* The opening chapter of 1 Samuel is describing how the prophet Samuel was born. I particularly like how Hannah's faithfulness to praying and asking God for a son was rewarded to her by God (vs.10-11, 19-20). She didn't give up on the possibility that God could give her favor and a child. One thing I find particularly fascinating is how Hannah made a vow to give her son back to the Lord to work for Him (vs 11) and when she did have a son (Samuel), after a couple of years and he had been weaned, she brought him to the Tabernacle and gave him to Eli the priest to be used for the Lord's work (vs. 25-28). Would you have been able to make that oath and keep it? She was wanting to have a son so badly, but then turned around a gave him to the Lord a few years afterward. That had to be difficult.
* Chapter 2 begins with Hannah singing a song of praise or a prayer of praise. This is reminiscent of the time when the Moses sister led the Israelites in a song of praise after crossing the Red Sea and Mary's song of praise in the book of Luke when she discovered that Elizabeth and her were both pregnant and they celebrated together. From this point in the story, there is a major scene shift taking place. The story turns away from Hannah and her husband Elkanah, and begins to focus on the rise of Samuel to the position of prophet, in which he will one day be responsible for anointing the first king of Israel, and shortly after, it's most prominent king, David.
* The last part of our reading focused on Eli the priest and his wicked sons. Eli's sons were taking advantage of their position by abusing the rights of being priest. They were eating the meat that was supposed to be used for the sacrifice and they were seducing the women who worked at the Tabernacle. Meanwhile Samuel is growing in the ways of the Lord, growing in both stature with God and people (2:26), which is reminiscent of the description of Jesus when he was 12 yrs old at the Temple. The most compelling passage in this entire first two chapters to me were spoken to Eli by a prophet from God who said,
"Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I tell him to do. I will bless his descendants, and his family will be priests to my anointed kings forever." (2:35)
This passage is pointing toward Samuel and his future role. This is also a sober reminder that God is no respecter of persons. God can and will do as He pleases. He doesn't owe anyone any favors. He chooses those He blesses by whether or not they listen and do as He says. That is the key: a person who will do as God says. My prayer for us as a people is that we would be those faithful servants that God raises up because we are careful to do everything that He tells to.
How about you? What things stood out to you as you read? What questions did it stir up?