1 Samuel opens with a heartbroken woman whose prayers for a baby seem unanswered. She is bullied, hurting and raw before the Lord. And one day, the Lord chooses her to birth a son who would be the next leader of Israel–Samuel.
Throughout the book of 1 Samuel, we see faith contrasted with sin. We see the faith of Hannah contrasted with the wickedness of Eli’s sons and the evil of Israel. Then we see the righteousness of Samuel contrasted with the wickedness of his sons as well as the people of Israel when they ask for a king. We see the righteousness of David compared to the wickedness of Saul who was crippled by his fear of man.
Faith came in ordinary places such as Hannah- a simple woman and David, a commoner, a poor man and a rejected brother. Likewise lack of faith came everywhere too.
Things We Learn
1) The story isn’t over until It’s over – Hannah mourned deeply over her barrenness but when the time was ripe, she had a son. Like Sarah. Like Elizabeth. Like others. Sometimes the story is long in coming but is waiting until the times are ripe.
2) The Fear of the Lord comes first. Eli loved his his sons but didn’t stand up to them when they defiled the temple of the Lord. He spoke to them but didn’t actually do anything. He put his children before the Lord and therefore faced punishment since he was a leader of Israel (1 Sam 2:29-30). Granted, this was a special case as Eli was an anointed high priest of Israel and director of the temple. Yet it can be a temptation to put our family in a place greater than the Lord.
3) Fear of Man can Extinguish Calling – Saul was afraid of man from the beginning when he hid when Samuel was anointing a king. Yet the Lord saw him and saw that he could choose to not let fear win, but that didn’t happen. Saul continuously gave in to his fear of man and cost him and the people.
4) Righteousness is proven when we don’t justify sin – David proved over and over that he wasn’t willing to justify sin even though it seemed like he had every right to do so. It’s part of what made his life so extraordinary. Even his enemies honored him.
5) Seek the Lord on all occasions – While Saul was seeking a medium, David was seeking the Lord. In fact, this was a regular habit of David’s. When an important decision needed to be made, he didn’t make presumptions based on the obvious, but rather sought the Lord.
6) God sometimes will give us what we demand, but it is not best – The people of Israel asked for a king so they could be like other nations. The Lord warned them what it would be like but they demanded a king anyway. God relented and gave them what they wanted. It was to cause them many problems in the future but the Lord allowed it.
7) Just because your God’s anointed doesn’t mean your position is retained – God anointed Saul for a position of leadership as he had that capacity within him to lead and bless Israel. But he chose to do evil and the Lord removed him from that position. God often has to deal with us in our sins.