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!