Tuesday 20 September, 2016

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then there were problems, God had left the nation and that meant His blessing and favour had gone, His protection withdrawn.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

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

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

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

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!


Written by Ps Justin Ware

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Thursday 15 September, 2016

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

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

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

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

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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