By Russ Ramsey
This study of 1 and 2 Samuel focuses primarily on three people and their role in the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. Samuel was the last of the Judges; Saul was the first king of Israel; and David was the king they celebrated most.
So many familiar biblical stories and characters are found in these historical books; Goliath, Bathsheba, Mephibosheth, Jonathan, and Nathan the prophet are all here. But the story begins as a surprising number of biblical stories do—with a miracle birth. We see this in the Old Testament with Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:15-22), and Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 25:19-26). Both couples faced apparent infertility. We also see it also in the New Testament with Zechariah and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-25), and Joseph and Mary (Luke 1:26-38). Both conceived when it wasn’t thought possible.
Again and again in Scripture, hope is birthed into this world against all odds.
Even though the books of Samuel relay the epic unfolding of a mighty kingdom, they begin small with the grief of a sorrow-filled woman who wants more than anything for the Lord to give her a child. The Lord gives her a son whose life foreshadows Christ. Hannah conceives Samuel, who leads Israel into a relationship with their king. We’re reminded in these early chapters how the story of the Lord’s work in the world, while global, is also deeply personal.
From Hannah wanting a child to Israel wanting a leader, these books always keep eternity in view. Beyond the page-turning adventure of kings and battles and political gamesmanship, 1 and 2 Samuel tell the story of a greater King—the Lord God who calls His people by name and establishes His throne forever.
Like Israel, we want to be protected and provided for. When Israel asked God for a king, what they were really asking was for God to give them someone to protect them and provide for them. The Lord had been doing this for them for centuries, but they wanted someone they could see, touch, and seat on a throne. Though their request was made in fear, the great irony of the gospel is that this is exactly what God gave us when He sent Christ to live among us—a King who would be one of us, seated on a throne that could never be defeated.
As you read these books, pay attention to Israel’s hunger for peace and stability. That hunger has not gone away, and no nation has ever chosen a king who could satisfy it. Only God can do this, which is not only the point of 1 and 2 Samuel, but of the Christian faith as well.
Our King has come, and He will reign forever.
Written by Russ Ramsey
Get truth delivered straight to your inbox.
Sign up to receive daily Bible readings every morning.
13 thoughts on "The Birth of Samuel"
1 Samuel 1 and 2 reflects the duality of most stories from the Bible, which emphasize simultaneously both the concerns of the entire Christian church and deeply personal, individual concerns. The desire of both Hannah and the church of Israel in 1 Samuel 1 and 2 is for peace and stability. The text indicates that true peace and stability can only ever come through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Israel wants a physical king seated on the throne and the Lord becomes that king when he becomes flesh as Christ. That physicality is represented by Hannah’s personal desire to have a baby, which is made possible only through the Lord.
As a dad of four boys, I can’t help but be scared of and encouraged by the lack of response of Eli to his sons. His passivity in the midst of their sexual sin and abuse of power sickens me, even though I know I’m more than capable of the same in my life with my sin as well as a passivity that can exist with my boys as I seek to raise them to be godly men.
I love seeing the contrast in 1 Sam 2:26 of how Samuel grew in stature and favor with the Lord and with people (see also Luke 2:52).
I just can’t imagine, even as a Father, giving up my son. While I understand why, I still can’t imagine how they must have felt that day leaving their child in the care of a relative stranger.
This, of course, also shows their love of God and relationship with God that they made good on their vow. We are still only human and to serve God in the way they did showed a super-human faith.
In a time where it can be hard to see the Hand of God, I forget that God is the God of nations, but also of me, the individual, the beloved. At church yesterday, I went up for prayer and was told a similar thing: Christ is not only the savior of the Church or institution. No, He is my savior as well. I think this is what I need to hone in one in this season. I am saved, I am loved, and I can be whole again.
Our prayers don’t have to be spoken for the Lord to hear us. Hannah was speaking in her mind and the Lord listened to her. That probably wasn’t Hannah’s first time praying for a child. How many years of humiliation and hatred toward God did she have before she relentlessly prayed for a child? She promised the baby would be dedicated to God and when she was given it, she did exactly that. Hannah is a woman of God by keeping her word as well as relentlessly praying and asking God for a miracle.
Do I have anything in my life that I want changed that only God can fix? He hears me every time, I just need to stay in his grace to have it answered in his timing. God is faithful and hears our prayers.
