1 Samuel 1-2: God Is on the Move
May 1, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
God is on the move. It starts in a surprising place, in weakness. A man had two wives (1:2). Immediately we know something is not right, either with him or his family or the center of worship to which he nonetheless attended. Not only did he have two wives, but he foolishly overtly favored one over the other, stoking jealously (1:5-6). When Hannah could not conceive, Elkanah, with an extraordinary touch of double insensitivity, attempted to comfort her by saying that surely he was worth more than many sons (1:8)! This is not an auspicious beginning to a new move of God.
But Hannah prays (1:10). O pray! Pray! Pray! Her prayers are answered (1:20), but not before we sense how much her prayers need to be answered not just for herself but for all God’s people. Eli, the priest, is so unaccustomed to seeing people pray at the house of God that he assumes she must be drunk when she prays passionately, if silently (1:12-14). God’s house is to be a house of prayer (Matt. 21:13)!
Samuel, the great prophet and priest and judge, is given to serve the Lord in fulfillment of Hannah’s vow (1:221-28), and Hannah once again (a woman of prayer) prays the famous prayer of 1 Samuel 2. It is a Messianic prayer (“anointed,” v. 10, is Messiah), and it declares how God’s strength, or his “horn,” will be revealed in his king (v. 10)—later known to be David, and finally the Christ.
While Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord (2:21), Eli’s sons go from bad to worse (2:12-17). Their sin receives a rather mild mannered rebuke. Eli did not stop them, he told them off gently (2:22-25). We can almost imagine them laughing as he spoke. When we have authority to act and do not, we are guilty—and Eli is rejected for his weakness (2:27-36). A good man but a weak man. As Edmund Burke said, “All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Take courage in both our hands and stand up for what is right and oppose the evil.
But Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man (2:26). God is on the move.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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