66 in 52 Challenge, Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Reflections on 1 Samuel

At the end of this week in 1 Samuel it was actually something in the most widely known story of this book that stood out to me and is where I’m centering my heart. Despite reading and hearing the story of David and Goliath more times than I can count in my life, God still brought new application for my life from these timeless truths. This time it came in reading a different version than I’m used to reading. In the CEV translation a contrast between Saul and David arose.

Later on in the book we see David and Saul as enemies but none of that has come to the surface back in chapter 17. As David prepares to fight Goliath with Saul’s permission the CEV translation captures a subtle but perhaps huge difference about each man’s focus heading into battle and dependence on the Lord.

In verse 36 Saul tells David: “… I hope the Lord will help you.”

While a few verses later as David stands face-to-face with Goliath he declares: “Today, the Lord will help me!”

Saul was hopeful.

David was convinced.

As I went back and looked at other translations and even the original language unfortunately I can’t point with clarity that different words were used, however the context and the story itself seem to support this difference in their attitudes.

  • Saul gets all worried about dressing David up in armor to protect him. David takes it off and trusts what he knows: “The battle is the Lord’s”
  • Saul is the King, the mighty warrior leading an entire army who is afraid of the giant. They’ve heard the taunts of Goliath day after day and have only let fear increase. David, the shepherd boy, too young to be in the army, hears the taunts once and is determined to risk his life to quiet the insults.
  • Saul is focused on victory for human gain. David only cares about honoring God’s name.

So whether the original language shows a difference in these two men’s words or not, I think we can clearly see behind the words their hearts were indeed in different places. I wonder if their attitude back even at this point had anything to do with the trajectory of each of their lives. On the surface they were similar. Both were king. Both led battles. Both sinned and walked away from God… big time. Yet how they recovered from those defeats was drastically different.

David was humbled when called out. Saul got defensive.

David repented. Saul acted out.

David is remembered as “a man after God’s own heart”. Saul died falling on his own sword after being wounded in a battle with the Philistines, the same group of people David declared victory over back in chapter 17.

I can’t help but wonder if many of these difference can be traced back to that one key difference… Saul HOPED God would come through, David KNEW he would.

It brings me to a reflection of my own heart. Am I fearlessly confident in my amazing, all-powerful, victorious God or simply optimistically hopeful? Am I convinced or wavering? Am I centered on the things of this world or the name and glory of Jesus? It could make all the difference.

66 in 52 Challenge

1 Samuel – Week 9 {66 in 52 Challenge}

This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I plan to focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!


Week 9 - 1 Samuel

1 Samuel in One Sentence:

“Human leaders rise and fall, but God is consistently good.” – From NewSpring Church’s Article: “Everything You Need to Know about 1 Samuel”

The Big Picture of 1 Samuel:

This book begins with the story surrounding Samuel’s birth. After years of barrenness, Samuel’s mother Hannah gives birth and dedicates Samuel to serve in the temple. By chapter three Samuel is raised up as a prophet among the Israelites. Continuing through the book we see Samuel doing his best to lead the people. When they demand a king, he warns them it may not be the best option, but they are relentless and the Lord leads Samuel to anoint the first King of Israel, Saul. We see Saul’s leadership and ultimately David (Boaz and Ruth’s great-grandson) is anointed as the king to follow Saul. David’s kingship doesn’t begin immediately though. Before he takes the throne (in 2 Samuel), we hear accounts of David’s life including the infamous story of David and Goliath, along with years running from Saul who was trying to take his life.

1 Samuel Events Mentioned in the Psalms:

Many of the events narrated in 1 and 2 Samuel are also mentioned in various Psalms (songs). You might consider reading some of these Psalms along side the events in Samuel. (List found at esv.org)

  • 1 Samuel 19:11 – David’s house surrounded – Psalm 59
  • 1 Samuel 21:10-11 – David seized by Achish – Psalm 56
  • 1 Samuel 21:12-22:1 -David escapes from Achish/Abimelech – Psalm 34
  • 1 Samuel 22:1, 24:3 – David in a cave – Psalm 57, 142
  • 1 Samuel 22:9-19 – Doeg the Edomite – Psalm 52
  • 1 Samuel 23:14-15 – Desert of Judah – Psalm 63
  • 1 Samuel 23:19 – David betrayed by Ziphites – Psalm 54

A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:

Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.

  • “But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
    REFLECTION: What great things has God done for you? How do those things lead you toward wanting to serve Him faithfully?
  • “…But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6b
    REFLECTION: What does it look like for you to find your strength in God?
  • “Do not look his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
    REFLECTION: What does God see as he looks at your heart today? Is that the same as what the world sees on the outside or do you find yourself wearing a mask? Where are you looking at the outward appearance of others instead of the heart?
  • “Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” 1 Samuel 7:12
    REFLECTION: What kind of “Ebenezer” stone do you need to place where you are right now? What are some ways you’ve seen God as a “stone of help” in your life thus far?

1 Samuel in God’s Big Story and My Story:

(Adapted from NewSpring Church’s Article: “Everything You Need to Know about 1 Samuel”)

  • God has plans that we can’t understand and often accomplishes them in ways that don’t make sense to us.
  • The people wanted a King, despite God knowing it wasn’t best, God gave them what they wanted. Sometimes God gives us what we want even when it’s not best for us.
  • God is our ultimate King. No matter what authorities we have on earth, God’s reign is forever!
  • The choices we make in life both impact and reflect the character of our soul.

Some Other Resources:

The Challenge:

So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!