The stories of Hannah, Samuel, Saul and David compose the two-volume narrative that is designated in our English Bibles as 1-2 Samuel. Chronologically, the action is clustered around the year 1000 B.C. (about midway between the call of Abraham and the birth of Jesus Christ). The stories set down in these books were meant not only to tell us the history of how Israel moved from a tribal society to a monarchy, but to show us a spacious world in which God creates and saves and blesses.
As Eugene Peterson has said, "God is the primary subject of these stories. Subject, not object. These stories are not about God, they are stories that reveal a world, an existence, in which God speaks and acts, chooses and loves, judges and saves." The stories are all told from the point of view and with the assumptions of men and women to whom God had revealed himself and with whom God had made a covenant. God was not guesswork for them; nor was he an option. Moses was history. Sinai was a fact. Covenant was explicit. They didn't know everything, but they knew this -- “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6.4-5).
You might think it would be easy to live in a world of clear revelation and concise covenant. Not exactly. These stories present ambiguity and uncertainty, darkness and light, temptation and salvation. We see moments of deep difficulty, and brilliant faith. But more than anything, we see men and women learning to recognize God's presence and discern his will.
This summer at New City we're going to be walking through the beginnings of these stories -- the ones focusing on Hannah, Samuel and Saul. We'll leave David off for another time. We hope you'll join us. And by all means, bring a friend.
07/11 ??" (1) Hannah’s Prayer (1 Samuel 1:1 - 2:10)
07/18 ??" (2) Eli and his Sons (1 Samuel 2:12-36)
07/25 ??" (3) A Call in the Night (1 Sam 3)
08/01 ??" (4) Dagon Daily Falling (1 Sam 4-6)
08/08 ??" (5) Here I Raise My Ebenezer (1 Sam 7)
08/15 ??" (6) The Siren Voices (1 Sam 8)
08/22 ??" (7) The Rise of King Saul (1 Sam 9-11)
08/29 ??" (8) Fare Thee Well (1 Sam 12)
09/05 ??" (9) A King Undone (1 Sam 13-15)