Day 1

The Birth of Samuel

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan

1 Samuel 1:1-2:36, Jeremiah 7:12-14, Luke 1:46-55

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:36, Jeremiah 7:12-14, Luke 1:46-55

I listen to film soundtracks while I work because they somehow help me feel connected to the world of words where I spend my days. The sweeping scores are fuel for my fingers on the keyboard, providing a level of focus and intensity I’m not sure I could achieve in silence.

In the same way that music brings words to life on my computer screen, the books of 1 & 2 Samuel lend new vibrancy to my reading of Scripture. These ancient words were breathed out by God and remain “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). Even so, I forget. I can read the words yet fail to see the story.

This is the story of an eternal King and His eternal kingdom. The epic battles and legendary tales found in 1 & 2 Samuel wake me up to a reality that’s as true for me as it was for David: our God reigns.

The books of 1 & 2 Samuel tell the stories of Samuel, Saul, and David—three broken heroes used by God to establish a kingdom for His people. Samuel was the revered last judge, Saul the impressive first king of Israel, and David the flawed poet-warrior. But beyond the page-turning adventure of kings and battles and political gamesmanship, these books tell the story of a greater King. The life of David, his defeat of Goliath, and the epic victories of his mighty men all point to the coming of Christ—the true and forever-reigning King.

And where does it all begin? With the desperate prayers of a heartbroken woman named Hannah.

“Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears. Making a vow, she pleaded, ‘Lord of Armies, if you will take notice of your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…’” (1 Samuel 1:10-11).

I read Hannah’s story and I see myself—not because our struggle is the same, but because our hearts are. Like Hannah, I long for what this imperfect life on earth does not give. Like Hannah, I want to be known and remembered by my God. And while all my prayers to Him are not answered with a “yes,” they are heard and I am known. I am remembered. Just like Hannah.

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn is lifted up by the Lord.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation” (1 Samuel 2:1).

First Samuel begins with a beautiful picture of a heart bowed in earnest before the Lord of all creation, asking for what only He can give. And while all the stories in this study will not be quite so tender, they all point to the same reality. The Lord of Hannah—and Samuel, and Saul, and David, and Israel—is the Lord of you and me. He reigns throughout all generations.

I pray our five weeks in 1 & 2 Samuel bring this truth to life for us as we read, ushering us into the knowledge of the truer kingdom and truest King. In Jesus, God has given us the only King who can satisfy our desire for protection, provision, and peace—a King whose throne cannot be defeated.

Our King and His kingdom are forever. Thanks be to God.


Post Comments (142)

142 thoughts on "The Birth of Samuel"

  1. Joyce says:

    My first thought was, “Whoa! Two whole chapters?! That’s a lot!”

    The last year of my life has been hectic. My husband and I abruptly moved from DE to SC to care for my grandparents. It was a mad rush down here because everything was a tragedy. I felt similar to how Rachael felt once how she just couldn’t open her Bible.

    And so I didn’t…for months. I went from reading 10 chapters a day to barely scraping a devotional in. I’ve prayed that the Lord would place a hunger and thirst in my heart again for His Truth. Slowly, I’ve come back to pouring over Scripture every morning, and I felt the Lord’s faithfulness today when I saw the reading was 2 entire chapters of an Old Testament book–I was so happy! So excited to sit and linger and meditate over His Word.

    Thank you, SRT team! Thank you for being Jesus’s instruments for an answered prayer in my life.

    1. Amanda says:

      It’s ironic how we go through seasons where we’d rather do anything else than read Scripture; but, then once we start, new life comes into us and we cannot stop.

      1. Candice Stevens says:


      2. Kim says:

        This is oh so true ❤️

    2. Jayde says:

      Hello! I desperately need this same prayer. Through a series of events .. my best friend abandoning me, mom dying, boyfriend becoming abusive, Christian ministry circle becoming very manipulative and hurtful.. etc. etc. I have really put up a guard against Jesus. I keep praying that He would soften my heart towards him. I want Him to break my heart for what breaks His. I know what that is like because I have for majority of my life walked closely with the Lord. I know now I have wandered far and I don’t know how to get back. Please pray that my heart softens I am afraid to be like Pharoah!!

      1. Dvorah says:

        I pray you never lose all hope. Hang on to that which you have because it is of great value. God is working in your heart and in time you will see He is revealing himself to You in a new and deeper way. He is showing you the falseness of the world. The only true place of peace is to return to your walk with him. Everything else is shallow and lacks life. It seems too hard at times to follow him alone as we long for companionship, but what is revealed through are loneliness is that He is always there even when others fall away. God comfort and strengthen you.

    3. Audrey Fleming says:

      Praying for you, Jayde! I was in such a similar situation in the past year. Hang in there, He is faithful and loves you and sees your pain!! Praying for a softened heart and that He gives you strength to endure and light to get out of the tunnel!

  2. Mems says:

    This study couldn’t have come at a better time. Since we moved in March, I have been struggling to get back into my routine of doing bible readings daily. In truth, I’ve barely done any. I haven’t prayed often either. But I’ve missed it. I worried that just starting anywhere would not be beneficial and would put me off.
    Two days ago, the Lord really convicted me to start up again. But I didn’t listen. I’m 40 weeks pregnant, due any day now, and the verse 1 Samuel 1:27 kept appearing, and prompting me to praise the Lord again for this new life. However, I didn’t know where it was from in scripture.
    This morning, I listened to the Lords prompting and conviction and turned to scripture for the first time in a while. And these are the verses I read (I wanted to start at the beginning of the series rather than on day 3).
    I don’t believe in using verse superstitiously, but I do believe the Lord has called me back to Him through this passage.
    I praise your Holy name, Lord, for Your compassions never fail, and you surround me with your love and peace!

