May 21, 2013
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 21 MAY 2013
First Samuel 2 begins with a prayer of spiritual thanksgiving (vv. 1-10). The chapter concludes with a spiritual contrast between the son of Hannah and the sons of the Eli (vv. 11-36). Hannah dedicated her son—that she earnestly desired—to the Lord. Hannah rejoiced not because Samuel (her son) was dedicated to service in the Tabernacle; rather, she knew that her son was a vessel in the outworking of God’s purpose and will. Hannah did not beseech God to grant her a son merely for herself but asked so she could give to the Lord.
Hannah gave and then she received “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). In verse 21, God granted life again to Elkanah and Hannah (but death to Eli’s priestly family, 2:25). Nothing given to God will impoverish the giver. “Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. ‘But many who are first will be last, and the last, first’” (Mark 10:28-31).
Samuel’s exemplary conduct is demonstrated in verses 18-21. Samuel was a child living in an ungodly environment, but he continued to grow “in stature and in favor both with the LORD and with men” (2:26). The sons of Eli participated in immoral conduct “at the doorway of the tent of meeting.” Such practice was characteristic of Canaanite worship and indicated the worsening of Israel’s worship. A prophet revealed the source of Eli’s domestic problems which was honoring his sons more than God (2:29). Such spiritual failure will always lead to problems in the home. First Samuel 3:13 indicates another reason as lack of discipline in the home. The children were not taught to respect authority in the home. Therefore, they did not acknowledge authority in spiritual things. Eli apparently benefited physically from the sin of his sons (4:18), but God will never allow sin to continue. The Lord will judge those who use their positions for selfish and sinful reasons.
Eli is an alarming example of one who ignored the sins of his sons, and did not regard their gross immorality for the serious matter that it was (2:22-24). Moreover, the Israelites engaged in sin as a result of the lack of spiritual leadership (2:25). However, even in a godless and wicked environment, one may grow in favor with God and humanity (2:26). As the sins of Eli’s sons were growing in magnitude, Samuel was maturing in faith. Your dedication to God in the study of His Word, and response to this truth in life and prayer, will result in God using you mightily.
In his book, Who Will Deliver Us?, Paul Zahl told the account of two duck hunters in the wide-open land of southeastern Georgia. The men noticed a smoke cloud on the horizon, and could hear the crackling sound of burning brush. A brushfire was advancing and the men could not outrun it. The hunters quickly lit a fire around them. With little time remaining the men stood in the circle of blackened earth. The fire came near them and even swept over them, but they were unhurt and untouched. Fire will not pass where it has already burned. The account of Eli’s sons is a reminder that God’s holiness demands wrath against sin. Trusting in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ means understanding that He bore the judgment and wrath of God in my place; it is because the Lord Jesus Christ endured the fiery wrath of God that all those who trust in Him are saved eternally.