REFLECTIONS FROM 1 SAMUEL
My goal in writing reflections from 1 Samuel are the following: First, to encourage you the reader that if you will pay attention to the words on the page and listen carefully you will mine a lot of truth for life without the need of a commentary or any secondary source. That is, “take up and read” to enrich your soul Christian.
Second, I write to give you a model of how observations can be done in scripture that do not read into the text something foreign to the author’s intent. This will help you experience the joy of discovery and increase your confidence in your ability to comprehend God’s word.
Third, by doing the above my hope is that you will be able to hear God’s voice all the more clearly because it is the word of God that is forever settled in heaven, and not our subjective impressions however valid they may be. That is, we have a more sure word of prophecy according to Peter—meaning the inscripturated word of God—then a glorious experience we may claim to have (2 Peter 1:16-21). Too often we Christians have bizarre ideas of what “God” is supposedly speaking to us and when it contradicts the Bible, be assured we are not hearing his voice.
As redemptive history continues to unfold, there are a few thoughts which have arrested my attention from these four chapters. First, Hannah’s life with her barrenness and subsequent birth of Samuel who would grow to become a prophet in Israel, were God ordained (1:5, 20). After her many bitter travails, she erupts in a song of gratitude recounting the LORD’s absoluteness (2:2); his knowledge and judgments (2:3); and his sovereign actions (2:6-10). Truly, God hears the weeping of his people and answers their cries in his time.
Second, the description of Eli’s two sons is daunting. The text says that they were, “…worthless men, they did not know the LORD” (2:12-17, 22-25). In Joshua and Judges this same clause is used of evil men who despise God and thus his ways (Judges 9:4; 11:3). Eli became the means for his sons’ destruction and curse because he neglected to discipline them (2:27-36; 3:12-14, 18).
Third, Samuel is exalted as Israel’s prophet. It was evident to all of Israel that he was exalted and chosen by God to be a prophet (3:19-21) and this resulted in response to his mother, Hannah’s prayer (1:27-28). This is amazing, God is the sovereign who accomplishes his providential purposes through the prayers of the frail, insignificant, and even those despised in society (to be barren was socially seen as a curse).
It’s good to pour out our hearts before the LORD who hears the cries of his own. When parents don’t discipline their children they both despise the LORD and contribute to the destruction of their offspring.