Tuesday 20 September, 2016

1 Samuel 4:12-22

12 That same day a man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the front lines of the battle. He went to Shiloh. His clothes were torn. He had dust on his head. 13 When he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair. He was by the side of the road. He was watching because his heart was really concerned about the ark of God. The man entered the town and told everyone what had happened. Then the whole town cried out. 14 Eli heard the people crying out. He asked, “What’s the meaning of all this noise?” The man hurried over to Eli. 15 Eli was 98 years old. His eyes were so bad he couldn’t see. 16 The man told Eli, “I’ve just come from the front lines of the battle. I just ran away from there today.” Eli asked, “What happened, son?” 17 The man who brought the news replied, “Israel ran away from the Philistines. Large numbers of men in the army were wounded or killed. Your two sons Hophni and Phinehas are also dead. And the ark of God has been captured.” 18 When the man spoke about the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair. He had been sitting by the side of the gate. When he fell, he broke his neck and died. He was old and fat. He had led Israel for 40 years. 19 The wife of Phinehas was pregnant. She was Eli’s daughter-in-law. It was near the time for her baby to be born. She heard the news that the ark of God had been captured. She heard that her father-in-law and her husband were dead. So she went into labor and had her baby. Her pain was more than she could bear. 20 As she was dying, the women helping her spoke up. They said, “Don’t be afraid. You have had a son.” But she didn’t reply. She didn’t pay any attention. 21 She named the boy Ichabod. She said, “The God of glory has left Israel.” She said it because the ark of God had been captured. She also said it because her father-in-law and her husband had died. 22 She said, “The God of glory has left Israel.” She said it because the ark of God had been captured.

A runner arrives from the battlefront with devastating news. Israel is defeated, the Ark of God captured & Eli’s sons killed. At the news, Eli himself dies. Then his daughter-in-law goes into labour and also dies. The prophecies of the death & judgement upon Eli & his family given in 2:27-34 & again in 3:11-14 are fulfilled.

The Ark – the glory of God – the presence of God as Israel knew it, is gone. This is the first time the Ark has been taken from Israel. This is what Eli and his daughter-in-law reacted to, God was gone.

We don’t ever have to have that fear. Jesus and the presence of God can not be taken from us by force. No matter where we go His presence is already there, it goes along with us and through the Holy Spirit lives in us. I can no longer imagine life without God, He is my constant, always with me, and my life with Him will never end.

I am forever grateful.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

2 replies
  1. Zoe Stewart says:

    So Good!! We are so blessed! Forever together never to be seperated. Not in life or in death. Thanks Suzie for this reminder today.

  2. Richard says:

    1 Samuel 4:12-22

    A battle is waged and Israel is defeated. The sons of Eli are killed and importantly the Ark of the Covenant is captured.

    For Israel the Ark of the Covenant was the very presence of God with them. When it was in the temple or the tabernacle then God was present to the Israelites. If for some reason it was captured then there were problems, God had left the nation and that meant His blessing and favour had gone, His protection withdrawn.

    This was the first time the Ark had been captured from the Israelites and Eli the leader of the nation knew what it meant. So concerned was he that he fell off his chair in shock and horror and died. For Eli to lose the Ark was to lose God, a prospect so terrible he did not want to contemplate it.

    For me this begs the question about my desire for the Holy Spirit to dwell in me. Do I crave the Holy Spirit’s indwelling? Do I look to make the Holy Spirit welcome in my life through my actions and attitudes or do I grieve the Holy Spirit. David, after his sin with Bathsheba, famously says “do not take your Holy Spirit from me” in Ps. 51.

    I need to crave the Lord being with me. To take decisions and actions that truly give room for the Spirit to be at work in me.

    Father help me to bring honour and glory to You. May I live in a manner that makes the Holy Spirit truly welcome in my life.

