Day 99

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1 Samuel 1:9 – 4:11

Gregg Walsh, Executive Pastor

The priest Eli decided not to listen and obey God’s direct instructions. God showed patience and provided warning, but sin caused separation from God’s leaders, Eli and his two sons. The results were horrific!

1 Sam. 4:11–The Philistines defeated and slaughtered 34,000 Israelites. The Ark of God was taken, and Eli had a fatal fall after he learned that both his evil sons were killed.
But God had a plan in place knowing His leadership was not closely following Him. He decided to raise a new faithful priest. He used a humble and devoted godly couple named Elkanah and Hannah. In past personal readings of this chapter I have been inspired by Hannah’s tender and broken heart–she was a wife that desired to bear children for her husband– but I missed or passed over Elkanah in Chapter 1.
These are some observations: Elkanah worshipped and was committed to pleasing God; Elkanah deeply loved his wife even though she was unable to conceive children; Elkanah supported and understood godly promises when they gave up their young son; Elkanah was a large part of the promise and commitment to Eli.

In Chapter 2, God does answer Hannah’s prayer, and, as promised, Hannah & Elkanah deliver Samuel to Eli. I am taking a stab and guessing Samuel was perhaps the age of a toddler; it was sometime after he was weaned. They then offered his life to serve as a priest. (2:21b “And Samuel grew before the Lord.”)
God calls Samuel by name (1Sam. 3:7). The scripture tells us Samuel knew God’s ways and had a desire to please God, but he did not yet know what His voice sounded like. (1Sam 3:8)
I believe Eli had once followed God’s voice strongly and obeyed Him. I believe selfishness, sin and disobedience entered in, and Eli’s heart become hard. Besides encouraging Hannah, Eli again did the right thing by recognizing that it was God who was calling, and instructing Samuel how to wait on God.

My friends, there is nothing more exciting than knowing God loves each one of us. And He calls us by name! At an early age Samuel learned and was excited to please God. Only when his heart was quiet before God did he hear the voice of God. (God can also speak through His Spirit, Scripture and godly people.)
I encourage you today to be quiet before God. God deeply loves you. Listen to what He has to say to you. Don’t let that flame dim down to a flicker. God has an exciting life for you – move toward His voice!

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5 responses »

  1. Lord I humbly seek Your voice to lead me in the direction You have planned for me. I know you are with me and I surrender my life to Your will. Make in me, the quiet place where Your voice can be heard.

  2. Here is another thing that I don’t understand. Though there were times when I would have been tempted to offer my toddlers to the house of the Lord, does that really mean that he was raised there by the priests? Or is it more symbolic of submerging them early in the things of the Lord? Thoughts?
    Father, I pray for myself and my children today. We live in a culture that is constantly connected to something…computer, phone, TV, ipod, video games. We have forgotten how to be quiet and are uncomfortable with silence. We seek something to fill quiet. Lord, cause us to remember that the things of greatest value are heard in the quiet with You. Settle us down, calm our racing hearts and minds, open our hearts and ears to hear You. Little by little show us the treasures that are found in quietness with You.

    • I imagine Samuel was raised at the tabernacle by the priests. They lived in families, after all, and so it wasn’t like a monastery. For Samuel to have been sleeping in the tabernacle itself seems to indicate that he was accustomed to being there.

    • Cindy, I take the following verses to mean that they literally took him to Eli and left him there and visited him annually.

      1 Samuel (NIV)

      1:21-28 Indicates that Samuel was brought to Eli.

      2:11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.

      2:18-21 But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod. Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

  3. The capture of the ark of the covenant stands out to me as a warning. God is not a totem or talisman that we can wave around to protect us in spite of our behavior. Sin will be punished regardless of what holy objects are at hand. For a modern example, putting a Christian bumper sticker on our car does not divinely prevent arrest for reckless driving.

    May we strive to conform ourselves to the image of Christ, and not rely on external gimmicks or behaviors to “please” God.

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