top of page
  • Writer's pictureacoachsdiary

The Obedience of Samuel

In 1960, Tom Landry became the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and while Coach Landry is now considered one of the best coaches in the history of football, he had a rough start. The Cowboys didn’t win a game that first season, losing 11 and tying 1, but he righted the ship and eventually led the Cowboys to 20 straight winning seasons.

Coach Landry once said, “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence. If you’re in control, they’re in control.”

Imagine how hard it must have been to start a new franchise and not win a single game in your first year. I bet Coach Landry and his team faced a lot of doubt, but through his leadership, the Cowboys eventually became America’s team.

Every great team, culture, and tribe needs a great leader, and Samuel is a Biblical example of a leader guiding his tribe through difficult times.

Samuel was a key leader and prophet for the Israelites during the time of Judges, and because he feared and faithfully obeyed God, he was able to successfully lead them to a time of peace.

Before he was born, Samuel’s mother Hannah couldn’t have kids, so she went to the temple in Shiloh, one of the main centers of Israelite worship, and prayed to God for a son, promising to give him to God all the days of his life (1st Samuel 1:11).

God listened to Hannah and blessed her with Samuel, and Hannah lived up to her promise and left him at the temple to be raised by the priest at the time, Eli.

Back then, the sons of the priest were raised to take over for their father when he got too old to lead, but Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were called wicked and worthless in the Bible, and early in Samuel’s life, God spoke to Samuel and told him He was going to punish Eli and his sons.

Later, the Israelites went to battle with the Philistines, and in the battle, Eli’s sons were killed, Eli died, and the Philistines took the ark of the Lord. This is when Samuel stepped up to lead the Israelites, helping them defeat the Philistines and enter a time of peace.

But the Israelites wanted to have a king rule over them like other nations, and they demanded that Samuel choose a king to lead them. Like Eli before him, neither of Samuel’s sons was fit to lead, so despite Samuel’s warning, the Israelites demanded he find them a king, and God selected a man named Saul to be the first king of the Israelites.

Before anointing Saul as king, Samuel warned the Israelites that they would only benefit from a king who was humble and faithful to God, or they would be punished and face ruin. When Saul’s character flaws cause him to disobey God’s commands, Samuel tells him God will raise up a new king to replace him.

God gave instructions to Samuel regarding the succession of the throne of Israel. He was sent to the house of Jessie to anoint his youngest, smallest son, David as the future king, but Samuel died before he was able to see David take the throne.

I had three main takeaways from Samuel’s story.


First, Samuel had so much faith in God that even at a young age, he had the strength and confidence to tell Eli God was going to punish his sons. It would have been hard for me to be so young and have to give Eli an honest account of what God told him, but from a young age, Samuel had complete allegiance to God first.


Second, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can always return back to God and trust that He will take care of us. When Samuel took over as judge and leader of the Israelites, he said to them, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines,” and it says the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only (‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭3‬-‭4‬).


Finally, though Samuel didn’t think it was a good idea to anoint a king for the Israelites, He talked to God first about it, and he accepted God’s decision. When we face important or difficult decisions in our lives, we have to pray to God first, and then we have to listen and obey.

Many of us may pray and talk to God about the important decisions in our lives, but how many of us are ready to accept what He tells us to do, especially when it appears to go against what we think we want? Samuel was a great leader because of his close relationship with God, and it started with a healthy prayer life. Samuel was a great man of prayer, and his people respected him for it (1 Samuel 12:19, 23).

We too can live a successful, joyful, peaceful life if we commit to having a strong relationship with God. Learn from Samuel and pray to God about everything, listen to His guidance and instructions, then do what He tells you to do.


1 - When you face something difficult, what is the first thing you do? What is the first thing you should do?

2 - How often do you pray for guidance from God? How could you do this more often?

3 - When is it hardest for you to obey God and do what you know is right? How can you overcome those barriers?

My Prayer:

Dear, God.

I pray that I will forever both fear You and obey You. I will serve You and obey Your voice, and I will not rebel against Your commandments.

In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

For a printable PDF of this post, click here: The Obedience of Samuel

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page