  3. Jennifer Peck says:

    “Hannah stood up.” (v.9) Hannah’s life was filled with pain, as she was unable to conceive children and then tormented by the other wife who had many. Year after year the family traveled to the temple for worship and sacrifice. This year was no different- or was it. The circumstances had not changed but something in Hannah’s heart changed. After they had finished eating and drinking- Hannah stood up. Verse 9 also records that the priest Eli took notice. Hannah stood and poured out her heart to the Lord. She wasn’t concerned with what anyone thought- to the point of being accused of drunkenness by Eli. She just kept on praying to the Lord. (v.12) What an incredible example of courage and persistence in prayer. Many of us have been stuck in circumstances that stay the same year after year. May we have the courage as Hannah did to stand up! Our circumstances may never change but we can. We can make a decision to turn toward the Lord, trusting Him and pouring out our hearts to Him.

    1. Johanna Galyen says:

      I never, ever thought of it like that! Stand and fight! She was so sick and tired of what was, and decided no more. No more hiding and sheepish praying. No more silent tears. It was time to be honest to God, to the point that she didn’t care of what others thought.

      *Wow* thank you so much for pointing that out. What a special blessing to my heart today!

      1. Jennifer Peck says:

        This was a new revelation for me as well. Love how fresh the Word of God is not matter how familiar the story.

        1. Bobby says:

          A rolling stone is worth two in the bush, thanks to this arelcit.

  4. Brooke says:

    One of the things that struck me in the first two chapters was the contrast between Hannah’s response to the Lord and the response of Eli’s sons … and God’s response to each of them. Hannah’s response was worship and giving her son to the Lord (physically allowing others to raise him!)—offering everything she had freely. Eli’s sons, on the other hand, “did not know the Lord” and “treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.” And the Lord’s response to them was just as stark. Hannah continued to be blessed (having more children), while Eli’s sons were rejected and cut off from the Lord. The thought that’s been running through my mind all day is, “Which of these two am I? Do I offer everything I have to the Lord? Or do I hold back? Do I give begrudgingly or freely? Are there ways in which I have treated the offering of the Lord with contempt? Am I a cheerful giver?”

    1. Lana says:

      This is what struck me too. I looked at it as a direct contract between Hannah and Eli. Hannah honored God first. But 1 Samuel 2:28 says of Eli: but you have honored your sons more than me, by making yourselves fat with the best part of all of the offerings…

      God blessed both Hannah and Eli with children. What they did with those blessings directly impacted humanity. Like Nicole pointed out earlier in the comments, God gave to Hannah, and in return, Hannah gave back to God. She accepted the responsibility of her blessing by choosing to continue the cycle of love and generosity. Eli didn’t do that. And in that way, he didn’t set a good example for his kids. And there are consequences for that.

      These chapters were so rich. Really looking forward to this study.

      1. Lana says:

        Direct *contrast. Not contract.

  5. Jyndia says:

    I find myself in Hannah as she kneels before the Lord requesting a child. I see her knees trembling. I see her eyes weary, hands wrung with the pain of being empty. I hear her words whispering to her God as she boldly asks for the desires of her heart. I see the rejection this world has offered her and I know the acute feeling of being unheard. Hannah is me… As I look at our daughter Kylie, I see hope. I see God redeeming life over death and His hand guiding us along as each step seems blind and uncertain.

  6. JessMC says:

    Over the last couple of months, I’ve realized my prayer life is lacking. I struggle to stay focused and I struggle to pray in belief. I’ve also realized I do not sit in praise and thankfulness enough to my savior. I ask things of Him and then often forget to come before Him in praise and thankfulness when he answers my prayers or brings encouragement in my waiting.

    This morning the words of Hannah and Mary bring deep conviction to my heart but I also rejoice. I’m rejoicing because the Lord is using these passages to draw me to Him. I feel Him saying, “come before me. Give me your all. Focus your heart on me. Just as Hannah and Mary worshipped me in thanksgiving and praise, I want your praise my daughter.”

    Thank you Jesus for using the SRT community to bring conviction and encouragement to my soul!

  7. Nicole says:

    The verse that stuck out to me most in this reading was 1 Samuel 1:27 which says, “I prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked him for, I now give the boy to the Lord. For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” Hannah pours out her heart to the Lord, gives Him her grief and despair and He blesses her with a child! I love this verse because Hannah goes from being weak and overcome by emotion to strong and steadfast BECAUSE she was blessed by the Lord. And now that she has been blessed and shown generosity by the Lord SHE can now show that same generosity on earth through Him, “the Lord gave” Hannah what she needed to grow in her faith and now instead of her receiving blessings she says “I give.” How incredible is that progression in this one single verse?! “The Lord gave” so now “I give.” Thankful to follow a God who doesn’t ask us to give anything He hasn’t already poured into us FIRST. What a God we follow and my soul rejoices in Him!

  8. Jackie says:

    ” And while all my prayers to Him are not answered with a “yes,” they are heard and I am known. I am remembered. Just like Hannah.” What a comfort it is to remember how heard, known, loved, and carried we are by our creator.

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