Hannah’s Song – Part Five (1 Sam 3)

We’re  continuing in our series in the first three chapters of 1 Samuel. If you’re just joining us, it’s probably best to begin with the first post in the series, last Wednesday.

Today, we come to the outworking of Hannah’s song: where her little story and God’s big story intersect. It’s a famous one – a Sunday School favourite. That’s because the central human character is a child. But there’s something quite profound going on in the story.

1 Samuel 3:1 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

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Hannah’s Song – Part Four (1 Sam 2)

We’re  continuing in our series in the first three chapters of 1 Samuel. If you’re just joining us, it’s probably best to begin with the first post in the series, last Wednesday.

God the great reverser

As we saw yesterday, God is the great rescuer. Having been rescued, we become part of God’s rescue plan. But Hannah’s song also praises him as the great reverser. That is, those who are powerful but unfaithful will be brought low; those who are weak but faithful will be raised up to be used in God’s service:

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Hannah’s Song – Part Three (1 Sam 2)

We’re  continuing in our series in the first three chapters of 1 Samuel. If you’re just joining us, it’s probably best to begin with the first post in the series, last Wednesday.

God the great rescuer

As we saw last Thursday, Hannah’s song connects her story with God’s story: the story of God the great rescuer, and the great reverser. We’re going to look at these two themes now.

Firstly, God has rescued her from suffering and humiliation. And so she sings about the God who’s in the business of rescuing; rescuing on a much grander scale. She starts like this, about her own story with God:

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Hannah’s Song – Part Two (1 Sam 2)

Yesterday, we began a series in the first three chapters of 1 Samuel. We looked at Hannah’s story (read it now to catch up if you missed it) and noticed that God cares about more than just ‘the world’ in general. He cares about us as individuals. But, of course, there’s also the other side of the coin, which we’re focusing on today. God’s concern for the world.

The song of Hannah: God cares about the world

So what does Hannah do next in the story? Well, she fulfils her vow – as painful as it would have been. She brings Samuel as a young boy to the temple, to live there with Eli and be trained in God’s service.

1 Samuel 1:21-28 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”
23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

And when she does this, she sings a song about God. A song in response to all that God has done for her.

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Hannah’s Song – Part One (1 Sam 1)

We begin a new series today, in the first three chapters of 1 Samuel.

As humans, we have an inbuilt desire to connect our own, personal story to a much larger story. To see where it is that we fit. To understand how the narrative of my life finds its place amongst the life of my family, my community, and my world.

It’s why some people are so passionate about tracing their family tree. It’s why many children who are adopted seek out their birth parents. It’s why we bother learning history at school. We’re fuelled by a need to see in some way where our story fits into a much bigger story.

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Defending God’s honour – part 3 (1 Sam 17)

This is the final part in our three-day look at the David and Goliath story. We’ve seen how the battle was really about defending God’s honour. David was the only one zealous enough to want to defend it, and confident enough in God’s power to attempt it.

Today, we look at the final part of the story – only a few verses – to see how it fits into the bigger sweep of what God was doing.

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Defending God’s honour – part 2 (1 Sam 17)

Yesterday we began our look at the well-known story of David and Goliath. We saw that it was primarily a challenge to God’s honour and reputation. Yet David was the only one to really see it that way; the only one who was zealous for God’s honour.

17:26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Read 1 Sam 17:26-54, the next instalment of the story.

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Defending God’s honour – part 1 (1 Sam 17)

So far in 1 Samuel we’ve seen Israel ask for a king like the other nations had, so they could be like everyone else. So God granted their request, and gave them Saul. Indeed, he was the kind of king they asked for, being more concerned about what other people thought than what God commanded. So the kingdom would be taken from Saul and given to a different king – the kind of king God had in mind. In the intervening chapter (1 Sam 16), Samuel anoints David as king. Whereas Saul was the obvious candidate from a human perspective – tall, handsome, the eldest son – God’s choice was the least likely. David was from the smallest tribe, the smallest clan, the youngest in the family. And to top it all off, according to some readings he was a ranga! (For international readers: Aussie slang for a redhead. OK, so the word the KJV translates “ruddy” probably doesn’t mean “red-head”, but many ancients took it that way.)

This is the story of how David began his ascent to the throne, by acting in a very different way to Saul. Read 1 Sam 17:1-26, the first part of the well-known story of David and Goliath. Although it probably should be called the story of David and God’s honour.

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The rise and fall of King Saul – part 3 (1 Sam 9-15)

Today is the final part of a three-part look at the rise and fall of King Saul. If you’re joining us now, you’d be best starting with the first in the series. Yesterday, we saw Saul listening to the people rather than God, and suffering the consequences. Yet God was gracious, allowing him to remain king. He gives him a second chance.

But what does Saul do with it? We’ll skip over a bit of the story and move to chapter 15, where Saul gets another chance to prove himself with God. Will this time be different?

15:2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them.’

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