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1 Samuel 1-3


A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                             
Thru the Bible in a Year
               The books of 1 & 2 Samuel take their name from the last ‘judge’ of Israel. He represented the bridge between the governmental system arising after Joshua to the kingship of Saul and the royal line of David. The current division dates back to the Greek translation of the Hebrew (about 250 B.C.); before that time there was just one book:  Samuel.
       This section (1-3) deals with the birth, training and call of Samuel. His birth was answer to a prayer and vow made by his mother, Hannah, that if God would give her a son, she would dedicate him to God, following the pattern described in Numbers 6:1-21. Eli, who hears but misunderstands her praying jumps to the conclusion she is drunk (a rather insensitive response), but later demonstrates his ability to care as he blesses her (1:17).
       When Samuel is born, he is dedicated to God, and after a brief stay with his mother he is taken to Eli for training in God’s service. Her song of praise is considered a classic of Hebrew poetry and stands with David’‘s song of praise at the end of 2 Samuel like one of two bookends which, in their substance summarize the nature of God’s grace and power which is the theme of the entire narrative.
       It becomes clear from 2:12 that Eli’s skills as a parent are woefully inadequate, and explains why there is no passing down to his own sons of the priestly office Eli holds in Israel. The words of 2:17 are worth noting:  The sin [of Eli’s sons] ... was very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt. As a result of all this, a messenger comes from God to inform Eli that He will raise ... a faithful priest (2:35) who will do according to what is in My heart and mind.
       Samuel’s call is misunderstood by him, but not by Eli, who has been prepared for just such an eventuality by his awareness that his own sons cannot carry on in his place. Eli sends Samuel towards God, and, to his credit, assists the boy in growing into the leadership he might have preferred his own sons to assume.
       Do you ever catch yourself avoiding the hard tasks and later wishing you had done more . . . sooner?  Have you ever failed to recognize God’s call?  We need to take seriously our responsibilities towards the training of our children and example of our lives. We also need to be very sure that God speaks to us just as He did to Samuel. Perhaps the voice is not audible, but He has a calling for each of our lives.
       Today, ask God what He wants from your life and then use the answer in 3:16.     
© A. Eugene Pearson 2012