Written by Paul J. Bucknell on June, 09, 2020
1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 The Birth of Great Things
1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 The Birth of Great Things (Samuel’s birth)
Although Israel did not cry out as in Judges, God used the existing sincere prayers to bring His extreme grace to His people. Why aren’t people crying out to God for our society and church but only seeking their desires? Hannah showed great maturity when she observed God’s higher purposes during her personal crisis later dedicated Samuel to God.
We would expect the nation to cry out to God when the pain from their sin increased, but it appears to be faint or missing–even in a country known for God. The sin, like hidden cancer, infected its priesthood. In many cases, what we discover about Israel is happening to our countries. The country became bankrupt, morally, and fiscally. Ridiculous discussions and policies center on issues that even five-year-olds could have been settled. They have become foolish as they no longer seek God and His given truth.
“(For the choir director. A Psalm of David.) The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good” (Ps 14:1).
“For a fool speaks nonsense, And his heart inclines toward wickedness” (Isa 32:6).
1 Samuel teaches us is that God’s patience is extensive. Even though the hardened get recalcitrant, God is not willing for any to perish. And so, a whole long book, 1 & 2 Samuel takes form. This book is not just another story recording the times, but a careful presentation how God works in desperate times—when God’s people have lost their true identity. This is not just a short term incident which opens our eyes to God’s particular works in that era, but a longterm plan to bring a thorough change to God’s people. The new Jewish nation that started so powerfully through the great Exodus has now settled into godless decay. The great miracles seen when occupying the land along with the establishment of the priesthood with the institution of the Levites and division of the land among the twelve tribes have long lost their shaping influence.
This deadening syndrome cases about us too. Though we have inherited God’s words and works, yet a tragic forgetfulness–dumbness to God’s purposes, has blinded us. Though God had started those early churches, they are best described as big museums now. To understand the Book of 1 Samuel or Christianity, as it is seen around the world, one must realize that every vestige of God’s people will be tested with compromise and corruption.
This simple introduction of 1 Samuel is not unlike what we see today with couples who cannot have children, no matter how hard they have tried. Something much more is happening behind the scenes. Look deeper and longer. God is still at work even when His people no longer seek Him. God embeds a ray of hope through the tears of a broken woman.
A Few Questions
A few questions arise: Why has God taken so long? Why do God’s people go into such moral collapse? Is this the best God can do?
God’s questions trump ours: Why do God’s people cry out so rarely? Should not God’s people obey the Lord? God’s best is seen in His great redemptive program.
What does it take to get a drop of pure maple syrup? We often take for granted that which we treasure the most. I remember my Mom having me put nails and buckets in the maple trees around our property to get some syrup. So we gathered together some buckets of syrup, but in the end, when the water was evaporated away by steam, we ended up with precious little. Two experts said it took about 50 gallons of syrup for every 1 gallon of syrup. The point is that God will do great work only through His people, but what if His people don’t care about His work? What if they are too involved in their daily affairs? The Lord has to burn off a lot of distraction through difficult circumstances to get His people to focus on His work and find that seed of faith to respond to. Hannah was one such person.
An Outline 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11
Israel, though oppressed and distressed, did not cry out as in Judges. God, however, uses what sincere prayers are present to accomplish His greater purposes.
Why aren’t people crying out now to God for spiritual reform, rather than only seeking their own desires? Hannah showed great maturity when observing God’s greater purposes through her most stressful situation when she later dedicated Samuel to God.
Dark Times: then and now; Started well (Exodus) but ended up distant from God
- A Dark Scene (1 Sam 1:1-5)
The more knowledge, the faster we stray
Through history, God has intervened (as time allows)
2. A Difficult Crisis (1 Sam 1:6-8)
A personal crisis, typical but always so difficult
Rejected, alone, God seems far off, others spite, can’t be comforted (8)
3. A Desperate Cry (1 Sam 1:9-18)
Others were eating, but she went to cry at the temple. Only God could help.
Hannah made a vow. (Nazarene vow)
She regained faith in her status as God’s child and came in that faith
Illustration of maple syrup (50:1); difficult to purify, focus us producing faith
Ended up with peace and faith
4. A Demanding Surrender (1 Sam 1:19-28)
She actually got a son (Lord was holding off)
Samuel means “God heard”
She had peace of heart, but it took time to develop her vow; weaned, then…
Had to work it out with her husband (another law)
1 Samuel 1:27-28 A mistake?
From our general vantage point, we can see that to dedicate her holy child to a reprobate priest seemed to be the worst thing possible to do. It was like sending Daniel to be part of the Babylon educational system. I doubt Hannah was familiar with the corruption in the priesthood, though it would be made known later. She could trust God to work things amid the moral corruption. He worked out things amazingly. Their faith went deeper than the circumstances. When we allow fears and circumstances to hold back our faith, then they drive us. The faith, along with our believing prayers—even of a precious few, becomes all-important.
5. A Delighting Faith (1 Sam 2:1-11)
When did chapter 2 come? With the birth or with the dedication or the surrender?
The passage implies that it was at Israel’s defeat.
God was doing something greater, and Hannah could trust God with it.
We can trust the Sovereign Father with the worst of times.
God lives out His purposes in our lives. In this way, none of our lives are meaningless. Of course, if we don’t believe this, then we will miss the purposes of our lives. If we believe it, then we will ready ourselves for God’s purposes.
In our small belief, the Almighty can carry out His grand purposes. We need to see our lives in light of God’s greater redemptive scheme to understand and interpret our lives.