Last year, around this time, I decided to read through the Bible in 90 days. It was a great experience and I’ll probably do it again. But lately I’ve been reading at a slower pace, trying to drink deeply and think thoughtfully on each passage. This is surely evidence of God’s grace working in me. I love to check boxes and keep up with a schedule, but that’s not the point really. I want the reading to change me, to uncover those secret sins that lodge so deeply within my heart. I want God’s living Word to remove more scales from my eyes so I can see the glory of the Father and his Son more clearly.
I’ve come through Judges and Ruth recently and saw something new. That’s the amazing thing of the Scripture. There are infinite layers to this onion.
In terms of the whole scope of the Biblical story, from Genesis to Revelation, Israel is not in a good place. At the end of Judges it seems there’s no hope, but Ruth shines like a diamond. The last word in Ruth is “David”. For those who’ve already read the rest of the story, we know that name is pregnant with meaning. But imagine you’ve never read the Bible. You wouldn’t know who David was. This sets the reader up for great anticipation as to what will come next.
1 Samuel begins with the story of a family. And a woman – Hannah. A woman who can’t have children. The Lord has closed her womb.
As the book of Judges ends, the Lord seems to fade from the story, but 1 Samuel suddenly explodes with the name of the Lord. In the first chapter alone there are at least 23 mentions of the name of the Lord.
God is on the move here. And through a woman. A barren woman. If you’re familiar with the scope of the Biblical story, that should sound familiar. Abram’s Sarai was barren, but God provided Isaac. Isaac’s Rebekah was barren, but God provided Jacob and Esau. So what will God do with Hannah and this child he gives her?
Anticipation builds. I’d never read this part of the Bible in such a dramatic way.