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Monday 19 September, 2016

1 Samuel 4:1b-11

The Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer. The Philistines camped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines brought their forces together to fight against Israel. As the fighting spread, the Israelites lost the battle to the Philistines. The Philistines killed about 4,000 of them on the field of battle. 3 The rest of the Israelite soldiers returned to camp. Then the elders asked them, “Why did the Lord let the Philistines win the battle over us today? Let’s bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh. Let’s take it with us. Then the Lord will save us from the power of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent men to Shiloh. They brought back the ark of the Lord’s covenant law. He sits there on his throne between the cherubim. The Lord is the one who rules over all. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God’s covenant law. The ark was in Shiloh. 5 The ark of the Lord’s covenant law was brought into the camp. Then all the Israelites shouted so loudly that the ground shook. 6 The Philistines heard the noise. They asked, “What’s all that shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” Then the Philistines found out that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. 7 So they were afraid. “A god has come into their camp,” they said. “Oh no! Nothing like this has ever happened before. 8 How terrible it will be for us! Who will save us from the power of these mighty gods? They struck down the people of Egypt in the desert. They sent all kinds of plagues on them. 9 Philistines, be strong! Fight like men! If you don’t, you will come under the control of the Hebrews. You will become their slaves, just as they have been your slaves. Fight like men!” 10 So the Philistines fought. The Israelites lost the battle, and every man ran back to his tent. A large number of them were killed. Israel lost 30,000 soldiers who were on foot. 11 The ark of God was captured. And Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas died.

A God idea or a “God-like” idea

Why did the Israelites fail? They did something that would appear to be an extension of their faith. It looked like they had put God right back in the middle of their victory plan.

But “their” lies the problem. It’s their victory plan. It appears very much like something God might suggest but it is not what he suggested. They did not go to God and ask “what should we do?”. In the Old Testament, every time the Israelites seek God and ask him what to do, mostly in what would seem impossible situations, He gives them a plan. And each time they follow this plan, as God has given it, they have Victory. Every time they don’t ask or don’t obey, they fail.

Lord, help me to come to you and ask you for your plans, so that I might be victorious in this life and bring you glory and honour.

Written by Zoe Stewart

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Sunday 18 September, 2016

1 Samuel 3:1 - 4:1a

3 The boy Samuel served the Lord under the direction of Eli. In those days the Lord didn’t give many messages to his people. He didn’t give them many visions. 2 One night Eli was lying down in his usual place. His eyes were becoming so weak he couldn’t see very well. 3 Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s house. That’s where the ark of God was kept. The lamp of God was still burning. 4 The Lord called out to Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 He ran over to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called out to me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Again the Lord called out, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “Here I am. You called out to me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” 7 Samuel didn’t know the Lord yet. That’s because the Lord still hadn’t given him a message. 8 The Lord called out for the third time. He said, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli. He said, “Here I am. You called out to me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If someone calls out to you again, say, ‘Speak, Lord. I’m listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The Lord came and stood there. He called out, just as he had done the other times. He said, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel replied, “Speak. I’m listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Pay attention! I am about to do something terrible in Israel. It will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will do everything to Eli and his family that I said I would. I will finish what I have started. 13 I told Eli I would punish his family forever. He knew his sons were sinning. He knew they were saying bad things about me. In spite of that, he did not stop them. 14 So I made a promise to the family of Eli. I said, ‘The sins of Eli’s family will never be paid for by bringing sacrifices or offerings.’ ” 15 Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. He was afraid to tell Eli about the vision he had received. 16 But Eli called out to him. He said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 17 “What did the Lord say to you?” Eli asked. “Don’t hide from me anything he told you. If you do, may God punish you greatly.” 18 So Samuel told him everything. He didn’t hide anything from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord. Let him do what he thinks is best.” 19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him. He made everything Samuel said come true. 20 So all the Israelites recognized that Samuel really was a prophet of the Lord. Everyone from Dan all the way to Beersheba knew it. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh. There he made himself known to Samuel through the messages he gave him. 4 And Samuel gave those messages to all the Israelites.

There are a two major themes in this amazing passage. One is hearing God’s voice and the other is the importance of Fathers and their kids.

It seems Eli wasn’t a very good priest or a good Father. His sons were running wild and doing disgraceful things and “messages from The Lord were very rare and visions were uncommon” v1. The reason behind Samuel’s late night call from God was to inform Samuel that God had had enough of Eli and his sons. What a terrible message to have to convey to Eli.

Here’s the real question …Am I behaving like a good Father and “priest” to my children? Bringing them up to know, love, listen to and obey the God that loves them so much? Am I making raising my family in God my highest priority – higher than my own selfish desires and agendas? How hard do I pray for them? Am I listening to my Father in heaven as intently as I am able, to hear from Him on their behalf? To pass on words of guidance and instruction? Or will someone else receive a vision about me – to pass on a terrible message that I haven’t done the job as well as I should have?

