Like Samuel and Nathan, You Can Serve God and Help Others

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Background Information
Both Samuel and Nathan were prophets. When Samuel was a boy, he heard someone calling to him. He thought it was Eli, his teacher, but the voice was God's. Eli told Samuel if he heard the voice again, he should reply, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth" (I Sam 3:9). So he did! Samuel dedicated his life to serving God. God told Samuel who to anoint as kings. Samuel first anointed Saul. Then, God sent Samuel to anoint a new king, one of Jesse's sons. Samuel was ready to choose one he thought looked like a king, but God stopped him. God had chosen David, and Samuel was able to hear God's direction and follow it (I Sam. 16). People listened to Samuel because they knew he listened to God.

Nathan also listened to God. Nathan often acted as King David's advisor. David loved God deeply, but one day he gave into lust. He saw a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, and sent for her so he could sleep with her. When he found out she was pregnant, David called Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, back from the battlefield. David wanted Uriah to sleep with his wife so he would think the child was his. But Uriah was an honorable man and didn't think it was right for him to enjoy his wife while others were fighting. David had Uriah placed at the front of the battle, where he was killed. Needless to say, David's actions didn't please God. Nathan went to David and told him a story that revealed to David the selfish and wicked thing he had done (II Sam. 11-12). You can read Nathan's story.

Like Samuel, you can serve God and see others as God would see them.

  • Listen to God.
    • Be willing to say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth."
    • Then we have to do what God tells us to do.
  • Become God's servant.
    • Ask, "What can I do to serve God?"
    • Does that mean: Serving in church or Sunday School? Helping someone at school? Reading the Bible more? Praying more consistently for ourselves and the world?
  • See people with God's eyes and look beyond appearances.
    • Samuel realized that "the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (I Sam. 16:7).
    • Decide to see with God's eyes and look on the "heart" rather than on the "outward appearance."
      • Is there someone at school, in your church, in extra-curricular activities, or in your neighborhood who is judged because of what she or he looks like?
      • Make a commitment to look past appearances.
      • Get to know that person from the inside.
      • Talk with that person. Ask that person questions. Try to understand what that individual likes. Look for common ground. That individual may:
        • need a friend;
        • need help;
        • teach us something;
        • become a great friend.
      • If we never look at the heart, we'll never really connect with people, ourselves, or God.

Like Nathan, you can help others turn from the wrong and do the right.

Sometimes we and our friends do stupid, foolish, or immoral things. Sometimes people know something they are doing is wrong but do it anyway. There's an endless list of behavior that is unethical or harmful: cheating; shoplifting; experimenting with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex; lying; computer hacking; falsifying grades, etc. Do you know someone who needs help for this reason?

  • If our friends are in the deciding stage, then we can be the voice of reason and morality.
    • Help them think through their decision-making process: ask questions and talk about consequences.
    • Point out how their integrity is worth much more than momentary excitement.
    • Use examples from real life or the Bible of how one unethical act can ruin lives.
      • David compromised his integrity when he slept with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. His son by Bathsheba died seven days after birth. David became ineffective as a ruler and father. The rest of his life was filled with turmoil and pain.
      • David realized his mistake and tried to make amends. But he could never undo what he had done.
    • If our friends have already done something unethical, immoral, or harmful, we can have the courage and humility to help them stop making poor choices so that they CAN have a good life.
      • The way in which we help our friends realize their wrong-doings is important.
        • Nathan didn't flat out tell David that what he did was wrong. He used a story, an analogy, that David would understand.
        • After David heard the story and Nathan explained it, David realized what he had done and felt terrible.
      • We take a risk of losing our friends when we try to help them. They may not want to hear that what they're doing is wrong. But if we don't care for our friends, who will?
    • The point is not to tell our friends what is wrong with them. The point is to help and encourage our friends to do right, which frees them to be who they really are.

You can help others by seeing them as God's children and helping them see themselves as God's children:

  • In your own thoughts, focus on what's good about them.
  • Remind them that they are made in God's image and that image is pure.
  • Tell them what you appreciate about them, and point out the positive.
  • Help them start a gratitude and love list about themselves. Sometimes people don't feel they have anything to be grateful for and don't love themselves.
  • Remind them that God loves them infinitely.

If they really understand how much God loves them, they will feel no need to wander from God's love

The KJV Bible passage below explains how Nathan helped David see what he had done wrong. As you read, notice the following:

  • How Nathan spoke to David in a way David would understand: David had tended sheep.
  • How David responded to the man who had taken the poor man's lamb.
  • How David responded when he found out he was the man.
  • The consequence of David's actions.
  • How David's actions affected his family and his kingdom.

II Sam. 12:1-14
And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.