Read I Samuel 1 -- 3
Near the end of the period of the Judges, we are introduced to Hannah, a godly woman who was devoted to the Lord, yet who had lived for many years in deep sorrow and humiliation because she could not have children. This was considered a disgrace; but year by year . . . she went up to the House of the Lord. . . . While worshiping at the Tabernacle, she wept, and did not eat. . . . And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou will indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid and remember me, and give to thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life (I Samuel 1:7,11). Although Hannah had prayed for a son for many years, she did not give up, but continued praying . . . . she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli (the Priest) thought she was drunk. And Eli (spoke harshly to Hannah and) said to her, How long will you be drunk? (1:12-14). Although she was wrongfully accused, Hannah did not become angry, but graciously and humbly answered Eli: No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Count not your handmaid for a daughter of Belial (1:15-16).
As priest and judge, it was Elis responsibility to rebuke those who did evil. In this case, Elis misjudgment was truly a test of the genuineness of Hannahs humility. Had she reacted in indignation and anger toward Eli for being so judgmental, she would have returned home the same as when she came, as a woman of a sorrowful spirit, but with a bitter attitude. However instead of being angry or insulted, she entreated Eli, telling him of her sorrow. Eli said to Hannah: Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him (1:17). Hannah returned home rejoicing.
Just think! Hannah lived centuries before the New Testament experience of having Christ living within, of being filled with the Holy Spirit; and yet we see Hannah maintaining a godly attitude.
The acceptance of rebuke in a right spirit, even when it is undeserved, is often a means of obtaining our answer to prayer. Hannah anticipated with supreme desire and great joy that her son would be a servant of God, not merely to please her ego, but to fulfill the will of God. But we need more parents whose foremost desire for their children is that they be devoted to Christ. In the midst of moral and spiritual chaos, Hannah's prayer was answered: Samuel ministered before the Lord (2:18). The Word of the Lord was precious in those days (3:1), meaning rare and seldom heard because there was so little interest in the will of God. Regardless of how successful our children are in worldly pursuits, there is no greater satisfaction for a parent than knowing their children are actively involved in serving the Lord who said seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
Christ Portrayed: By Samuel who grew in favor with God and men (I Samuel 2:26). And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).
Word Studies: 2:1 horn means strength to lift my head high; 2:8 pillars of the earth means God alone sustains, upholds the earth, a symbolic phrase such as when we say sun rises and sun sets; 2:29 Wherefore kick ye means Why are you dissatisfied, deal wrongly with me?; 2:31 cut off thine arm means removed from leadership; 3:19 did let none of his words fall to the ground means no word that he spoke went unfulfilled.
NOTE: Definitions may not agree with present-day usage as given in your dictionary; we attempt to explain the thought expressed in the original language.
Government Official: Rep. Peter Deutsch (FL) · Pray for your church leaders · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by a family who loves Jesus · Country: Cameroon (15 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: English and French · Pressure on Christians from authorities and Muslims · 28% Roman Catholic; 23% Muslim; 18% animism, divination, and animal sacrifices; 14% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Cry out to God daily for mercy (Psalms 86:3).
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: Matthew 6:33