and so many more. 

This book also marvelously introduces to three key doctrines: the Doctrine of God, the Doctrine of Prayer and the Doctrine of Worship. We can briefly examine each. 

I.                     The Doctrine of God is full of riches to grow by.

A.                 Our Lord Jesus Christ 

1.                  Christ is seen in the first mention of His name “Messiah” by a woman in 2:10.

2.                  The perfect priesthood of Jesus is alluded to in 2:35[Hebrews 2:17].

3.                  Christ and the Davidic Covenant is also presented in 7:10-16.

B.                 Our Great God

1.                  A great name of God “The Lord of Hosts” is first used in 1:3.

2.                  The Scriptures go on to use this title for God 280 more times. It signifies God as the Mighty Victor and Conqueror. It can be translated Lord of the armies of Heaven and Earth. See James 5:4.

C.                Our precious Holy Spirit

1.                  He is the One who can prompt holy and righteous anger [11:6].

2.                  He is the One who can make our speech prudent and our conduct bold [16:13, 18].

3.                  He is the One who protects us from evil [16:14].

II.                   The Doctrine of Prayer focuses on the lives of Hannah and Samuel.

A.                 GOD GIVES OUR HEARTS DESIRE THROUGH PRAYER. Hannah prays for a son and is given Samuel [1:10, 12, 26, 27; 2:1].

B.                 GOD GIVES US VICTORY THROUGH PRAYER. Samuel prays for Israel and they are led to victory by God [7:5-10].

C.                GOD GIVES US COMFORT THROUGH PRAYER. Samuel comes in sorrow to God for Israel that has rejected Him as their King [8:5-6].

D.                GOD GIVES INSIGHT THROUGH PRAYER. God reveals secrets to Samuel while he is praying [9:15].

E.                 GOD GIVES US ACCESS THROUGH PRAYER. Samuel declares that a lack of prayer is sin [12:19, 23].

F.                 GOD GIVES NO EAR TO A REBEL. Saul finds his rebellion and rejection of God means God will not listen to him [28:6].

III.                  The Doctrine of Worship centers on the Psalms out of the hard times in the life of David.

A.                 From his EARLY YEARS

1.                  In First Samuel 16 David is the shepherd boy writing Psalms 19 and 23.

2.                  In First Samuel 17-18 David is the giant killer and writes Psalms 8-9.

B.                 From his STRUGGLING YEARS

1.                  In I  Sam 19:11 as Saul tries to murder him, David writes Psalm 59.

2.                  In First Samuel 20:35-42 as Jonathan warns him of the danger of Saul’s wrath, David writes Psalms 11 and 64.

3.                  In First Samuel 21:1-9 as he flees to Ahimelech the priest, David writes Psalm 52.

4.                  In First Samuel 21:11 as he fled from Saul to the Philistine city of Gath, David wrote Psalms 56 and 70.

5.                  In First Samuel 22:1 as he fled from Gath and the Philistines, David wrote Psalm 34.

6.                  In First Samuel 22:1-2 as he moved into a cave at Adullam with an incredibly difficult group of men, David wrote more Psalms than at any other time in his life. These cave Psalms are 4, 13, 40, 57, 141-142.

7.                  In First Samuel 22:5 and  23:14-16 as he was hiding from Saul in the Wilderness of Hareth, David takes time to write Psalms 17 and 63.

8.                  In First Samuel 23:10-13 as he escapes from Saul at Keilah and goes into hiding in the mountains of Ziph, David writes Psalms 31 and 54.

9.                  In First Samuel 24:1-16 after he spares the life of his mortal enemy King Saul, David records his heart in Psalm 7.

10.             In First Samuel 23:29 as he hides in the cave at En-gedi, David writes Psalms 35-36.

11.             In First Samuel 25 in the Wilderness of Paran as he faces the danger of his anger toward Nabal “the fool” and as God delivers him, David writes Psalm 53.

12.             Finally in First Samuel 27 as he is grieved and endangered over the raid on his family and city of Ziklag, David writes Psalms 16, 38 and 39.

We can close our study of this wonderful Old Testament book by looking into the time in David’s life that produced the most inspired Psalms — His Cave Times!


“I cry to you, O LORD”; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5). 

Ever felt prehistoric? A life reduced to grunts and groans? As one poet expressed it, “life must go on . . . I just  can’t remember why”.  A  vicious  swirl of getting up, going through the day and dropping into bed exhausted only to  fall further behind instead of ahead? Trapped in a cave David baby-sat  four hundred fellow fugitives. That’s his address in Psalm 142. From the cave of Adullam he looks up and discovers some great truths about God. So can we. 

Cave times often slide in right after our victories as David discovered.  As “the hero” David toppled the #1 Villain of the hour (Goliath) and lived to tell about it (I Samuel 17).  As “Mr. Brave” David escaped an assassination attempt by Saul (I Samuel 19).  As “Mr. Clever” David acted his way out of the presence of the dreadful commander of the Philistines ( I Samuel 21).  In our text we meet David  running for his life, caring for his family and hosting all these malcontents. 

Now, I Sam. 22:1-2 – Here’s David

  • running for his life
  • caring for his family
  • hosting all these malcontents 


Well – If “cave times” usually




                         “Roof caving in!”

                         “Everything going wrong at once!”

                         “Always happens to me!”

                         “Not now!”

