The wayyyyyy too brief overview of 1 Samuel
If you love to read or are an English major in school, you’ll notice the first part of Samuel is a lot similar to a Shakespeare tragedy. All of Shakespeare’s stories usually have the same themes: ambition (rise), tragedy (fall), love, power struggles, and a self-inflicted death. All of those lovely concepts are right here in Samuel!
If schools were able to take the time to analyze this chapter versus Romeo and Juliet decade after decade, a lot of young adults would see just how riveting a story really can be. Besides, it’s no wonder that God, the greatest author of all time, would be able to create such an epic era of history.
Let’s dive into this historical beauty featuring a true king and one of the biggest haters of all time! Check out this brief overview:
Interlude to Chaos
After the brutal reign of Samson and the end of Judges, the Israelites are once again thrown into a state of chaos. They have no leader to guide them and they continue to be disobedient to the one true God.
After years of suffering, serving fake gods suddenly doesn’t seem so fun. The Israelites begin to cry out to God to hear His voice. And the faithful Lord listens. He sends them the prophet Samuel.
A Solution for the Moment
Samuel plays a huge part in turning the Israelites back toward God’s light. His presence alone makes people fall into dance and songs with the Holy Spirit. Still, God’s gift of Samuel isn’t enough to please the people in the long run. (The Israelites are hardly ever grateful.)
They demand a human king! Nevermind all the miracles God had been constantly performing before! The Israelites decide they can only feel safe with a physical leader above them. So God, through Samuel, listens again and gives them a king: Saul.
Bright Hope, Dark Future
At first, Saul is a total God-send (literally!) He’s tall and handsome and proves his might with the Lord in battle. But, like with all the beginnings of tragedy for great leaders in the Bible, Saul begins to disobey God’s law. And God is not hesitant to punish him. He forever leaves the presence of Saul. Plus, Samuel leaves him too making things worse. (This starts the super fast decline of Saul’s mental sanity.)
Out with the Old, In with the New
A saddened Samuel looks to God for a new king of Israel and finds one in a talented, shepherd boy named David. You might have heard of his legendary battle against Goliath, a huge Philistine warrior who was quickly bested by him. The people of Israel begin to fall head over heels for David which fuels King Saul with jealousy.
So much jealousy in fact, that he constantly tries to kill David to keep him from stealing his kingdom. In the end, David has the opportunity to kill Saul but doesn’t since he’s such a stand up guy in the Lord.
Saul reflects on how corrupt he is and how he has lost God, Samuel (who dies of old age), and his son-in-law, the warrior David. He ultimately kills himself with a sword. The end of an era under an insane, hater king is finally over.
That completes a short intro to the tragedy of 1 Samuel. If you’re looking for more spicy gossip on this chapter, visit Overview Bible to learn more.
Now let’s jump into how to relate this book relates to our everyday lives as young adults in the 21st century!
Big Takeaway #1 – Don’t hide from your destiny.
1 Samuel 10:21-22 – “… Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”
Samuel, full of excitement to announce the new king the Lord has appointed the Israelites, gathers all the people together at a place called Mizpah. He introduces each tribe (12 altogether) at the ceremony and leaves the tribe of Benjamin for last.
The time has finally come to announce the new king… A man from Benjamin named Saul! The people search around eagerly awaiting to see him. But where is he? Shyly hiding away behind baggage!
The big takeaway for us young adults from 1 Samuel 10:21-22
When God calls you out to begin a new destiny, it’s okay to be scared at first. God’s calling for us is usually larger than we can ever hope to expect. Fear of the unknown is a normal human reaction. But with God, we don’t have to fall prey to our normal human tendencies. We can overcome the world since He already has.
Having faith in that, we can feel secure and know we never need to hide from our callings.
God always has a way of finding you and knows what He puts in your heart. Follow that calling and that voice without hiding or running from it. You’ll end up living a greater, more fulfilling life because of it.
Big Takeaway #2 – Go above and beyond.
1 Samuel 18:25-27 – “Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistines foreskins… So before the allotted time elapsed, David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins.”
Saul sets a pretty weird price to be met for anyone wishing for his daughter’s hand in marriage here. (Involving some gruesome stuff.) Daniel delivers even better with twice as much as the original dowry. King Saul has no other choice but to let his daughter marry David.
The big takeaway for us young adults from 1 Samuel 18:25-28
Okay, this is obviously just a funny, gross example. But what matters here is that no matter what God or Saul asked of David, he made it his duty to go above and beyond his calling. These verses show us glimpses into David’s true heart and faith as a person of God. And how the Lord never ceased to continue to being with him.
The same remains with us today as Christians. We don’t have to be content with doing the bare minimum in our walks with God. We are free and encouraged to go above and beyond knowing who we have on our side.
Big Takeaway #3 – Strength in numbers.
1 Samuel 18:28-29 – “When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him…”
1 Samuel 20:42 – “Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have a sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord.”
The first verse explains the slow rise of king Saul’s jealousy towards David. The presence of God was a 100% strong and present around David. On the other hand, it was also clear that God’s presence was 100% gone from Saul.
The second is referring to the bromance story between prince Jonathon (Saul’s son) and David. Jonathon is saying his final goodbyes to David before he is forced to flee, since Saul annoyingly keeps trying to kill him.
The big takeaways for us young adults from 1 Samuel 18:28-29 & 1 Samuel 20:42
Because David was kind, loving, and caring he became the strongest man in Israel. Not off of his own strength, but because so many loved and revered him. Including the Lord who saw him as second after His own heart. David had strength in numbers.
Just like David, we become stronger having more people around us. Leading with our true selves and caring about those around us not only shows God’s obedience (by loving by His people) it strengthens our callings through teams of supporters and friendships. Accomplishing something alone is great, but humbling yourself to understanding you need others to help you through life is even more amazing.
Up Next – 2 Samuel
End of Act 1! The book of Samuel is far from finished. Check out the second half of the book, 2 Samuel, here!