In “preaching study” posts, I share study & reflection as I prepare the Sunday message . I welcome interaction in this process, so feel free to share your thoughts. All Scripture quotes are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
This coming Sunday, February 4, I’ll continue preaching about OT characters. This week is Samuel. I intend to look at his life as a whole, but we will use the classic story of his calling in 1 Samuel 3:1-10 as the text we read. You can read it here.
Samuel is sort of a bridge person between the days of chaos in the period of the Judges and the days of glory under David. Eli is important, yes, but Samuel is the more significant. Samuel is something of a miracle child and is made an offering to God by his mother before he had any say in the matter. He then is called to prophesy against the house of his mentor Eli. Samuel leads Israel as a judge in the days prior to a centralized government with a king, then faces the rejection of the people, though God does reassure him that it is he, God, that the people are rejecting and not Samuel. Samuel anoints Saul, and watches him fail, then anoints his successor David. All in all, quite a career. More to come, but I welcome any thoughts even at this early stage about the life of Samuel. One other rather obvious striking thing about Samuel is that the stories that encompass the beginning of the kingdom of Israel are named for him as the period’s most prominent prophet rather than for David, the period’s most prominent king and the “man after God’s own heart.” Remarkable that as great and influential as David was, and as revered as he is by the tradition, the place of privilege in naming the collection of stories goes to the prophet and not the king.