In Samuel’s Time

In Samuel’s time, in the face of the Philistine threat, in the face of Canaanite culture, in the presence of Canaanite religion, Israel began to notice other loyalties that seemed more promising. Israel began to mix its faith and its loyalty with other loyalties and alternatives seemingly more attractive, more compelling, and more productive. Israel is tempted, again and again, to change its central loyalty and, with it, to change its mode of ethics and its patterns of social relationships. Samuel is summoned by Yahweh to call Israel back to its primary loyalty, to its single reliance, and to shun other modes of life, security, and well-being. The demand of Samuel is that Israel belong only to Yahweh and not be permitted any other loyalty. The promise of Samuel is that Yahweh is completely adequate as a delivering God, who can work rescue in any circumstance, even with the Philistines. Samuel bears witness to the adequacy of Yahweh, even as he bears witness to the sovereignty of Yahweh.

Walter Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1990), 49.

We need exactly the same summons.

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