O Lord, thank you for this devastating wake up call – help me not be a Father and Priest like Eli. Please help me listen to You, pray my heart out for my family and raise them to know and follow you.  In Jesus name I ask. Amen

Written by Boudy VanNoppen

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Saturday 17 September, 2016

1 Samuel 2:27-36

27 A man of God came to Eli. He told him, “The Lord says, ‘I made myself clearly known to your relatives who lived long ago. I did it when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh’s rule. 28 At that time, I chose Aaron from your family line to be my priest. I chose him out of all the tribes of Israel. I told him to go up to my altar. I told him to burn incense. I chose him to wear a linen apron when he served me. I also gave his family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. 29 Why don’t you treat my sacrifices and offerings with respect? I require them to be brought to the house where I live. Why do you honor your sons more than me? Why do you fatten yourselves on the best parts of every offering that is made by my people Israel?’ 30 “The Lord is the God of Israel. He announced, ‘I promised that members of your family line would serve me as priests forever.’ But now the Lord announces, ‘I will not let that happen! I will honor those who honor me. But I will turn away from those who look down on me. 31 The time is coming when I will cut your life short. I will also cut short the lives of those in your family line of priests. No one in your family line will grow old. 32 You will see nothing but trouble in the house where I live. Good things will still happen to Israel. But no one in your family line will ever grow old. 33 I will prevent the members of your family from serving me at my altar. I will destroy the eyesight of all of you I allow to live. I will also cause you to lose your strength. And everyone in your family line will die while they are still young. 34 “ ‘Something is going to happen to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. When it does, it will show you that what I am saying is true. They will both die on the same day. 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest. He will do what my heart and mind want him to do. I will make his family line of priests very secure. They will always serve as priests to my anointed king. 36 Everyone left in your family line will come and bow down to him. They will beg him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread. They will say, “Please give me a place to serve among the priests. Then I can have food to eat.” ’ ”

What a terrible judgement: to be despised by God would be even worse than to die tragically.

My initial reaction is that it seems harsh. It’s true that Eli’s sons were the most dreadful bullies, abusing their positions as priests and dishonouring God in the place where He should have been most honoured. But hadn’t Eli spoken out and told them to stop this behaviour?

Although he told them to stop, he did nothing to make them stop. They continued as priests with no respect for God. They continued dishonouring God by taking the best from His sacrifices and it seems that Eli continued to grow fat on what they took.

Words without action are empty.

I’m struck that contempt towards God is a really serious thing. I’m struck by the seriousness of God’s response: “I will despise those who think lightly of me” (v30). It concerns me that my country (which I love) increasingly thinks lightly of God.

But I’m also struck by God’s promise: “I will honour those who honour me” (v30). God is faithful. He sees those whose hearts are for Him. He honours those who seek His honour first.

I’m reminded of Eric Lidell (made famous in the film “Chariots of Fire”), who refused to run in the final of his best race at the 1924 Olympics because it was on a Sunday. Moments before he ran in the 400 yards final, one of the American team handed him a piece of paper with that promise “He that honors me, I will honor” (KJV). And He did. Eric won with a new world record.

I’m challenged to always honour Him first: in my heart, and in my words, and in my actions. And I’m grateful to have the greatest honour of all: to be made His son.

Written by David Cornell

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Friday 16 September, 2016

1 Samuel 2:22-26

22 Eli was very old. He kept hearing about everything his sons were doing to all the Israelites. He also heard how his sons were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 So Eli said to his sons, “Why are you doing these things? All the people are telling me about the evil things you are doing. 24 No, my sons. The report I hear isn’t good. And it’s spreading among the Lord’s people. 25 If a person sins against someone else, God can help that sinner. But if anyone sins against the Lord, who can help them?” In spite of what their father Eli said, his sons didn’t pay any attention to his warning. That’s because the Lord had already decided to put them to death. 26 The boy Samuel continued to grow stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to the Lord and to people.

Verse 25 says “if one man wrongs another then God will intercede, but if a man wrongs God, who will intercede for him?”

