He Leads Us
1 Samuel 2:12-3:21
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Introduction: The alternate paths of the sons of Eli and the son of Hannah provide a marked contrast in how ministers should conduct themselves. Hophni and Phinehas ignored the Lord’s instruction and used their position as priests to benefit themselves. Because they themselves did not know the Lord, they were unconcerned about turning people away from the Lord. By contrast, Samuel’s service at the temple was characterized by his eagerness to serve others in the name of the Lord and by his careful attention to the Word of the Lord. The frequent references to his personal integrity and the summary statements regarding his prophetic ministry invite us to consider qualities that should belong to every pastor.
01. Pray for a pastor who fears the Lord in such a way that he would never use his position to sinfully benefit himself or take advantage of others.
02. Pray for a pastor who preaches the Word of God faithfully because he knows it is the primary instrument the Holy Spirit uses to change lives.
03. Pray for a pastor who is humble enough to know that he doesn’t have all the answers and eagerly receives advice from other godly people.
04. Pray for a pastor who is bold enough to speak hard things when necessary but still has a tender heart for people.
05. Pray for a pastor whose overall ministry points everyone to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
1. Why was the priesthood significant in Israel? How did one become a priest in Israel? What functions did a priest perform in the Old Testament that are no longer necessary today?
2. Read Ezekiel 34 and note the strong words of the Lord against the shepherds of Israel. Why does the Lord hold such leaders in contempt? What were their responsibilities towards the sheep? What is the condition of the sheep under such self-serving shepherds? Note the numerous ways in which the Lord himself promises to seek, save, feed, and bring rest to the flock.
3. What moral qualities of a pastor, or overseer, are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7? What is the inherent connection between a pastor’s character and his ability to teach? What does this connection suggest to the church about holding pastors accountable for their life and doctrine?
4. According to 1 Peter 5:1-5, pastors and elders are to shepherd the flock not by domineering others, but leading by example. Those under their care are to be subject to their guidance with humility. Given our sinful hearts and our penchant towards individualism, how can Christians honor the Lord through selecting and supporting qualified leaders in the church? (Hint: note the danger of pride)
5. Read John 10:1-18 to help you see the beauty of Jesus Christ as the Chief Shepherd. Pray for a pastor whose life points you to the true shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep.
For Further Reading: Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry, with An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency (Banner of Truth, first published 1830; reprint, 1991).