The book of 1 Samuel contains collision after collision. Beginning with Eli and Hannah, moving onto Eli and Samuel, then to Saul and Samuel, and finally to Saul and David there is no shortage of drama, wisdom, and gospel grace to be gleaned in this wonderful historical account.
The book begins with the birth of Samuel and in a sad downward spiral it ends with the burial of Saul. In chapter 29 we see God deliver David from death, and in chapter 31 we see God deliver Saul to death. In chapter 30 we see David conquering his enemies the Amalekites, and in chapter 31, perhaps even on the very same day, we see the Saul being conquered by his enemies the Philistines.
What should we remember about this book? I want you to remember 1 Samuel 16:7.
1 Samuel 16:7 is the summary statement of the whole book of 1 Samuel. God had brought Samuel to Jesse to anoint one of his sons and after seeing his oldest son Eliab God told Samuel, “Do not look on 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.” All throughout the book we see this, what looks as tall and strong and faithful in the eyes of man isn’t so tall and strong and faithful in the eyes of God.
Hannah, a then barren woman, was more righteous than Eli the priest. David, a then young shepherd boy, was more righteous than Saul the king. An aware Bible reader will remember Isaiah 55:8-9 “God’s ways are not our ways, God’s purposes are higher than ours.”
But what about Advent? Do we not see the same things?
To the eyes of man the child of a young newly married couple born next to animals in Bethlehem was nothing worth mentioning. Yet, He was the long awaited One who would teach us the truth, who would fulfill all righteousness for His people in His perfect law-abiding life, who would atone for and pay the penalty as the substitute for His people’s law-breaking lives, and who would rise again from death to usher in a whole new kind of life.
The Gospel Transformation Bible picks up on this and says the following: “1 Samuel is about kings, but more importantly it’s about the great King, God Himself. In these stories we catch glimpses of who God is, what He does, what life is like with Him and without Him, and what life can become by the power His grace and the power of His Spirit. These stories are part of our family history as believers, they’re meant to instruct us, encourage us, and give us hope. These stories are gospel-filled stories, honest about sin and society, saturated with the hope of heaven.” (page 341).
To the world, nothing special happened that night in Bethlehem. But for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, this Child is both David’s Son and David’s LORD, the Prince of peace and the wonderful Counselor, the mighty God and everlasting Father. All of the collisions between the people in 1 Samuel were only a foreshadow of the greater collision to come, when the author of the play Himself, would walk on stage and change everything! When His divinity met our depravity, there was a beautiful collision.