1 Samuel 1:26-28
She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD. “For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. “So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.
This is heart-wrenching on a very personal basis. Think about the feelings and process that Samuel’s mom experienced. It is also amazing to think about how Hannah chose to fulfill her vows to God. Israel would never be the same because of her devoted choices.
1 Samuel 2:11-12
Then Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But the boy ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest. Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD.
The contrast of Samuel’s step brother’s hearts compared to him is striking. But apparently they saw sacrifices as an opportunity for personal gain. The extent of their spiritual perception was sad.
1 Samuel 3:6-9
The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Remember that “word from the Lord was “rare” in the days” of the Judges. God’s hand upon Samuel is miraculous considering his times – and the circumstances of his calling for the purposes of God.
1 Samuel 4:17-18
Then the one who brought the news replied, “Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.” When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for he was old and heavy. Thus he judged Israel forty years.
Here is another great picture of reaping what we sow in our lives. While Eli had personal faith, it was blunted by the choices of his life. Live and learn!
1 Samuel 5:10-12
So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And as the ark of God came to Ekron the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel around to us, to kill us and our people.” They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, so that it will not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly confusion throughout the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the men who did not die were smitten with tumors and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
Not a pretty picture. Everything God did through Israel and to Israel was instructive to the nations around them. The ark of God was a symbol of God’s presence and His holiness. No wonder the nations feared the God behind it. I am sure the “tumors” helped.
1 Samuel 7:12-17
Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built an altar to the LORD.
Samuel was the last judge of Israel. His children did not follow in his ways of devotion (sad), but Samuel gives us a vision for living a strong life – filled with honor and reverence for the Lord God!
1 Samuel 8:-7
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.
Why is it humans want every kind of king but the One Who made us? The Judges formed a very dark time in Israel’s history. With the anointing of Saul as king, Israel enters the period of the united kingdom under Saul, David, and Solomon.