PRAYER AND PUNISHMENT
1 Samuel 2
Hannah brings Samuel to Eli fulfilling the vow that she made to the Lord, but her response is not that of a mother struggling with temporary separation instead she breaks out in praise to the Lord. Hannah's song would echo later in a song from the mother of Jesus. The refrain in Hannah's song is the goodness, glory, and power of God. Joy has replaced the misery of being childless. Hannah rejoices in God for his faithfulness, his holiness, his strength, and his knowledge. God weighs actions and renders righteous judgments. Hannah testifies that God governs well as he brings low or exalts. The righteous are under the care of God, while the wicked are shrouded in darkness when God withdraws the light of his grace. Hannah announces that God will judge the whole world, give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed, the Messiah. Samuel and his parents parted while he remained at Shiloh ministering to the Lord under the careful supervision of Eli.
Samuel is a son that is growing in his faith while Eli's sons are worthless and corrupt. The scripture says that these priests do not even know God. They showed a brazen disregard for sacred ceremonies. These priests seized their portion before the Lord received what was rightfully his and those that dared to question their actions were threatened with violence. These priests treated the things of the Lord with contempt. Samuel knew the Lord ministered before him. He lived simply, and each year Hannah would make him a new robe and bring it to him in Shiloh when the family came to offer sacrifices. Eli blessed Hannah every year, and she had three more sons and two daughters. Samuel was growing in grace while Eli's sons presumed upon grace. Eli heard the whispers of the people, and when he learned that his sons were having sexual relations with the women who served at the tabernacle, he tried to deal with them. Eli warned Hophni and Phineas because there was no one to mediate for them as they sinned against the Lord. These men would not listen to the voice of their father for God had judged them and it was his will to put them to death. Samuel in stature and favor with God and man.
A man of God came to Eli with dreadful news. This unnamed prophet reminded Eli what a privilege it was to be a priest of God. The Lord had chosen the family of Aaron for the priestly honor. Eli was responsible for his sons and the disrespect being shown for God’s sacrifice. Eli honored his sons more than the Lord did not fulfill his role as high priest. God has to act resolutely toward sin, and this pattern of disobedience brought terrible consequences. Eli's sons would not live to see old age, and they would perish together on the same day. God would raise up a faithful priest who would walk faithfully before the Lord.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think Hannah's prayer was referenced by Mary concerning Jesus?
- How do you trust God when things are difficult?
- Do you ever thank God for his character and his attributes? Why or why not?
- Why should we trust God's justice?
- How was Samuel growing?
- Why do you think Eli's sons exhibited ongoing disobedience?
- Do you think Eli treated Samuel differently than his sons during his training? Why?
- What does the interaction between Eli and his sons teach us about ongoing family issues?
- Who mediates for us when we sin?
- Who is our faithful priest?