An Introduction to 1 Samuel

 

Let's be honest here... I have never before read this book. When I decided to give this month-long writing challenge a try, I googled "book of the Bible with 31 chapters" and there it was. Oddly enough (or, if you've come to know The Lord, not oddly at all) I had just gone over this first chapter in a recent women's event. I had only read the first chapter and was intrigued... so I did a little research.

Turns out that this is one epic book of the Bible. The Old Testament is always a little rough for me to follow since Jesus and his salvation haven't appeared on the scene yet. I ache for God's people – they make so many mistakes, and it's not always fun to remember you're right there with them. But here, in 1 Samuel, we get to see how God takes what the people want – something he doesn't see as best for them – and uses it to teach a lesson and grow new fruit full of blessings. We get to see God's providence in action. And man, I'm always down to see more of that. In the last three years of my life, God has provided me with a college degree, four jobs, a mom cancer-free (!), a husband, two apartments, a sassy cat, a growing spiritual life, a church, a small group, new friends, healed old friendships, healed family relationships, I could go on and on. Yet I still find reasons not to trust His goodness. Someone recently told me "The Lord doesn't give his child a snake when they ask for bread." Well, good. I don't like snakes. Jumping in...

Let's set the stage. The book of 1 Samuel puts us in Israel, the land that the Hebrews invaded and settled in during the book of Joshua. Many other tribes continued to live in the land as well, causing lots of trouble for the Israelites and encouraging them to stray from their faith. The people of God have been living in a state of turmoil under the authority of several judges, and it's in this book that they begin to ask for God to provide them a king (insert God's eye roll here). We will read that God gives His people what they ask for and that it will grow, challenge, and ultimately shape their faith. But first, we have to start with a single character... and her name is Hannah.