Answered! - 1 Samuel 1:1-28

Today we begin a study in 1 Samuel. Although not included in the book of Judges, Samuel was the last of Israel’s Judges, because the people demanded a king, God gave them what they asked for and Saul became the first king of Israel. So Samuel guides the people of Israel through this transition to a monarchy.

The key themes in 1 Samuel we will see are Leadership, God’s Sovereignty, Sin’s Consequences, Covenant, and Kingship.

Samuel was actually born around 1102 BC, while Samson was the designated Judge. Samson died around 1078 BC. In our English Bible the book of Ruth is between Judges and 1 Samuel. It might be a little easier to understand the time line if 1 Samuel followed immediately after Judges.

 

In our study today there are two main areas of focus: First, the word “Trust”. Second is the word “Entrust”. While they may appear the same we will take a different path to each of them.

 

1.      In what types of situations do we find it hard to trust God? (We usually find it more difficult to trust God when challenges emerge—when it feels like God is silent.)

2.      When do we find it easy to trust God? (We usually find it easier to trust God when life is smooth and easy.)

We know God hears our prayers, and He does answer. In the life of a believer, learning to trust God more is a daily growing experience. I find it amazing in my own life that I can learn to trust God in one circumstance and a short while later I have to learn the same lesson all over again.

 

3.      What is one person or thing that God has entrusted to you?

In our study of 1 Samuel, we will be looking at the lives of several individuals to whom God entrusted great responsibility. Today we will be discussing our responsibilities when God entrusts something to us.

As an introduction read 1 Samuel 1:1-8

 

Hannah’s Prayer! Read 1 Samuel 1:9-11

 

1.      How would you describe Hannah’s emotional state and attitude at this point? (The words “deeply hurt” can be rendered “bitter of soul.” It includes the Hebrew term
“Mara” that Naomi used after her husband and two sons died, as she was grief stricken. Hannah’s prayers were tearful, revealing her broken heart.)

2.      What vow did she make to God? (There is no indication that God required a vow, but when we make a vow to God, He expects us to keep it.)

The indication is that Hanna was Elkanah’s first wife and he married Peninnah when they realized Hanna couldn’t bear children. Hannah was childless in a culture where the condition was viewed with disfavor. Some may even have suggested that her childlessness was the result of some sin on her part.

3.      Why should we be totally honest with God and pour out all of our hurt, bitterness and pain to Him? (First, God already knows but we need to express it to Him. Secondly, God is big enough to handle our anguished, tear-stained prayers. We can bring our deepest hurts to Him, knowing that He cares.)

4.      What is the danger of expecting people or possessions to meet needs that only God can meet?

 

Eli’s Affirmation! Read 1 Samuel 1:12-18

 

1.      What was Eli’s wrong assumption and why? (When Eli saw Hannah praying he wrongly assumed she was drunk, because of her emotional behavior. Remember she had just come from a meal where wine would have been served, although she didn’t eat because of her emotional state, Eli didn’t know that.)

2.      Can we learn anything from Eli’s quick judgment? (We should be good, patient listeners—long to listen and slow to judge—watching out for the needs and hurts of those around us.)

3.      How did Eli encourage Hannah? (When Eli realized what he saw was a sincere, hurting woman, he was quick to give Hannah a blessing.)

4.      How can we support each other in times like Hannah was experiencing? (We can support each other by sharing one another’s prayer burdens, helping to carry one another’s heartaches and tears.)

5.      How did prayer change Hannah’s attitude? Compare with verse 10. (Hannah’s circumstances had not changed. She still longed for a son, but her attitude had changed, and she was no longer so despairing.)

6.      When have you seen or experienced the power of prayer?

The change occurred as Hannah let go of her broken heartedness and trusted God to answer her prayer.

 

Read 1 Samuel 1:19-25

 

Hannah’s Presentation! Read 1 Samuel 1:26-28

 

1.      How did Hannah demonstrate her trust in God?

2.      How difficult do you think it was for her to leave Samuel with Eli?

3.      Where do you see Hannah’s humility? (Her humility is seen in her acknowledgement that all we have and are comes from God. Samuel belonged to God, and she understood that.)

Our prayers will reflect humility when we ask for God’s will in all areas of our lives. By freely acknowledging that all we have comes from God, we can seek His best plans for us.

4.      Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word entrust: “to commit to another with confidence.” What are some ways we can give back to God what He has entrusted to us? (Think about the Spiritual Gifts God has given you. How have you entrusted them back to Him?)

5.      How does seeing an answered prayer encourage the one who prayed?

6.      How does it encourage others who were aware of the prayer?

7.      How often do you joyfully share with others how God has answered your prayers?

8.      What keeps us from sharing answered prayers more often?

 

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      How does knowing that God is in control impact our prayers?

There is great freedom in coming to the point where we realize that our lives rest in God’s able hands. We can find joy in the way that our lives unfold, knowing He loves us, wants the best for us, and is in control of our circumstances.

2.      What can you entrust back to God’s care that, perhaps you have been holding on to?

With God in control, we can always focus our prayers on His will being done in our lives.

 

Evaluate your prayer life. Is it all that it can be?

Are you letting God guide the ways you pray?

Look for new ways to trust God each day. Ask Him to help your trust grow in the moments you feel weak. Be strong in sharing your heartaches with other believers who can support you in prayer.

Look for opportunities to bear other’s burdens as well.

 

Close by thanking God for answering our prayers and ask Him to help us rejoice in Him and His ways!