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Summary: Since we may minister to people who are hearing bad news, examining Samuel’s heart while he acts in this way provides keys we can remember if we too need to serve in this uncomfortable way.

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Softening the Blow

Selections from 1 Samuel

Introduction

Part of Samuel’s ministry was working with people who were in difficult or unusual circumstances.

With His Own Family

-His mother (2:18-19)

Tell Bad News from God

-Eli (3:11-14, 17-18)

-King Saul (13:11-14; 15:24-31)

Serve with those God Rejected

-Eli’s sons (2:22-26)

In National Calamities

-Israel (chapters 5-7, 12)

We too may find ourselves used by God to deliver unpleasant news. We must learn to soften the blows of life people encounter.

I. Soften Our Own Hearts to Others

A. Went about his own duties first (2:18; 4:1)

B. Kept close to God himself (2:26)

C. Not pleased to give bad news (15:35)

D. Adds or subtracts nothing from what God tells him (3:18)

E. Compassionate about those he speaks to, no matter the message (7:9; 15:30-31, 35)

II. Soften All Hearts Through Prayer

One constant offering he could make for them was prayer. After praying for them, they were often more ready to hear him, and he was more prepared to speak to them.

A. Pray for the broken hearted frequently

1 Samuel 7:8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.

B. Pray to discharge our responsibility to God and them

1 Samuel 12:23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.

III. Soften Our Responses to Another’s Heart

A. We need to be prepared for the different emotions people may be facing while they deal with deep disappointments, like:

1. Unrealistic optimism "I’ll be fine."

2. Anger "I can’t believe this is happening to me."

3. Acceptance "I need to deal with this and go on."

B. God tells us that suffering can be used for positive effects:

1. To refine, perfect, and keep us from falling (Psalm 66:8-9; Hebrews 2:10; 12:10)

2. To teach us humility (2 Corinthians 12:7)

3. To unify us (Revelation 1:9)

4. To break our hearts (Psalm 51:16-17)

5. To help us comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-11)

6. To force us to rely on God (Psalm 11:1; 14:6)

7. To increse our faith (Gen. 22; Ps. 46:10)

8. To break a rebellious will (Rev. 11:13)

9. To stretch our hope (Job 13:14-15)

10. To lead to repentance (Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 7:5-11)


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