Day 78 – Thru the Bible
Today we begin First Samuel and continue Psalms.
Here’s a video that walks us through 1 Samuel.
Video – Read Scripture: 1 Samuel
1 Samuel 1 – The book of Samuel opens with the story of a woman in pain. Such a beginning may seem curious in a book that will go on to recount perhaps the most significant political shift in Israel’s history, from tribal society to monarchy. But in God’s economy, seemingly small things are not to be discounted.
God delights in choosing “what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). How do we see this ultimately revealed in the life of Jesus? Hint: 2 Corinthians 13:4.
Hannah is weak in several respects. She is childless in a culture where bearing children was considered one of the chief roles of a wife. She‘s in a polygamous marriage, where her rival takes every opportunity to mock her. Her husband’s attempts to ease her pain are ineffectual. And even her own actions are misunderstood by those who should know better.
But Hannah is strong in faith. While she might have used her standing as favored wife to take revenge on her rival or simply to repress her pain, she chooses rather to take her sorrow to God. Hannah understood that no trial, however heavy, can “outweigh” God and His grace.
Of Hannah, the prophet Samuel will be born, and this Samuel will be used of God to bring to the throne a king, a man of God’s own choosing. Dramatically demonstrated in the life of Hannah is the fact that everyday faithfulness by ordinary people can, by God’s grace, change history forever.
Where do we see this same faithfulness in the New Testament where one is coming to announce the coming King? Hint: Luke 1:13-17.
Likewise, where do we see the faithfulness of another woman who would give birth to that King? Hint: Luke 1:38.
1 Samuel 2 – Hannah’s prayer sets the theological tone of Samuel and, indeed, anticipates in many respects the later prayer that Mary, the mother of Jesus, would one day pray (Luke 1:46–55). Both Hannah and Mary extol the Lord’s faithful care for those who place their trust in Him. At the end of her prayer, Hannah stresses that it is not by human strength that one prevails and that opposing God will inevitably lead to ruin.
Hannah’s story and her prayer reflect key truths of the gospel. First, God must be at the center! When he is, even life’s greatest battles can become the ground of blessing (Romans 8:28).
Second, it reflects God’s reversal of what the world holds dear and counts significant. God delights to show favor to the weak and the socially marginalized. His power interlocks with human weakness and resists flaunted human strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). The truth is God delights to accept and approve of those who trust in His Son by faith, rather than those who bring the strength of their own performance to the table.
Standing in marked contrast to righteous Hannah and her son are the wicked sons of Eli, who “did not know” (“did not recognize,” “had no regard for”) the Lord. Their lot is judgment.
God’s desire to be honored, or glorified, may on a shallow reading seem vainglorious. But that God should require his creatures to honor Him, is no more vainglorious than that the law of gravity requires to be acknowledged. Simply put, God has weight!
As your heart is gripped with the magnitude of what God has done for you through the gospel of grace, how are you compelled to gladly ascribe all honor and glory to God alone?
1 Samuel 3 – Though one is not to presume on the grace of God, God’s grace and patience toward His people are remarkable. Even in the dark days of Eli, God does not allow his “lamp” to go out completely. Eli must be rejected, but the Lord raises up Samuel, so that he might reveal himself “by the word of the Lord” (1 Sam. 3:21). Eli’s rejection from office is irrevocable, yet there are hints in the narrative that his spiritual life may have experienced some healing from the God who abundantly pardons (Isaiah 55:7).
Because God’s grace is persistent, even one whose life has been marked by failure can have hope for renewal.
How can we see this even for a thief on a cross? Hint: Luke 23:39–43.
As believers, our sin can never outstrip God’s grace (Romans 5:20-21).
Psalm 78 – The recurring theme of Scripture is God’s persistent redemption of an ungratefully forgetful people. When God’s people forget to be thankful for His sovereign grace, they become cowardly, discontented, embarrassed, and idolatrous.
If they persist in that ungrateful amnesia, it will spread to their children. Therefore, we as the covenant community listen to the Word so we can teach it.
Motivation for this eternally significant task must come from grace, not guilt. Biblical reflection on God’s powerful deliverance in the past, generous sustenance in the present, and gracious vindication in the future generates heartfelt, grateful action.
At the center of the passage is the central message of the Bible for those who will fail: “he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity” (v. 38, Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2). This is who God is. He delights to shower sinners with favor, if they will simply humble themselves enough to receive it.
When God took the tabernacle out of Shiloh and away from the tribe of Ephraim, he gave it to the tribe of Judah. From that tribe came David, who in spite of his failures shepherded the children of Israel with integrity and skill. And from David came Jesus the “faithful high priest,” who atoned for our sins in the temple of his body (Hebrews 2:17).
How does this Psalm, as it recounts people’s failure and God’s faithfulness, help you see this pattern in your own life and lean even more into Jesus?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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