I don’t like to think for too long on the number of times where I have wronged God. I know I do. Multiple times a day. On a good day, another person (if they were gracious) might even describe me as being a “good man.” But if the requirement for acceptance of God was to never wrong Him, I would be in a lot of trouble according to Samuel (even though I am hopefully more obedient than Samuel’s sons!)

Fortunately there is a direct answer elsewhere in the Bible to Samuel’s question of “who will intercede.” 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us that “… there is hope! There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

Wow that is a relief.

Lord, thankyou that your justice is full and complete, so that no evil person can on their own merit, just be OK with you. You desire to destroy all wrong and wrongdoing because it is unacceptable to you. I am imperfect in so many ways and next to Your goodness, there is no way I can measure up to the perfect standard that you rightfully need. But You have made a way for someone like me in that Jesus, your Son, lived the perfect life that I couldn’t, and died the death that I deserve, took all the punishment that was meant for me. Then He gave me his perfection to put on, so that I am now able to be perfect in Your eyes and in relationship with you, so that You are now completely working in my favour!

Amen

Written by Ps Justin Ware

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Thursday 15 September, 2016

1 Samuel 2:18-21

18 But the boy Samuel served the Lord. He wore a sacred linen apron. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe. She took it to him when she went up to Shiloh with her husband. She did it when her husband went to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife. He would say, “May the Lord give you children by this woman. May they take the place of the boy she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. 21 The Lord was gracious to Hannah. Over a period of years she had three more sons and two daughters. During that whole time the boy Samuel grew up serving the Lord.

What really strikes me in the opening of this passage is verse 18, “But Samuel… served the Lord.” It has the implication that despite what was happening around him and the separation he had from his family, Samuel chose to serve and follow God’s leading.

His age was not a barrier. His circumstances were not a barrier. He was submissive to God and served Him faithfully. When reading this verse in the International Children’s Bible it says, “But Samuel obeyed the Lord”. This brings to light that we serve God by obeying Him. I am challenged to look at how I live day to day, and reflect on whether or not I am obeying what God asks of me.

God, I Thank You that You are guiding me today. Please help me to follow Your leading and obey You despite my circumstances. In Jesus’ name.

Written by Laura Samperi

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Wednesday 14 September, 2016

1 Samuel 2:12-17

12 Eli’s sons were good for nothing. They didn’t honor the Lord. 13 When any of the people came to offer a sacrifice, here is what the priests would do. While the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a large fork in his hand. 14 He would stick the fork into the pan or pot or small or large kettle. Then the priest would take for himself everything the fork brought up. That’s how Eli’s sons treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15 Even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come over. He would speak to the person who was offering the sacrifice. He would say, “Give the priest some meat to cook. He won’t accept boiled meat from you. He’ll only accept raw meat.” 16 Sometimes the person would say to him, “Let the fat be burned first. Then take what you want.” But the servant would answer, “No. Hand it over right now. If you don’t, I’ll take it away from you by force.” 17 That sin of Eli’s sons was very great in the Lord’s sight. That’s because they were not treating his offering with respect.

Having respect or regard for the Lord, fearing God, and knowing Him personally changes the way we live and the way we treat others. Eli’s sons in various translations are described as not knowing the Lord, having no respect for the Lord or their priestly duties, and not caring about God…. God didn’t mean anything to them, and so they didn’t care about God, about the relationship between God and His people, and they didn’t care for His people. Their actions of taking the best meat for themselves without regard for the people making the sacrifice, and later in the chapter in sleeping with women serving in the temple area show that they were simple looking out for themselves, using and abusing for their own gain. It’s an unflattering portrait.

My responsibility is to keep living from a place of respect and love for God, that I would be terrified of living outside of His protection, unlike Eli’s sons.

