Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let the Journey Begin - 1 Samuel 1-2

I am pumped up about beginning this 28 day reading challenge of 1 & 2 Samuel. Today's reading was from 1 Samuel 1-2 - I read from the New Living Translation. Here are the things that stood out to me and I felt were important to the story:

* The opening chapter of 1 Samuel is describing how the prophet Samuel was born. I particularly like how Hannah's faithfulness to praying and asking God for a son was rewarded to her by God (vs.10-11, 19-20). She didn't give up on the possibility that God could give her favor and a child. One thing I find particularly fascinating is how Hannah made a vow to give her son back to the Lord to work for Him (vs 11) and when she did have a son (Samuel), after a couple of years and he had been weaned, she brought him to the Tabernacle and gave him to Eli the priest to be used for the Lord's work (vs. 25-28). Would you have been able to make that oath and keep it? She was wanting to have a son so badly, but then turned around a gave him to the Lord a few years afterward. That had to be difficult.

* Chapter 2 begins with Hannah singing a song of praise or a prayer of praise. This is reminiscent of the time when the Moses sister led the Israelites in a song of praise after crossing the Red Sea and Mary's song of praise in the book of Luke when she discovered that Elizabeth and her were both pregnant and they celebrated together. From this point in the story, there is a major scene shift taking place. The story turns away from Hannah and her husband Elkanah, and begins to focus on the rise of Samuel to the position of prophet, in which he will one day be responsible for anointing the first king of Israel, and shortly after, it's most prominent king, David.

* The last part of our reading focused on Eli the priest and his wicked sons. Eli's sons were taking advantage of their position by abusing the rights of being priest. They were eating the meat that was supposed to be used for the sacrifice and they were seducing the women who worked at the Tabernacle. Meanwhile Samuel is growing in the ways of the Lord, growing in both stature with God and people (2:26), which is reminiscent of the description of Jesus when he was 12 yrs old at the Temple. The most compelling passage in this entire first two chapters to me were spoken to Eli by a prophet from God who said,

"Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I tell him to do. I will bless his descendants, and his family will be priests to my anointed kings forever." (2:35)

This passage is pointing toward Samuel and his future role. This is also a sober reminder that God is no respecter of persons. God can and will do as He pleases. He doesn't owe anyone any favors. He chooses those He blesses by whether or not they listen and do as He says. That is the key: a person who will do as God says. My prayer for us as a people is that we would be those faithful servants that God raises up because we are careful to do everything that He tells to.

How about you? What things stood out to you as you read? What questions did it stir up?


  1. I am using the New English Bible that published in it complete form in 1970.

    A Lesson for me:

    There were all kinds of people in the Temple Life of the Hebrews.

    Just as today there are all kinds of people in the Church Life.

    There are those that are faithful and those that are are not faithful.

    For me these two chapters shows the Church has its beauty and it ugliness.

    It is like the wheat and tares parable. They are there together till God chooses to act.

    It is Sovereignty. God has supreme authority in His community.

    He blessings those who obey him and deals with those who do not.

    It assures me with a wonder story of faithfulness. It warns me of being unfaithful.

    It is a lesson to learn.

  2. James, that is a great insight, the passage does reflect the modern church...you have a contrast between those who were faithful and those who were disobedient...you had examples of perseverance (Hannah) and those who tore others down (Peninnah)

    Good thoughts

  3. Seeing Hannah faithfully make the trip and pray for a son year after year while having to live with another woman constantly insulting her certainly teaches us perseverance. Way too often we pray and act like God is required by Mosaic Law to respond within a given amount of time or else the answer must be no. God's plans require us to do things His way, not Him doing things our way. Tough lesson for me to live.

    Also, seeing the way Eli responded to her in the Temple was surprising. He made the mistake of seeing things through jaded eyes. Right before him, someone was pouring out their soul to God and Eli of all people missed it. We have to constantly remember to see things with His eyes, not ours. I love what she says to a seemingly incompetent priest, "I am not drunk, I am just heart broken and seeking God's face. I've just been praying from the depth of the anguish and resentment in my heart."

    Thanks Eli, maybe you should go check on what your boys are eating or who they're "talking" to.

  4. Awesome thoughts Chad. I really liked the prayer from Hannah. I thought that was the ultimate sacrifice for a mother to give her child to God and then to see how He blessed her with more children than she could have imagined!

  5. Chad,

    Great job. I have such a hard time putting in writing what I got from it and you did a great job.

    I know sometimes it is easy to promise God I will do something for him if he will just do what I want him to do for me. I can't imagine having to sacrifice my child because of a promise I made. She was a much stronger person than I could ever be.

  6. Thanks for all the thoughts guys. There were some great insights on here that never crossed my mind...this is why we are able to grow together as we examine the Scriptures. I'm going to try and minimize how much explaining I do in the post and allow for more room for your own thoughts.

    Look forward to the days ahead of us.

  7. What I found interesting in Ch. 1 is that Elknah dismisses the fact that Hannah is being taunted and teased by his other wife. - Makes me think of how many times we are oblivious to why the people around us are hurting.
    Even upon Hannah being heard by God and given a son Elknah basically do what ever you want.
    So here is a father who totally has no idea what is going on with his family and oblivious to the work that God is doing through his family and around him.

    What I took away from Hannah was that she was made fun of by basically family, dismissed at first by the priest and even from what it seems, dismissed by her husband, she kept strong in her promise to God about giving her son back. We don't know how long Hannah had waited but it seems during the time of waiting it was a hard time, the scripture talks about her being sad and even praying in anguish.

    What I love about it though is that she did give back to God what he had given her, she wasn't stingy with what she had been blessed with.

    How many times are we stingy with the blessings that God has blessed us with?

  8. Josh,

    Welcome to the conversation...I look forward to you joining us. You have a great point about the role of Elknah as a husband dropping the ball. He was either clueless, oblivious, or unconcerned about Hannah's hurt. We see what we want to see and ignore what we want to ignore too often.