Who’s in charge in life’s darkest times? Who determines what comes next? Who deserves your devotion?
The story of 1 Samuel 1-8 declares that God sovereignly writes our life stories, even in history’s lowest moments. After Joshua died, God was rarely heard from for hundreds of years; God’s people quit talking to Him, listening for His words or reflecting on the Scriptures - they did what they deemed was right. But the sovereignty of God is at work, even in the failure of people to obey.
In the darkness, God shines His light brightly for His glory and the good of Israel. He will raise the first prophet since Moses and call him by name, “Samuel! Samuel!” to faithfully mediate between God and His people.
Studying these chapters will challenge our heart’s devotion: Who do you serve and worship – God or the surrounding world? Samuel’s life begins with his mother Hannah’s servant heart. When darkest despair sets in against hope, Hannah turns to God as the solution. She prays boldly, candidly, and pours out her heart in earnest anguish; when God answers her prayers, she exalts His name and character. God knows all things and protects His own - He reveals His goodness to the heart of faith.
1 Samuel 1-8 answers, how am I to shine for Christ, worship, and follow Him in an increasingly self-centered world? While he lives in the house of Eli the priest, we’ll watch Samuel grow in faith and favor as those around him increase in darkness - dishonoring God and their God-given roles. When tables turn by the power of prophecy and judgment, God paints His promise of our ultimate high priest Jesus Christ. Samuel emerges as faithful prophet and priest, uncorrupted by the religious establishment of his day.
1 Samuel 1-8 teaches us we are unfaithful, but God is eternally faithful. God reveals His righteous judgment and merciful power by preserving the Ark of the Covenant for Israel’s possession amidst their enemies. Samuel teaches the people then and now: God delivers those who repent, so they may walk humbly before Him. We would be completely and otherwise lost without His grace and mercy. Fearsome God fights for those He calls His own, who walk after Him with hearts of devotion.
When Samuel’s sons fail to follow in his ways, and Samuel can no longer fulfill his duties, Israel demands an earthly king to rule them like all the other nations. God would allow Israel to find their first king, but only God gives us the perfect King, His Son, Jesus Christ.
Our privilege is to worship the God whose plans are much bigger and eternally better than our desires. When your plans fail or hopes crumble, or as the world grows dark around you, will you pray to God and trust that He gives you what you truly need? Will you give your devotion to the One who is worthy?
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