Today’s Tasting: 1 Samuel 1–3: A certain man, Elkanah, went annually to worship at Shiloh where Eli and his sons ministered in the sanctuary. Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children and she taunted Hannah because she was childless. At Shiloh, Hannah wept in anguish before the Lord at the tabernacle and made a vow that if the Lord blessed her with a son she would dedicate him to the Lord.
In time God remembered Hannah and she conceived and bore a son and called him Samuel. When he was old enough to be weaned Hannah took him to the Lord’s house and left him with Eli the priest to serve, as she had promised the Lord.
The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were corrupt men. They had no regard for the Lord and treated the Lord’s offering with contempt. But Samuel ministered before the Lord even as a child, wearing a linen ephod (to mark his priestly status).
The immorality of Eli’s sons became a public scandal, but Eli was unable to discipline them in his old age, after a lifetime of letting them do as they pleased. He challenged them with the rumors and warned them of God’s inevitable judgment but they paid no attention. A man of God came to Eli and predicted that Eli’s two sons would die in one day and that Eli would be succeeded by a faithful priest who would walk before the Lord anointed forever.
One night the Lord called to Samuel while he slept. Mistaking the voice he heard for that of Eli, Samuel ran to him. But Eli perceived that it was the Lord who had called to Samuel, so he told Samuel to answer, “speak, for Your servant hears.” So the Lord spoke to Samuel that He would judge the house of Eli because he knew about the iniquity of his sons and did nothing. The next day Samuel told Eli all that the Lord had said.
Today’s Nourishment: Have you ever cried out to God year after year, longing for Him to hear and answer some long-awaited desire of your heart, even as you watch others being blessed? Hannah was a woman sad in spirit for she longed to have children. She prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish, pouring out her soul before the Lord, asking Him to remember her. He did hear her cries, and gave her the desire of her heart.
I see this as a lesson in not giving up. God, in His goodness and faithfulness, wants to give us the desires and dreams He has placed on our hearts. I believe we have to press through and trust God, not just in the “what” but also in the “when” (Psalm 27:13). The story also reminds us to be thankful and worship Him when He hears and answers the cries of our heart, as Hannah did. Her heart was full and she rejoiced in her God. God continued to bless her with more children. Doesn’t our Father do the same for us today as we live righteous and holy lives before Him?
The story is also a lesson in the consequences of sin. Eli and his sons were judged by God for their failure to honor Him. God is looking for people with truth and courage to honor Him, not compromise as Eli did.
God raised up Samuel, a faithful priest, to do what was in His mind. He is still looking for faithful servants in you and me, longing for us to have the heart and mind of Christ. My prayer for us all is to be more like Samuel, to be strong in the Lord, faithful to His work and His Word, bringing honor to Him in all our ways!
Tomorrow’s Delight: 1 Samuel 4–8
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Carolyn Marlowe says
Wow! Keeping on and not giving up when we experience troubles is a battle. However, God honors our faithfulness as we honor and worship Him despite struggles. I worship you, Lord, and know that you’ve got this!