Lord, thank you that your love and grace is at work in my heart, please challenge me in the areas where I am living selfishly. Bring fresh revelation of your love, such that it overflows in every interaction I have. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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Tuesday 13 September, 2016

1 Samuel 2:1-11

2 Then Hannah prayed. She said, “The Lord has filled my heart with joy. He has made me strong. I can laugh at my enemies. I’m so glad he saved me. 2 “There isn’t anyone holy like the Lord. There isn’t anyone except him. There isn’t any Rock like our God. 3 “Don’t keep talking so proudly. Don’t let your mouth say such proud things. The Lord is a God who knows everything. He judges everything people do. 4 “The bows of great heroes are broken. But those who trip and fall are made strong. 5 Those who used to be full have to work for food. But those who used to be hungry aren’t hungry anymore. The woman who couldn’t have children has seven of them now. But the woman who has had many children is sad now because hers have died. 6 “The Lord causes people to die. He also gives people life. He brings people down to the grave. He also brings people up from death. 7 The Lord makes people poor. He also makes people rich. He brings people down. He also lifts people up. 8 He raises poor people up from the trash pile. He lifts needy people out of the ashes. He lets them sit with princes. He gives them places of honor. “The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord. On them he has set the world. 9 He guards the paths of his faithful servants. But evil people will lie silent in their dark graves. “People don’t win just because they are strong. 10 Those who oppose the Lord will be totally destroyed. The Most High God will thunder from heaven. The Lord will judge the earth from one end to the other. “He will give power to his king. He will give honor to his anointed one.” 11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. But the boy Samuel served the Lord under the direction of Eli the priest.

As a young person reading the story of Hannah, I was always confused about how Hannah could pray for years for a child, and then gladly hand that same child over to be raised by someone else.

Yet reading Hannah’s prayer, I can see that Hannah has such a real and personal understanding of who God is, and because of this the true depth of her faith is revealed in her actions.

We can see this by how she prays to God – The Lord has filled her heart with joy, The Lord has made her strong, The Lord has saved her. God is not some distant idea to her, He is a very real person in her world who is always working in her life. She knows this as she has proof that God has been good to her, He has given her a son, Samuel.

It is because Hannah knows her God that she can place Samuel in Eli’s care for the service of The Lord. She has faith that God has the best plans for Samuel, that his future is most assured in the hands of God. She knows that it is God who has made it possible for her to have a son, and as such is able to surrender him, even though it means that she will miss out on many aspects of Samuel growing up.

Further on we see that God indeed rewards Hannah’s faith, and she is blessed with several more children.

Faith stems from relationship with God. Lord, may I always know you in a real and personal way, like Hannah, that I too may have faith that puts you first.

Written by Madelaine Tarasenko

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Monday 12 September, 2016

1 Samuel 1:21-28

21 Elkanah went up to Shiloh to offer the yearly sacrifice to the Lord. He also went there to keep a promise he had made. His whole family went with him. 22 But Hannah didn’t go. She said to her husband, “When the boy doesn’t need me to breast-feed him anymore, I’ll take him to the Lord’s house. I’ll give him to the Lord there. He’ll stay there for the rest of his life.” 23 Her husband Elkanah told her, “Do what you think is best. Stay here at home until Samuel doesn’t need you to breast-feed him anymore. May the Lord make his promise to you come true.” So Hannah stayed home. She breast-fed her son until he didn’t need her milk anymore. 24 When the boy didn’t need her to breast-feed him anymore, she took him with her to Shiloh. She took him there even though he was still very young. She brought him to the Lord’s house. She brought along a bull that was three years old. She brought 36 pounds of flour. She also brought a bottle of wine. The bottle was made out of animal skin. 25 After the bull was sacrificed, Elkanah and Hannah brought the boy to Eli. 26 Hannah said to Eli, “Pardon me, sir. I’m the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. And that’s just as sure as you are alive. 27 I prayed for this child. The Lord has given me what I asked him for. 28 So now I’m giving him to the Lord. As long as he lives he’ll be given to the Lord.” And there Eli worshiped the Lord.

It’s interesting to see what amazing stories there are about the lives of some of the giants of the Old Testament. This is part of the story for Samuel. As you have read over the last couple of days, Hannah had not been able to have children, she regularly was subjected to ridicule in this regard by those around her and she finally collapsed before God, acknowledging her sadness and asking for His help.

In this passage we hear that God answered her desperate prayer. Once the baby was born Hannah didn’t forget that it was by God’s hand that Samuel was born. We see that she remained committed to do what she had promised God she would do – to give Samuel to the Lord for his life – even though he was her baby. Then we see that she did follow through and gave the child to the people at the Temple – in particular Eli.

