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Weekly Prompts for Thinking Through Scripture Covering 1 Samuel 1 – 4:11

Day 1

Read introductions to 1 Samuel

Read 1 Samuel 1: 1-11

  • V. 5 – in the story of salvation, here is another instance of a woman barren and then… What others do you recall? Let these very occasional miracles serve as reminders that salvation is a work of God (alone). And also apply it to your situation: God can make a way forward in seemingly impossible circumstances. Calm down and focus on trusting Him. Which largely means: Don’t let your spiritual energy dribble out in anxiety, but pour it out in prayer.

  • V. 10 – As the psalms show us over and over: our prayers need not be scrubbed of disappointment and frustration before being offered to the Lord. Bitter tears in the Lord’s presence aren’t wasted.

  • V. 11 – Hannah’s prayer is to a big God: Jehovah of Armies. As one commentator says: She addresses Yahweh of hosts, cosmic ruler, sovereign of every and all power, and assumes that the broken heart of a relatively obscure woman in the hill country of Ephraim matters to him. (Believer use some of their best logic in prayer.). {Dale Ralph Davis}

  • V. 11 – Making a vow to the Lord isn’t recommended. However, there is ample biblical precedent for reasoning with the Lord about why exactly he should respond to your request. And if that kind of well-argued wrestling in prayer very occasionally involves a vow, well, that’s not the worst thing in the world. Just make sure it’s a vow you’re able to make good on, and then make sure you follow through.

Day 2

Read 1 Samuel 1: 12 - 28

  • V. 13 – Does this verse imply that non-vocal prayer was a rarity at the time? One thing for sure: Hannah here is a fine example of Psalm 62:8: Trust in him at all times, O people/ pour out your heart before him/ God is a refuge for us. Scripted and planned out prayers are good. But then so are the unstudied cries to God from the overwhelmed heart. Just get to praying!

  • V. 14 – Not the only misdiagnosis of drunkenness in the Bible. What others can you think of? Here’s a takeaway: the Spirit’s effect can be confused with being “two sheets to the wind.” Conclusion: The Spirit gives rise to ardor, not lethargy.

  • V. 23 – At first blush, Elkanah appears a little weak here. Should not husbands and fathers lead their families, which includes spiritual direction; and doesn’t at least some of that involve leading the entire family into worship? But upon second thought, Elkanah is admirable in that he’s sensitive to his wife’s perspective and open to God doing a unique thing that he wasn’t privy to before. Men, there’s nothing wrong with yielding to a good idea that didn’t originate with you, right? Right?

  • V. 24 – Not only did she fulfill her vow, but…. It is the grace of God that moves the people of God to give with an “overflow of generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8: 1,2)

Day 3

Read 1 Samuel 2: 1-10

  • VV. 1-10 – This prayer reminds you of a New Testament one, yes? WHICH ONE?

  • VV. 1-10 – Hannah has [been given] the insight to see that Samuel’s birth means something more than itself, more than what’s obvious on the surface. With this spiritual perception, Hannah is far removed from the modern tendency of considering children materially: as either burdens or ornamentation to show off. That we would follow Hannah in viewing our children in reference to God and His agenda! The entering into the world of another image-bearer is not even close to being ultimately about us. (Although we’ll enjoy them too!)

  • VV. 1-10 – According to Hannah, the specific meaning of Samuel’s birth and its circumstance is that God is both a dismantler AND also an architect of positive reversals. Little Samuel will become both an emblem and an epicenter of God taking down wicked powers and raising up the faithful. This truth about God is to be mulled over, and we should recall other examples (biblical and otherwise) of such “God renovations” And for our own part, this dismantling/renovating tendency of God suggests that we might focus first on being honest and humble – that is, faithful –before we start thinking on how to be successful.

Day 4

Read 1 Samuel 2: 11 - 21

  • V. 13 – Often in biblical narrative the first thing said about someone is a key to their overall character. The first thing we learn about Eli’s sons has to do with their unrighteous handling of food. They’re gluttons. And if they lack self- control in this one area…

  • V. 17 – Their gluttony took them into the greater sin of “treating the offering of the Lord with contempt.” Probably sins of the flesh aren’t as bad as sins of the spirit, but the lesser evil often gives birth to the greater.

  • V. 18 – “A boy clothed with a linen ephod.” In a way, how insignificant Samuel seemed. And yet… You don’t need hardly anything at all to minister before the Lord! AMEN. AMEN. So get started with what you have!

  • V. 19 – Hannah’s ongoing support of her son’s ministry. Those small, tender, practical gestures of a mother are noteworthy. The historian of Israel thought the fashioning of the “little robe” was important enough to be included in the annals of the nation. Moms, you’re the best! Thank you.

Day 5

Read 1 Samuel 2: 22 -36

  • V. 22 – Sins of the flesh don’t normally fly solo. Gluttony, sloth, lust – old acquaintances.

  • V. 25 –

You can run on for a long time

Run on for a long time

Run on for a long time

Sooner or later God'll cut you down

Sooner or later God'll cut you down

-Johnny Cash

  • V. 25 – “For it was the will of the LORD…” ACHTUNG: MYSTERY. I can’t even pretend to understand how all this works.

  • V. 27ff – Before the judgment, the prophetic warning. Even though, from the outside, the judgment might seem to come without notice, normally the violator has been hearing the klaxons ringing for some time.

  • V. 27 – To whom specifically did God reveal himself while Israel was in Egypt?

  • V. 29 – So the gluttony of Eli’s sons was learned from their father. Fathers!

  • V. 36 – From cutting in line to get the best meat (v.14)  to begging for bread. Your sin eventually “finds you out.”

Day 6

Read 1 Samuel 3

That the “word of the LORD was rare in those days” means that God was simply not communicating much with His people. There’s an analogous situation today: though we have the complete word of God written down there is less and less exposure to it…even within the Church. Oh, that God would call prophets equipped with his word.

  • V. 5 - “Ran to Eli” – don’t miss these little tells of vigor. Samuel has the same energetic spirit of his mother.

  • V. 8 – Although Eli has already been targeted for judgment [see previous chapter], he still has the sensitivity to pick up on God’s working in Samuel. Lesson: even deeply flawed people may have a unique discernment.

  • V. 13 – “He did not restrain them” – Fathers!

  • V. 17 – A faithful prophet doesn’t have to like his message. Think about that.

  • V. 19 – “Let none of his words fall to the ground” – the ability to effectively communicate is a gift of God. You should ask for that gift, because it’s a good ‘un.

Day 7

Read 1 Samuel 4: 1-11

  • V. 3 – What do you think of the elders of Israel question? Did you notice how it’s rendered? God’s people don’t perceive defeat in the same way as others.

  • VV. 3b, 4 – There is this sense, unfounded in Scripture, that the arrival of the ark of the covenant would bring good fortune. Superstition and totemism – all too human. Did your lucky shirt help your team win last night?... didn’t think so.

  • V. 8 – Almost 400 years after the Exodus, the memory of it still intimidates.

  • VV. 1-11 – Did adding the ark of the covenant into the mix make the outcome better? Or actually worse? Lay aside your superstitions, Christian!

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