Wednesday, May 4, 2011
"For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.
1 Samuel 1:27-28
Samuel was a special answer to prayer. His mother, Hannah, wanted a child more than anything. She got to such a point in her difficult wanting that she made an entire day of prayer at the tabernacle at Shiloh just about this one petition. God heard her.
The thing I notice in this story is that God hears our prayers. In Hannah's case He intervened with a healing that allowed her to conceive a son that she had already devoted to the Lord in prayer. That devotion made it easy for her to turn her toddler over to the care of the priests at Shiloh. She knew that God had given her a gift that she would gladly give back to Him. And the story that grew from there led to one of the most unique biblical characters we can get to know.
Samuel was part priest, part prophet, and the last of the "judges" of Israel. He had a unique role. He bridged the transition into the first real monarchies of Saul and then of David. And his dedication to the LORD even before His birth was a moving part of his story. In many ways, his story reminds me of that of Samson, but with a stronger and happier outcome.
As I read the first chapter, I am struck by the dedication of Hannah. Her vivid need is expressed to God in unfailing, earnest prayer. And God touched her life in a big way. Her request was huge. Her anxiety was deep. Her relief at an answer to that prayer was joyful. Her vows were serious and strongly committed. Her character was a key factor in Samuel's early upbringing. She shows the meaning of sacrifice and service in her willingness to acknowledge that her son belonged to God first.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13