In Today's Scripture Reading:
Samuel, the last judge; his mother and her sorrow; her song; Samuel hears the voice of God; all Israel knows Samuel as a prophet
Near the end of the period of the judges, we are introduced to Hannah, a godly woman who had lived many years in deep sorrow and humiliation because she could not have children. Since the Hebrew culture considered this a disgrace, year by year . . . she went up to the House of the Lord . . . (where her adversary) provoked (ridiculed) her; therefore she (Hannah) wept, and did not eat. . . . And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Thine handmaid, but wilt give unto Thine handmaid a man (male) child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life (I Samuel 1:7,11). And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked (noticed) her mouth. Now Hannah . . . spake in her heart; only her lips moved . . . therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? (1:12-14).
Although Hannah was wrongfully accused, she did not become angry, but graciously 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 (1:15-16). Had she reacted in anger toward Eli for being so judgmental she would have returned home with nothing but a bitter attitude. Instead of being angry, she entreated Eli, telling him that her desire was to have a son to dedicate in full-time service to the Lord. Then Eli . . . said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition (1:17). God answered Hannah's prayer and her son Samuel became the greatest spiritual leader during the 400-year period of the judges and united the tribes of Israel into one nation.
In striking contrast were Eli's sons, who committed adultery, and some of the Israelites who attended their annual festivals. We are reminded of some professing Christians who have not discovered that they cannot serve two masters. But, for Christians there is no middle ground, no compromise: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 6:5). The true child of God, like Hannah, has his heart set on higher aspirations. She responded to Eli the priest: I . . . have poured out my soul before the Lord (I Samuel 1:15). The unbelievers seek eagerly to gain the things of this world and its pleasures.
Just remember that when our first desire is to allow God to use our lives to fulfill His will, all the necessities of life shall be provided. The one who is intent on living for physical satisfaction is never satisfied. For we were created to let Christ be Lord of our lives. Then where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34).
1:6 provoked her sore =b> ridiculed her without mercy; 1:12 marked her mouth =b> noticed her mouth moving; 1:16 daughter of Belial =b> a sinful woman; 2:1 horn =b> strength; 2:8 pillars of the earth =b> God alone sustains and upholds the earth, a symbolic phrase like sun rises and sun sets; 2:10 His king . . . His anointed =b> Messiah, this is the first reference to Jesus Christ by the word Messiah; 2:13 in seething =b> being boiled; 2:15 sodden =b> boiled; 2:29 Wherefore kick ye =b> Why do you rebel?; 2:31 cut off thine arm =b> break your strength; 3:19 did let none of his words fall to the ground =b> did not ignore or show casual concern for His Word; some theologians believe it means =eard him when he prayed.
By Samuel who grew in favor with God and men (I Samuel 2:26). And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).
Pray for our Military worldwide Country: Madagascar (15 million) an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique Major languages: French and Malagasy Increasingly anti-Christian 43% witchcraft, ancestor worship, and some astrology; 21% Protestant; 21% Roman Catholic; 2% Muslim Prayer Suggestion: Pray and fast in secret so that only the Lord knows (Matthew 6:16-18).
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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: II Peter 1:7