                         “I have some bad news”


                         “They’re all after me”

                         “I’ve been railroaded”


·        NO ONE REGARDS ME  (v.4)  

                         “No one called…”

                        “I’m a nobody”

                        “Poor me…”

                        “I’m all alone”

·        NO ESCAPE FOR ME   

“One-way trip to nowhere”

“You’re TOO old”

“I’m sorry but the qualifications for this position…” 


Cave times also –

(3)  Accomplished great discoveries about God v. 5

1.      Thou art my  REFUGE

2.      Thou art my PORTION

3.      Thou art my LISTENER ‘Give heed my cry’

4.      Thou art my DELIVERER “bring

5.      Thou art my OBJECT OF WORSHIP

6.      Thou art my PROVIDER

7.      Thou art my SUFFICIENCY 

Cave life yields great discoveries about God. David sings them in Psalm 142.  Listen to the confessions of this caveman: “Lord of  Refuge, You are my Portion” ( v.5),  “O Listening One, hear my cry and  Rescue me” (v.6).  “My God who Provides the righteous to gather about me, You are Sufficient” (v. 7). How’s your world? Caving in? Why not look up out of the dark cave of your need and find courage in the One David found sufficient!

Prayer “O Lord my Refuge, I believe You are listening. My Provider, whenever my caves arrive, You are always Sufficient.”

I.                     The Davidic Covenant forms the basis for the bulk of the kingdom promises from this time on.

A.                 This covenant does not replace the Mosaic or Abrahamic Covenants.

B.                 It is a further amplification of God’s covenant relation with His people.

C.                The seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, is also the seed of David, a royal heir to an eternal throne.

II.                   The provisions of the Davidic Covenant.

A.                 God will appoint a place for His people Israel; they shall move no more (v. 10).

B.                 Sinners shall not afflict them anymore (v. 10).

C.                God will build David an eternal house:  posterity, physical descendants (vs. 11, 16).

D.                God will establish David’s kingdom forever:  the political kingdom such as David then ruled (v. 16).

E.                 God will establish David’s throne forever:  the right to rule would never be removed (v. 16).  (This does not imply that one actually had to be ruling all the time.)

F.                 David’s son (Solomon, then unborn) will build a temple (v. 13).

III.                  This connects together the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of David forever.

A.                 The angel announced to Mary that Jesus would take the throne of his father David forever (Luke 1:31-33).

B.                 Peter proclaimed that this covenant was to be fulfilled in Christ (Acts 2:30).

C.                But is this fulfilled by:

a)                 The present session of Christ in heaven?  or

b)                 His reign over the earth in the Millennial Kingdom?

D.                These are a few reasons for a belief in a rule over a literal, earthly kingdom (See Peters:  Theocratic Kingdom, I, p. 343 for more).

1.                  It is solemnly covenanted, confirmed by oath, and cannot be altered or broken.

2.                  The grammatical sense alone is becoming a covenant.

3.                  The impression made on David, if erroneous, is disparaging to his prophetic office.

4.                  The conviction of Solomon was that it referred to the literal throne and kingdom (2 Chron. 6:14-16).

5.                  The language is that ordinarily used to denote the literal kingdom of David.

6.                  The prophets adopt the same language, and its constant reiteration under divine guidance is evidence that the plain grammatical sense is the one intended.

7.                  The prevailing belief of centuries, a national faith, engendered by the language, under the teaching of inspired men, indicates how the language is to be understood.

8.                  This throne and kingdom is one of promise and inheritance., and hence refers to the humanity of Jesus.

9.                  The same is promised to David’s son “according to the flesh” to be actually realized; and therefore, He must appear the Theocratic King as promised.

10.             We have not the slightest hint given that it is to be interpreted in any other way than a literal one; any other is pure inference.

11.             The denial of a literal reception of the covenant robs the heir of his covenanted inheritance.

12.             No grammatical rule can be laid down which will make David’s throne to be the Father’s throne in the third heaven.

13.             If the latter is attempted as a symbolical interpretation, then the meaning of the covenants is left to the interpretations of men, and David becomes a “symbol” of the Creator!

14.             If David’s throne is the Father’s throne in heaven, it must have existed forever.

15.             If such covenanted promises are to be received figuratively, it is inconceivable that they should be given in their present form without some direct affirmation in some place of their figurative nature.

16.             God is faithful in His promises and deceives no one in the language of His covenants.

17.             No necessity existed.  Why, if this throne promised to David’s son meant something else, the throne should be so definitely promised in the form given.

18.             Such a throne and kingdom are necessary to preserve the divine unity of purpose in the already proposed theocratic line.

IV.               It is certainly inconsistent to say that the kingdom is spiritual and yet make part of the fulfillment literal to Solomon; or to make the person of the Son of David literal and His throne spiritual.

V.                 The unconditional and everlasting nature of the covenant is shown by:  Ps. 89:3-4, 20-37; Is. 55:3; Jer. 33:17-22.

A.                 An individual king in the Davidic line may be punished for sin.

B.                 But the Davidic line will never lose royal authority.

VI.               The fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant should include the following:

A.                 Israel must be preserved as a nation.

B.                 Israel as a nation must be brought back to the land of her inheritance.

C.                David’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, must return to earth, bodily and literally, to reign over David’s kingdom.

D.                A literal earthly Kingdom must be established over which Messiah rules.

E.                 This Kingdom must become an eternal Kingdom.

For more material on this covenant, see:  Pentecost:  Things to Come, pp. 100-115; Ottman:  God’s Oath.

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