Posts Tagged ‘Samuel’

1 Samuel 4

1 Samuel 4 has the Israelites facing the Philistines.  “The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle”.  That didn’t go as the Israelites expected.  Where was God in all this?  How could He allow them to be defeated?  So they decide to take another stab at it.  God must have been asleep.  This time they will take the ark of the covenant with them as they try again.

The Israelites give a large shout as the ark is brought into the middle of their camp.  The Philistines heard it from a distance, and were afraid that God would join the battle this time.  So the Philistine leaders said “Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight”.  They were rallying the troops to get ready for round two, and not to be afraid.  They meet again in battle a second time and this time they really defeat the Israelites, killing 30,000 foot soldiers.

But even worse, the Philistines captured the ark.  One of the warriors ran back to the city to let everyone know that the battle had been lost.  Hophni and Phinehas were dead – and the ark was captured.  This messenger came to Eli, who was 98 years old, blind and well overweight.  “As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy”.  It didn’t take long for the entire family of Eli to be dead.

He had judged Israel 40 years.  His sons ended up being his downfall.  But as death was having its way with the men, Phinehas’ wife was pregnant and ready to give birth.  She does, and dies giving birth to her son names Ichabod.  That name means “The glory has departed from Israel because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband “.  God has allowed the ark to be grabbed and is sitting on the sideline as the people of Israel self-destruct.

1 Samuel 3

1 Samuel 3 has God coming to Samuel.  It was a bit unusual because “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision”.  It seems that God had hidden His truth from them, but scripture says “the lamp of God had not yet gone out”.  As Samuel was lying in bed, “the Lord called Samuel, and he said, Here I am”.  Samuel awoke and quickly ran to Eli and said “here I am, for you called me”.  But Eli hadn’t called, it was God Himself who was calling.

God called again, and Samuel came and found out Eli hadn’t called.  It happened a third time, and “then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the young man”.  Samuel hadn’t been connected with God yet.  Scripture says “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him”.  But Eli gave Samuel direction on what to do.  “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears”.  So Eli returned to bed and as you might expect, the Lord called again.

And the Lord told Samuel “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end”.  You may recall that Eli’s sons were very disobedient to living according to God’s direction.  They were rebels and focused on themselves rather than obedience.  God did not forget.  “I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them”.

Parenting obviously matters in the eyes of the Lord.  Eli’s sin here was that he did not take action when his adult sons were violating God’s laws.  These weren’t kids – they were grown up – yet God holds Eli accountable as the father to intercede in their behavior.  Samuel knows the word from the Lord was not something Eli would like to hear, so he doesn’t run in there and tell him. “Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli” but Eli presses him for the truth and “Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him”.  It was a heavy load but Eli accepts it.  And now scripture tells us “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground”.  He is becoming the Lord’s voice.

1 Samuel 2

1 Samuel 2 has Hannah praising the Lord.  “There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God”.  She has seen His hand at work in her life, and glorifies Him.  She reminds us of His faithfulness.  “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones…. not by might shall a man prevail”.  God alone is our protector and provider.  Oh that we would never forget His mercies and grace.  And God continues to bless Hannah and Elkanah.  “Indeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters”.

Meanwhile, back at Shiloh where the people came to sacrifice, Eli’s sons were not following God’s rules for his priests.  They were taking food before the sacrifice and holding people hostage until they got what they wanted for themselves. “Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt “.  Bad plan – as they are really setting themselves up for some real punishment.  Eli gets word of what is happening and calls them out.

Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear….but they would not listen to the voice of their father”.  They just go on sinning and God warns Eli that they will be punished and actually killed.  And to be sure there is no question that they are paying a price for their sin, God says “both of them shall die on the same day“.  We’ll have to keep that in mind as we watch how God addresses their sin.  There is always a price to pay for sin.  And God makes it clear these two guys are going to pay dearly for their self indulgence.

Meanwhile, “the young man Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord”.  He was hanging out and serving Eli and the priests and doing God’s will.  Scripture tells us that “Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man”.  Sound familiar.  It is very close to what scripture tells us about Jesus.  Remember how it says He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.  Samuel also grew up in the presence of God.  And he walked with God and served Him and Eli well.

1 Samuel 1

1 Samuel 1 has the story of Elkanah – a man with two wives.  One of his wives, Peninnah, has given him children.  But the one he loved more was Hannah and she had no kids.  Every year Elkanah would go up to sacrifice at Shiloh before the two sons of Eli – Phinehas and Hophni  and when he did he always gave a double portion for Hannah “because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb”.  She was distraught about her unability to bear children.

Elkanah sees that Hannah is upset and not eating and asks “why is your heart sad”?  What a tough spot to be in as a husband.  Not only was she upset that she couldn’t give him any children, her competitor for Elkanah’s affection – Peninnah – “provoked her grievously to irritate her”.  It’s amazing how cruel we can be to others.  In this case, it was a battle for the husband’s attention but that battle had already been decided.  Hannah decides to pray to God to help her with the situation.

She vowed a vow and said, O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head”.  Hannah was just speaking the words from her heart, and her lips were moving but no sound was coming out.  She happened to be in the area where Eli the priest was and he saw her – and calls her out as being drunk.  But she clarifies and says “I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord”.

God heard her prayers and Eli tells her “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him”.  What a promise from the Lord.  She immediately knew God was going to answer her prayer and she was no longer sad.  But they didn’t take it for granted.  “They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her….Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel”.  Nothing like some time with God to make sure things go as promised.

Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel”.  God was faithful to His promise delivered through Eli.  Hannah had waited for many years to bear Elkanah a son.  And now, it has happened.  But Hannah wasn’t going to miss her side of the deal.  She had promised God in her plea that she’d give him to the Lord.  “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord”.  We must always remember that our kids are a gift from the Lord.  They aren’t ours, they are simply put in our care but they belong to Him!

%d bloggers like this: