Today I started my reading of 1 Samuel. Although there are two books in the Bible about Samuel, they were originally written as one book. Samuel was pivotal in Israel’s development. He was a priest, prophet, and the last judge in Israel. He was also the man God selected to appoint the first two kings of Israel. Last but not least, Samuel’s birth was a miracle since it came about through prayer by his mother, Hannah, who had been barren. 

I’m just going to share some of my notes today on some verses from 1 Samuel and 2 Corinthians. 

1 Samuel

But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb.

1 Samuel 1:5 (NIV)

When we love our spouse, the things that the world may see as infirmities don’t look so to us. People often make marriage vows; to love in sickness and health, but such things are often platitudes spoken out of the emotions that bind us when we are in love. In contrast to the choice we make when we choose to love. If there is no other indicator, divorce statistics reveal the sad truth. Indeed, in the case of Hannah and her husband Elkanah, he could have divorced her because she was barren. Instead, as we read here, Elkanah loved Hannah despite her inability to give him children. 

Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk.

1 Samuel 1:13 (NIV)

There are two components of this verse that stand out to me. First, Hannah was praying in her heart and not out loud. We should never think that our prayers spoken out loud have any more power or effect than those murmured in the silence of our hearts. Second, Eli thought she was drunk. I see this as a commentary on the spiritual health of Eli and the priesthood at the time. Immediately after reading of Hannah’s great faith in 1 Samuel 1 and 2, we are informed in 1 Samuel 2:12 that “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord (NIV).” This juxtaposition of faith in these chapters foreshadows the transition from Judges, when “everyone did as they saw fit” because Israel “had no king,” to a new period in the history of Israel (cf. Judges 21:25). A time of faith and promise that starts with Saul but is actualized through David. 

We should also note that Eli’s suspicion that Hannah was drunk reveals a flaw in his character that we read of in 1 Samuel 2:29. There’s a certain degree of hypocrisy we cannot miss in allowing his sons to pollute the Lord’s temple and sacrifice while admonishing one of the faithful in Israel.   

And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.

1 Samuel 2:26 (NIV)

Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s two sons, caused a lot of pain and grief for those coming to worship. They slept with the women who ministered before the tent of meeting and demanded that people break the ordinances set by Moses on how sacrifices were to be made (cf. 1 Samuel 2:15,22). Their actions were known by all the people who were most certainly pained by their misconduct (cf. 1 Samuel 2:24). Yet, they lived and continued living for some time. They lived because God was raising up someone to replace them and their heinous ways. Samuel. 

Although the people didn’t know it, God had Samuel there, like a ram in the bush, to relieve the people of the suffering caused by Eli’s sons. We can never forget that God sees all things and knows all things. All of those Israelites did what they were supposed to do (continuing to offer up sacrifices) even when Hophni and Phinehas did not. This is what we need to do in our lives. No matter what other people do, we need to do what God has for us to do. He is faithful and just. We never know who God might be raising up or what he’s doing beyond what we see with our eyes.  

Fearless Paul

For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.

2 Corinthians 7:5 (NIV)

When I think about the Apostle Paul, I often imagine him to be strong and fearless. I see him as a pillar of what it means to follow Christ, and I often forget about his humanity despite his recollections of his hardships and suffering. I also see Paul as a man with a heart for God and his people. Someone who never gives up. In this verse, Paul mentions that there were “conflicts on the outside, fears within.” We might only consider the context here of Paul’s first letter and its reception by the Corinthians (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:8). However, I’m reminded of Paul’s first visit to Corinth that we read about in Acts and the Lord’s encouragement to him.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

Acts 18:9-10 (NIV)

This is what I believe the Lord is reminding us of today. He is with us and we need not be afraid. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be free from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away. 

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.