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March 5, 2023 - 1 Samuel 1-4

Kate Hankey and William Fischer wrote the hymn “I love to tell the story.” Might I rephrase that a bit: I love to read the stories over and over, again. The stories of the Bible are like old friends, familiar and comforting. Here’s another – Samuel. Samuel was asked of the Lord by his mother, Hannah (1:20). Samuel “grew in the presence of the Lord” (2:21). Samuel “continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man” (2:26). He is called “a faithful priest” (2:35). “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (3:19). Eli had judged Israel for 40 years (4:18), but the nation needed a new, good, and faithful leader. That was Samuel!

The story that follows is very interesting. Old Eli fell over and died when he learned that his sons had died, that Israel had suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Philistines, and especially at the news of the capture of the ark of the covenant. The Philistines thought they had won a great and lasting victory. Nope! The presence of the ark among them resulted in all sorts of problems for them, and they sent it back. A lesson here: It only appeared, for a season, that evil had overcome good. Ultimately, though, God had his way. And so, it has been throughout history, and will ever be. For God's people, night will turn to day. Mourning will turn to joy. Defeat will turn to victory.

O give me Samuel’s ear:

The open ear, O Lord,

Alive and quick to hear

Each whisper of Thy word!

Like him to answer at Thy call,

And to obey Thee first of all. -- James Drummond Burns (1874)

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