Summary: God works through our troubles and our prayers.
God’s fingerprints can be detected all through history.
• At times His work is dramatically obvious - like parting the Red Sea, tearing down the walls of Jericho - but other times, it’s not noticeable to our senses.
• Our lack of perception, however, does not mean God is not working. And it does not hinder His activities.
God keeps working whether we’re aware or not. But blessings come to those who are spiritual attuned to what God is doing.
• We have peace and hope in our hearts, knowing that God is at work. Our faith grows because we discern His activity in our lives.
• Can you see God at work today? Can you learn to see the God who is at work in your life today?
Let’s see God at work, by looking back at the history of Israel, in 1 Samuel.
We would not appreciate 1 Samuel so much, if we had not known the backdrop painted for us in the book of Judges.
• Israel had fallen apart for over 300 years, after the death of Joshua.
• She would have continued in that wrong direction, had not God raised a prophet to turn things around.
You see, God has not given up on Israel. It was Israel who had given up on God.
• God, by His sovereign grace, would act to draw His people back again. His love for His people has not changed.
• God did that for Israel and God is doing that today. He has not given up on Israel, neither would He give up on us.
• We are doom only because we give up on God, and never the other way around.
God would draw His people back to Himself in 1 Samuel.
• First, they would get a king, because of their stubbornness. They insisted on it and they got their own king – the people’s king – King Saul.
• He is not God’s kind of king. He did nothing to influence the people back to God. And we see God stepping in to replace him with His king – King David - the God’s kind of king, “a man after His own heart,” the Lord says.
1 Samuel tells of God’s sovereign act of drawing His people back.
• Samuel played an influential role in this. That is why the Jewish scribes used his name for this book. He is not the author of this book, but played an important role in their history.
• Samuel died in 1 Samuel 25. 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book, divided later by the Greeks.
• The author is unknown, but he must be someone who survives King David because the book covers all the way to the time of David.
So God is going to use this man SAMUEL to turn the tides around for Israel.
• Let’s look at 1 Samuel 1. Where is he? Yet to be born. That’s where we are going to start.
• He was not even in the mother’s womb because his mother was barren.
[Read 1 Samuel 1:3-20]
God has His plan. He has a plan even before we know it. He has a plan even before we are born.
• Eph 1:4 “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”
• He said to Jeremiah - Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
God can create an answer where there is none. God raises Judges, He raises prophets, and He raises Jesus, to do His work and accomplish His will.
• He can make a way in the desert and streams in the wastelands (Isaiah 43:19).
• Don Moen sings rightly, “God can make a way where there seems to be no way.”
1. GOD WORKS THROUGH OUR TROUBLES
Who says godly men and women will have no trouble in life?
Who says godly people will not suffer?
Samuel was born into a family torn apart by rivalry. His father had two wives.
• His mother Hannah was barren for many years and was despised at home (especially so in the Jewish culture).
• She spent most of her days in sorrow, despite her husband’s special treatment (1:5) and words of comfort (1:8).
But she is a worshipper of God. Year after year, she would go to the Lord’s Temple at Shiloh with the family and spend extended time praying.
• 1:10 “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.”
• Look at the Scriptures carefully, no hero of faith is immune from troubles.
Just take a look the women who were struggling to have a child – Sarah (Gen 16-17), Rebekah was barren until Isaac prayed for her (Gen 25:21), Rachel, Jacob’s wife (Gen 30:22). In the NT we have Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother (Luke 1:7). She and her husband Zechariah were both well along in years.