Do we take those issues causing us pain before God? Are we honest about how we feel? Do we acknowledge we need God’s help? Do we follow through? It can be difficult – we forget what we discussed in prayer or life just takes over and the matter gets sorted and we don’t say thank you. Hannah’s connection with God, her acknowledgement of her need for God’s help and her follow through set the scene for Samuel’s amazing life. Who would he have been if his mother had been someone else?

Lord help us to rely on You, to bring our heart’s desires to You, to seek Your help instead of trying to fix things ourselves. Help us to remember Your assistance and to live our lives in obedience. Thank You for Your help and Your interest in all of our lives.

Written by Therese Manning

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    Yes such a heart of thankfulness that she gave up this beloved boy. But what would God’s people have done without such a wise leader/ prophet?? Just like when he chose Mary, Hannah was God’s perfect choice. And God himself made a huge sacrifice for us when he gave up his only son to die in our place. Thank you

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Sunday 11 September, 2016

1 Samuel 1:1-20

1 A certain man from Ramathaim in the hill country of Ephraim was named Elkanah. He was the son of Jeroham. Jeroham was the son of Elihu. Elihu was the son of Tohu. Tohu was the son of Zuph. Elkanah belonged to the family line of Zuph. Elkanah lived in the territory of Ephraim. 2 Elkanah had two wives. One was named Hannah. The other was named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah didn’t. 3 Year after year Elkanah went up from his town to Shiloh. He went there to worship and sacrifice to the Lord who rules over all. Hophni and Phinehas served as priests of the Lord at Shiloh. They were the two sons of Eli. 4 Every year at Shiloh, the day would come for Elkanah to offer a sacrifice. On that day, he would give a share of the meat to his wife Peninnah. He would also give a share to each of her sons and daughters. 5 But he would give two shares of meat to Hannah. That’s because he loved her. He also gave her two shares because the Lord had kept her from having children. 6 Peninnah teased Hannah to make her angry. She did it because the Lord had kept Hannah from having children. 7 Peninnah teased Hannah year after year. Every time Hannah would go up to the house of the Lord, Elkanah’s other wife would tease her. She would keep doing it until Hannah cried and wouldn’t eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why don’t you eat? Why are you so unhappy? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” 9 One time when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 Hannah was very sad. She wept and wept. She prayed to the Lord. 11 She made a promise to him. She said, “Lord, you rule over all. Please see how I’m suffering! Show concern for me! Don’t forget about me! Please give me a son! If you do, I’ll give him back to the Lord. Then he will serve the Lord all the days of his life. He’ll never use a razor on his head. He’ll never cut his hair.” 12 As Hannah kept on praying to the Lord, Eli watched her lips. 13 She was praying in her heart. Her lips were moving. But she wasn’t making a sound. Eli thought Hannah was drunk. 14 He said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Stop drinking your wine.” 15 “That’s not true, sir,” Hannah replied. “I’m a woman who is deeply troubled. I haven’t been drinking wine or beer. I was telling the Lord all my troubles. 16 Don’t think of me as an evil woman. I’ve been praying here because I’m very sad. My pain is so great.” 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace. May the God of Israel give you what you have asked him for.” 18 She said, “May you be pleased with me.” Then she left and had something to eat. Her face wasn’t sad anymore. 19 Early the next morning Elkanah and his family got up. They worshiped the Lord. Then they went back to their home in Ramah. Elkanah slept with his wife Hannah. And the Lord blessed her. 20 So after some time, Hannah became pregnant. She had a baby boy. She said, “I asked the Lord for him.” So she named him Samuel.

Hannah suffered great grief as she dealt with the reality of not being able to have any children. She had her own grief but on top of that she was made fun by Peninnah who had children! A greater deeper grief enveloped her. Here in this passage we see a great woman of God – enveloped in her grief – but she chose to run to her God – to pour out her heart to Him and to beg Him for mercy and the gift of a son. So desperate and grief stricken was she when she was praying that Eli the priest scolded her for being drunk and tried to send her away from the temple.

Lord – when was the last time that in my grief I ran to you and begged you to intervene – desperate for you to answer my prayers? It is so easy to pray nice prayers – that don’t reveal the depth of my hurt or grief. It is much easier to ask you to do something but put all my trust in myself to make it happen. This week may I be bold and desperate enough to pray like Hannah about those things that are weighing heavy on my heart and then place all my faith in You to answer.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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