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