Highlights:

Hannah's prayer for a child; her vow to God; birth of Samuel; God warns Eli; God calls Samuel.

And the Word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. . . . And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of His words fall to the ground. . . . the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the Lord (I Sam. 3:1,19,21).

It was a time when every man did that which was right in his own eyes — meaning did as they pleased with no regard for the Word of God (Judg. 17:6; 21:25). Samuel and the two sons of Eli grew up together in Shiloh, performing their duties in the Tabernacle. Hophni and Phinehas were indifferent to the Word of God, but Samuel grew in favor with the Lord because he let none of His words fall to the ground (I Sam. 3:19). This means that Samuel considered all of the Word of God important. He did everything the Lord commanded him to do. Samuel was careful to do the Lord's will. Like Samuel, we may live in the midst of evil, but we can shine as lights — holding forth the Word of Truth in our perverted generation.

The spiritual condition during that time can be seen in the immoral conduct of the priest's family. Eli was slack in disciplining his children (3:12-13). His vision began to wax dim, spiritually as well as physically. He was blind to his responsibilities (3:2; compare 2:26).

The Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the Word of God and His presence among them, had been at Shiloh since Joshua placed it there about 450 years earlier. But the general indifference to the will of God prevailed. Consequently, the Word of the Lord was precious (3:1) — meaning, there was seldom a prophetic revelation because the Word of God was seldom referred to in those days. There was no open vision — meaning, the Word of God was not clearly understood, and therefore little was known of the will of God.

The reason the Word of the Lord was not clearly understood is the same reason it is not clearly understood today. We cannot understand the Word of God and will not if we never read the Bible with a desire to know and then do His will. We cannot keep His Commandments if we do not know what they are. In the hectic pace of twenty-first-century America, countless thousands of words fill our minds every day from the newspapers, magazines, books, television, radio, and internet. Consequently, there is a serious neglect of setting aside time to read the Only Written Word from God to mankind.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom (Col. 3:16).

Thought for Today:

Through the power of the Word, the Christian can face even the most hopeless situation.

Christ Portrayed:

By Samuel who grew in favor with God and men (I Sam. 2:26). Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Word Studies:

1:6 sore, without mercy; 1:16 daughter of Belial, sinful woman; 2:1 horn, strength; is enlarged, rejoices greatly; 2:8 the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, God alone sustains and upholds the earth; 2:10 His King . . . His Anointed, Messiah; this is the first reference to Jesus' coming by the title Messiah; 2:13 in seething, being cooked; 2:15 sodden, boiled; 2:29 Wherefore kick ye, Why do you rebel?; 2:31 cut off thine arm, break your strength; 3:18 every whit, everything.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for our Military worldwide • Government Officials: Assoc. Justice Samuel A. Alito • Country: Albania (3.1 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Albanian and Greek • Newly opened to evangelism • 41.5% Christian; 39% Muslim; 18.5% non-Religious/Other; .2% Baha'i; .01% Jewish • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for ways to share His love with others (Heb. 6:10).

Optional Reading: Acts 2

NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 3:20