How to go from disaster to glory amid painful waiting?
The first inspired scroll to chronicle the royal history of Israel, (A.K.A. I Samuel), is a naked record of Israel’s public outbursts directed against her covenant-keeping king. There’s no white-wash to lighten things up. Just hard realities, bad decisions, sudden interventions, evil spirits, surprise reversals (see the image), hard-to-fathom faithfulness, giants, witches, real and fake madness, half-hearted resolve, and raw passion. There’s songs as in any proper saga. One’s an intro. The other’s an ‘outro.’ As they say, ‘click here to download your copy of this hit Ancient Near-Eastern soap opera.’
But don’t dismiss it as unworthy of your time before noting that in the grit stood Israel’s king. First Samuel demands those identifying as God’s people to see the Lord’s faithful care for His own. Hardly a God-far-away, the Lord rules through a specific place, through named reps, and rewards love and faithfulness toward Himself while punishing any who presume on His favor—regardless their tribe. Best of all, First Samuel hammers out a form for any king of Israel to fill. Only that the form is beyond any mere mortal.
It all started one day during the rule of the judges, near the tabernacle when a poor woman, mistreated by others, who wanted to have a baby but couldn’t, had the shocking naivety to ask Israel’s invisible king for help. It continues as David waits for Israel to agree with his rule. He’ll wait a long time.
David and Goliath, Vyner Memorial Window, Christ Church, Oxford, Lady Chapel.
Designed by Burne-Jones and made by Morris Co, 1872.