1 Samuel 1 - God Hears the Humble of Heart (Pew Bible 225)
Samuel is considered one of the Historical Books of the Old Testament and would be under the Prophets category in the standard three-fold division of the Old Testament. Samuel is not separated into two books in the traditional grouping of the Old Testament. 1 Samuel covers the time from around 1100 BC to 1010 BC.
We do not know the human author, but the book is named after the main character Samuel. Samuel is the last of the judges of Israel. The judges of Israel were the leaders of Israel that God used to rule, lead, and deliver His people. Israel’s True King, God, exercised his reign through the Judges who ended up being like a king to the people. But, they were not kings because God was Israel’s King. As judges, they were only leading under the authority of God and His Word. They were to rule and judge the people in light of what the King had determined. Some of the judges you would have heard of would be Gideon, Samson, Shamgar and Deborah.
God’s people wanted to be ruled by a human king. It is not wrong for people to desire leadership, but it is wrong for people to trust in humans more than God.
Judges 8:22–23 (ESV)
1 Samuel 8:1–9 (ESV)
1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
Judges 8:22–23 (ESV): 22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.”
In 1 Samuel we see God’s people are at it again.
1 Samuel 8:1–9 (ESV): 8 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
God provided leadership for His people, they wanted to be like the nations around them. The opposite of what they were to be.
This really is a lot about what the book is about and how it is helpful for us.
Who was to be Israel’s King?
Who is to be our King?
Have we rejected our God to look like the world?
Do we put our hope in the “kings” of this world to save us?
Here is a little more on Samuel and the setting of the book.
Samuel is a judge, priest, and prophet of God. He comes from the line of the tribe of Levi. The book covers the time at the end of the judges of Israel to the end of Saul’s life. It seems that the book was written after the time of these events and was written as way to explain to Israel why they are in hard times and possibly even in exile. The book shows how Israel’s leaders had failed and their nation had become like the nations around them. Although there are themes of rising up to success and faithfulness throughout the book, there are more themes of God’s people falling. In the midst of all the rising and falling, we will see that God has heard all that has taken place and will act accordingly. Samuel’s name is debated among scholars, but some good interpretations are, “God’s name”, “Heard of God”, and “God has heard.” The book will show God’s continued faithfulness, even when His people are faithless. Moreover, the book will give us human examples of what it means to listen to God and follow Him in faithfulness. Lastly, the book will point us to the True King of Israel that was to come from David’s line centuries later and rule God’s people as they should be ruled: the God-Man, King Jesus.
• Often God begins with nothing to make great things.
• Yahweh (Sovereign God over all) is the One who has closed her womb. She still turned to Him.
• Hannah was misunderstood and reviled, but God remembered her (acted on her behalf).
• A heavy spirit means we should cast our cares on God. These trials drive us to Him.
• She went away settled after her prayer. We can too, if we go to God in prayer.
• We need to be focused on our children being “made over to Yahweh.”