Lord I think it’s dope that you honored this woman’s request. There’s nothing in the chapter that shows you honoring her request cause she was righteous or anything like that. She was in anguish and was probably sick of the other wife coming at her neck all the time so she was depressed and in despair. But she knew you listened and answered prayers, so she prayed and asked for a child. And you being you, you heard her request and answered her. How she prayed popped out to me too. Sometimes when I’m really going through I can’t pray audibly, I know what to want to say but I’m so overwhelmed the words barely leave my lips. Her prayer was the same way and you still heard it, fire!
Eli’s sons were wildin but I can’t help but think about my own actions when I read about them. Their pops was the priest so they knew what was up, they weren’t ignorant to your ways and how you called your people to live. I proclaim that I’m a Christian and I’ve read your word and heard the reading and preaching of your word so like them I’m without excuse. Your judgement on them is frightening to be honest, my lustful actions warrant the same judgement. So when Eli says this:
25 If one person sins against another, God can intercede for him, but if a person sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him? ”
I get scared cause who on earth can intercede for me. BUT alas, Jesus can! I see why he needs to be my only hope. As I pasted that joint that Hebrews verse just smacked me. He’s interceding on my behalf to you Father, crazy!
Lord you know my actions and my sin and there’s nothing I can do to reverse what I’ve done. I know your ways and what breaks your heart. Lord I ask that you have mercy on me a sinner, someone who has dragged your grace through the mud for his own personal gratification. Forgive me father, I see why the younger son in the parable of The Prodigal Son would’ve been ok with living the rest of his days as a servant in his father’s home. Cause he knew being a servant in his father’s home is better than living as “free man” amidst pigs eating trash for the rest of his days. I pray and ask that you welcome me and show me the same grace and love the father of that parable showed his son. I don’t care for a fattened calf I just want You.
I want to remember that when reading and placing myself in the story, I first am the wicked transgressing brothers. Not Samuel, Eli, or Elkanah, those strong godly men of old. The first lesson is that God is the Lord of his ppl with a plan to execute, whether we see it, pray for it or know it right away. God is after my heart, that I would love and trust him. So in first recognizing the hearts of Hophni and Phineas examining motives and the sin which entangled them, I ask the Lord to help me see my heart and not act from fear or selfishness.
This all while seeing God love Hannah. Providing encouragement for her via Eli, and miraculously changing her world through a baby boy. It’s no coincident that God love and disgust with sin are parallel in these passages. His sovereignty is clear and yet sin and evil are layer square on the wicked brothers, who God is going to take away soon.
Lastly, I see a relationship with God that several ppl reveal in this passage. God is approachable and redeeming, loving and tender, strong and will not be defied – then and now.
In some sense, I am also like the nation of Israel. I am seeking God for protection and for providence.
I only pray that when that comes in, if somehow not in the way I want it, that I will not reject it, or be disappointed in it.
God is an everlasting God. God is a personal God. He seeks for stability in my life. He knows what is best for me. He is able to keep feeding me love and faith and compassion. Jesus lead me in the right direction that you care for me. Be there for me in darkest areas and brightest moments that I️ am thankful enough to experience through your presence. Amen
Day 1: Its kinda sweet how God answers this woman’s prayer, and really the prayer of Israel with another miracle birth. It’s interesting how they are hoping for someone to watch over and protect them because I feel like that’s what we do in our lives. We look for ways to be watched over and protected and that’s not always in the lord. I’m excited to learn more about these books and continue the walk with you fellas!
I find myself relating to the people of Israel who want a king they can see and touch. Prayer has always been difficult, and especially over the last several months, it has seemed so hard to go deep with God because my mind has been distracted and everything has seemed to go at such a fast pace. But I sincerely want to be able to slow down and meet with my God again and just love him first. Just keep him first and center in my life which is what he is entitled to.
God is awesome: merciful and kind. Thank you for you love, grace + mercy shown towards me in your dear son, Christ Jesus my Lord.
1 Samuel 1:10
“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.”
Bitterness of soul is hardship, it’s God pushing us towards him for answers, for solutions, for truth
1 Samuel 1:15
“… I am a woman who is deeply troubled ..I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.”
Response to God’s call
1 Samuel 1:23
“..Only May the Lord make good his word.”
God is the only one who can answer our prayers and God is the only one who can fulfill the promises he keeps in a way that can satisfy the soul.
Job 3:20 / 27:2
Post Comments (13)