It's our first week in I Samuel and immediately we are thrown into the familiar story of Samuel. A man born to a barren woman who pleaded for years to have a son. Samuel's mother, Hannah promised God she would give him back to the Lord if only He would give her a child. God answered her prayers.
"I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and He has granted my request." ~ I Samuel 1:27
Hannah kept her promise as well. When Samuel was weaned, Hannah and her husband Elkanah, took him to the Tabernacle, along with a bull for sacrifice, and there they gave Samuel back to the Lord, leaving him with Eli the priest. From the very beginning, Hannah's hope for her child, was that He would serve the Lord and be used by Him. Chapter 2, shows us Hannah's prayer of praise. I am sure, it is safe to say, she covered her son with prayer all of his life. Praying for God to use him, protect him and direct him all the days of his life. And, as we will see, God did indeed use Samuel in mighty ways. Samuel's upbringing helped guide him in the right direction. From a young age, Samuel began serving the Lord.
"Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest. " ~ I Samuel 2:11
"But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest." ~ I Samuel 2: 18
".....Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord." ~ I Samuel 2:21
"Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people." ~ I Samuel 2:26
It is so important, as believers in Jesus Christ, to make sure our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and any other children that may be in our lives, are given the chance to grow up in the Lord. Cover them in prayer from the beginning. share the love of God with them always. Teach them to pray. Teach them the Word of God. Show them what a relationship with God looks like. Be a godly example to them. Parents, this charge is to you first and foremost. You are the ones God has chosen and ordained to raise your children in the admonition of the Lord. Take this job more seriously than any other, for you are raising the next generation of believers. But grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers: your influence on the children in your lives is important also. Children learn by imitation. They are watching you and looking to you as a role model as well.
In stark contrast of Samuel, Eli's sons are said to be wicked. Scripture doesn't tell us their exact upbringing, but we do know that Eli was a man of God. The problem was, Eli knew of his son's sin and yet, did nothing about it. He overlooked it. God sent a messenger to Eli letting him know that his son's sin would not go unnoticed, and Eli's entire family would pay the consequences. We cannot sit by and allow sin to reign in our homes and family. We will pay the consequences for "overlooking" it. We must trust the Lord and follow His instructions, and live our lives according to His Word. Protect your home and family from the burden of sin. Be cautious of what you allow in your homes and lives: what you watch, listen to, read, who you communicate with and even the relationships you establish outside of your home. Make sure that your activities, your words, and your relationships bring glory to the Lord. If it doesn't, remove it from your home, your mind, your life and your family's life.
In chapter 3, we see the Lord beginning to speak to Samuel. At this time, messages and visions from the Lord were very rare, and because of this, Samuel didn't realize that God was speaking directly to him.
"Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before." ~ I Samuel 3:7
God called out to Samuel 3 times, and each time Samuel thought that Eli was calling him. Finally, Eli realized that God was speaking to Samuel, so he instructed him to reply to God's call if He spoke again. God called to Samuel a final time and Samuel responded. God's message to Samuel was about the judgement that was coming to Eli's family. Although he was afraid to share God's message with Eli, he did, holding nothing back. Without hesitation, Eli accepted what was coming.
"So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn't hold anything back. "It is the Lord's will,' Eli replied. 'Let Him do what He thinks best.'" ~ I Samuel 3:18
God's judgement on Eli's family did come to pass. Israel was at war with the Philistines and they attacked killing 4,000 Israelites. Instead of asking God for direction in battle, Israel took the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them, hoping it would save them. God allowed the Ark to be used against them, for when the Philistines saw it, they became worried and feared they would become Israel's slaves. The Philistines fought harder than before and killed 30,000 Israelite soldiers, defeated Israel, took the Ark captive, and Eli's sons, Hophni & Phinehas were killed. Upon hearing of Israel's defeat and that the Ark was gone, Eli fell backward, broke his neck and died. He had been Israel's judge for 40 years. Phinehas' wife went into labor when she heard all that had occurred. Before dying in childbirth, she named her son Ichabod, which means "where is the glory?".
Interesting name choice, don't you think? Yet, it tells us so much. In Hebrew, the word glory means "presence of God." So her question was really: Where is God? Israel had turned their back on God once again, living life as they wanted and serving other gods. When once they would have asked for God's direction against their enemies, now they were taking things into their own hands. Oh, God was there. Don't think for a moment He wasn't. I'm sure He was grieved at their actions, but He allowed them to suffer the consequences of their sin.
God will never leave us. His Word promises He will be with us, always. But.....we will pay the consequences for our sin. When our choices and decisions do not align with God and His truth, we will suffer the consequences. As believers, we are not perfect. Perfection doesn't come until we reach Heaven, but we are God's children and we should strive to live as such. We have the "how to" manual: the Bible. We need to know it, treasure it and live it. Will we fail? Make mistakes? Absolutely, on this side of eternity we live in a fallen world and we won't be perfect and holy, but that should be our goal. Holiness, righteousness, yearning to live according to God's truth and will.
How do we do this?
We turn our lives, completely, over to God. Lay it at His feet.
Read and soak in His Word.
Hide His Word in our hearts, so that when temptation comes, we have the tools and the strength to turn away.
Repent and ask forgiveness when we fail.
Live out God's Word.
Trust Him, knowing He is always with you and He loves you so much He gave His son's life for you.
There's one last thing I want to leave with you this week. Serve the Lord with all your heart, even in spite of your shortcomings. As you grow in Him, He will be with you and He will use you to bring glory to Him.
"As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable." ~ I Samuel 3:19
May God bless each of you as you grow closer to Him!
Keep reading His Word!
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. "
Hi! I'm Andrea, wife to my handsome hubby, homeschooling mama to my 5 amazing blessings (with one more on the way), and daughter of the King of kings. I am so glad you have stopped by my little piece of the web. My prayer is that the Lord will use this blog to encourage you in your personal, daily walk with Christ.