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Bible Pathways 04/01/2002

April 01

Read 1 Samuel 1 -- 3

In Today's Reading:

What a contrast in lifestyles l We see the ever-present behavior of both good and evil in these chapters l The Book opens with the sorrowing, and later the singing, of saintly Hannah who was unable to have children l Finally she pleads with God for a son. After Samuel is born, she keeps her vow and he is dedicated to serve the Lord l Hannah's prophetic prayer and praise to God is exciting l The godly lives of Hannah and her son Samuel are a striking contrast to the sinful sons of Eli who served as priests but openly flaunted their wicked lifestyle.

Verse for Today:

And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord. . . . And the Word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. . . . the Lord called Samuel. . . . Then Samuel answered, Speak; for Thy servant heareth. . . . And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. . . . for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1).

Eli was judge of Israel as well as high priest of the Tabernacle which Joshua had placed in Shiloh about 250 years before this time (Joshua 18:1; Judges 18:31). Eli's moral character is never questioned, but his two sons who assisted him were morally evil and took advantage of the people (1 Samuel 3:12-13).

Eli was the spiritual leader of the nation, but his worldly-minded sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were vile (3:13). Their spiritual and moral corruption influenced the people so that moral and spiritual indifference to the will of God prevailed. Because of this, the Word of the Lord was precious (there was seldom a prophetic revelation from God). . . . there was no open vision (little was known of the will of God) (3:1).

The reason the Word of the Lord was not understood is the same reason why it is not clearly understood today. We cannot understand God's Word or His will if we do not read all the Bible with a desire to please Him.

Samuel and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, grew up together in Shiloh. But what a difference there was between them. Samuel ministered [to] the Lord . . . then Samuel answered, speak; for [your] servant [hears] . . . and the Lord was with him (3:1,10,19).

Eli's failure to discipline his sons, or to remove them from their priestly responsibilities once he knew of their sins, eventually destroyed his credibility as a spiritual leader. When parents fail to discipline their children, both they and their children dishonor God by not doing His will. If we expect our children to please God, we must diligently teach them His Word.

In the hectic pace of our times, we are all tempted to neglect setting aside time to read the Bible -- the only written Word from God to mankind. The Lord declared through the Apostle Paul: Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. . . . And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:16-17).

Christ Portrayed:

By Samuel, who grew in favor with God and men (1 Samuel 2:26). And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in [favor] with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Word Studies:

1:6 provoked her sore = ridiculed her without mercy; 1:12 marked her mouth = noticed her mouth moving; 1:16 daughter of Belial = a sinful woman; 2:1 horn = pride, strength to lift my head high; 2:8 pillars of the earth = God alone sustains, upholds the earth, a symbolic phrase like sun rises and sun sets; 2:10 His anointed = Messiah, a reference to Jesus Christ; 2:13 in seething = being cooked; 2:15 sodden = boiled; 2:29 Wherefore kick ye = Why are you dissatisfied, deal wrongly with me?; 2:31 cut off thine arm = cut off your family; 3:19 did let none of his words fall to the ground = did not ignore or show casual concern for His Word.

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.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Peter Deutsch (FL) · Country: Argentina (37 million) in southern South America · Major languages: Spanish and English · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 6% Protestant; 1% Muslim; 1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord in adversity, for He will hear (Psalms 116:1-4).

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: 1 Peter 2:2

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