I Samuel 3 part 1–Messages from God Were Rare

Messages from the Lord were rare and visions were uncommon. This is one of the sad statements in the Bible.  There truly comes a time in a nations history where there simply not much more to say. Such was the case in Israel.  People were still doing the church thing.  The priests were obviously staying busy enough. But the nation had taken an attitude that God was simply there and did not have an active role in their lives. And God gave them what they wanted—he left them alone.  But, like any parent, God had had enough. He knew it was time to discipline the priests and change the attitude of his people. He would start at the priests and then work through the nation.

In our lives, we need to be the most concerned when things go quiet. When we are facing trials and temptation we know God is still taking an active role in our lives.  But, when things go quiet it is a picture of God simply leaving us alone.  Our nation has pushed God out of governance, out of school, out of the military and out of families. The obvious consequence is that God will leave us alone.  We cannot afford God to leave this nation alone.  Without him we will perish.  In our homes, we cannot afford for God to leave us alone—we will certainly perish.  We need to pray that God will forgive us and restore himself as the leader of our families and our nation.  Please Lord, forgive us an retake an active role in our nation and in our families.

God Bless You

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle[a] near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. 10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. 13 I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God[b] and he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.”

I Samuel 2 part 3–The Life of an Ambassador

When we represent God as his ambassadors, we must live a life that is worthy of his name.  When we do not, it is apparent.  We not only ruin our names and reputation, but we put God’s credibility at issue.  As he becomes real in our lives, we no longer want to feed our sinful nature.  If we do, we must check our hearts and daily put those things we desire to control on the alter before him. Eli’s sons had no desire to serve God and as his priests—their sin affected the entire nation.  God will not tolerate his name being used to hurt others.

We must start each day—boldly seeking him and checking our hearts to be sure we are willing to be his ambassador. As we do, we must also realize our impact upon others. We live selflessly, and patiently following the path he has set before us.  As we do we will grow in favor with Him and with those we do life with.

God Bless You

22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle.[f] 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God[g] can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.

26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

I Samuel 2 part 2–Respect and Representation

Samuel went into the service of the Priest Eli.  Eli had 2 sons.  They had no respect for the Lord.  They treated their duties with Contempt—they treated their father with contempt and worst they treated God and his sacrifice with contempt.  What an environment for a child who is to serve God all his life.  Fortunately, God’s plan is often greater than even his priests!  What an important reminder for us as his children to remember that we are often God’s representative to the people.  He does not take lightly the mistreatment of his people, his name or his sacrifice.

In our lives, we are often faced with opportunities to represent God.  If we try to act in our own power, it is like Eli’s boys acted about the sacrifice.  We need to remember as living sacrifices, we need to submit to God’s leadership—honor his name and walk humbly in his love.  We respect his plan.  We do not try to do this on our own, but we simply follow his lead—like Samuel.  Then we can enjoy his peace that truly passes all understanding.

God Bless You. 

 12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord 13 or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, 14 the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. 15 Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.

16 The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” 17 So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt.

Celebrating God for Who He Is–1 Samuel 2 part 1

He does so much for us that it is impossible to adequately articulate the gratitude we have for God and his work in our lives. Throughout time, he has demonstrated his Lordship through every form of power. Miracles, blessings, disaster, plague and simple appearance of his glory all remind us that He is God. Hannah—left her son on the alter, he was to spend his life serving God. She did not leave that event in regretful tears—instead she celebrated his amazing power. Her prayer of celebration should be on all our hearts. She does not pretend all is perfect. She simply states the truth—NO ONE IS HOLY LIKE GOD—we dare not second guess him or his plan.

I want Hannah’s faith. I want her humble heart. She sees God as he truly is—Author, Creator, King and Lord. In my life, I still want to edit his story. I want to take out the tough parts. He is a PDF planner. We do not get to change things. We simply get to stand in awe as he does the amazing work. When we can accept that truth, then we can begin to focus on him and what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. When our focus is on him and on his cool attributes, then no matter what, our lives can be bearable. He is God! We are his chosen!

Help me, Lord to focus on that truth today!

God Bless You

2 Then Hannah prayed:

“My heart rejoices in the Lord!
The Lord has made me strong.[a]
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
I rejoice because you rescued me.
2 No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

3 “Stop acting so proud and haughty!
Don’t speak with such arrogance!
For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done;
he will judge your actions.
4 The bow of the mighty is now broken,
and those who stumbled are now strong.
5 Those who were well fed are now starving,
and those who were starving are now full.
The childless woman now has seven children,
and the woman with many children wastes away.
6 The Lord gives both death and life;
he brings some down to the grave[b] but raises others up.
7 The Lord makes some poor and others rich;
he brings some down and lifts others up.
8 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
placing them in seats of honor.
For all the earth is the Lord’s,
and he has set the world in order.

9 “He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
10 Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength[c] of his anointed one.”

I samuel I part 2–Trading a Gift for a Blessing

One of the signs of submission in our lives, is our willingness to give up the things we hold most dear to be used by God.  Hannah wanted to be a mom worse than anything.  She cried and prayed for God to give her a child—he heard her cry. Born to her was a son Samuel.  What a precious gift and redemption.  Not only was she no longer barren, but she was given a son.  As soon as he was born—Hannah knew the son was to be committed to the Lord.  There was no regret, no hesitation–Hannah committed this child to God’s service.

What do we hold dear. What things are so important to us that we are heartbroken not to be realized.  Are there things so critical that we beseech the Lord day in and day out until he answers?  If he does answer, would we be willing to take the fruit of our prayers and place it back on God’s alter to be used by him? That is the way to be truly free.  As we are able to release what we hold dear, he is able to take it and use it and use us to complete his mission.  What a wonderful picture of God’s power and influence in our lives.  Help me, Lord to release those things I am holding so tightly that I am preventing you fro blessing them.

God Bless You

 As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. 13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. 14 “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”

15 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”

17 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

18 “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

I Samuel I Part I–Fervent Prayer

When we are hurting, there is nothing more powerful than prayer.  Prayer is our ongoing conversation with the one that created and loves us unconditionally.  The greatest gift we have is the ability to talk to God Directly.  We do not need an intermediary—we have Jesus the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. God wants to hear from us directly.  He wants the good and the bad.  He knows us, sees us and loves us.  Hannah cried out to him and God heard her prayer.  It did not happen overnight, but, he heard and he answered in a huge way.

We have to continue to cry out to God.  He is not Santa and he is not always going to change things instantly—but, like any father, He is always listening, loving and looking for ways to provide and protect his kids.  We may receive taunting, it may seem like you have prayed forever—but pray knowing he hears you and is preparing the best for you.

Help me Lord to seek you, and wait upon your answer—it is the best.

God Bless You

 And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion[b] because the Lord had given her no children. So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle.[c] Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.

“Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”

Hannah’s Prayer for a Son

Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle.[d] 10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.[e]

12 As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. 13 Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. 14 “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”

15 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. 16 Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”

17 “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”