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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.


God's plan, not ours.

1 Samuel 1:1–7

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.

The book of 1 Samuel begins with an intense drama. Instead of living the dream, Hannah is living the scream.

Being barren is hard enough on a woman in our age, but it was indescribably brutal back then. There were no fertility clinics, no way to know what was wrong or what to do about it. Presumably, there were countless “cures” promoted by hucksters and even well-wishing friends.

But month after month it became increasingly clear to Hannah that the “cures” did not work. Her hopes would rise and crash in a consistent, soul destroying cycle.

And, on top of all that, her husband had a second wife who was not barren. The other wife was intentionally cruel to Hannah, teasing her relentlessly.

So, the stage it set. Against this backdrop, God’s power, might, holiness, and grace will be displayed.

I love drama—unless it’s my drama. I don’t like boredom, but I want my life to basically be boring.

God seems to love drama—all drama. The beginning of 1 Samuel is a great example of that. The drama in Hannah’s life is so great that sometimes she refuses to eat.

That bothers people. Even though the purpose of Hannah’s drama will soon be revealed, they think that no drama would be better.

This leads to a dreadful conclusion. They doubt God’s goodness, or even His existence. They think that God shouldn’t allow certain types of drama—infertility, cancer, war, etc.

To them, the cross is foolishness. God allowing painful drama in our lives it bad enough, but allowing it in His life is nuts.

They need to relax and think about this clearly. God should have higher priorities than pain avoidance.

And so should we. I shouldn’t want a boring life. Life in Christ is exciting, meaningful, and full of drama.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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