Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Sep 29 2011 - E100.31a – 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11, Samuel dedicated to God

The books of Samuel narrate the transition from the tribes of Israel being governed by localised judges to the nation being ruled by a king. Samuel will be the last of the judges.

Samuel was a very precious son. His mother, Hannah, was one of the two wives of a man called Elkanah. Elkanah's other wife, Peninnah, had several children but Hannah had not been able to conceive. Though her husband loved her dearly, Hannah was taunted by Peninnah for her lack of children and her life was made miserable.

At this time, the Tabernacle, or 'house of the Lord', was pitched at Shiloh and this is where Israelites went to worship and offer sacrifices at festival times. On one such visit, Hannah went to the Tabernacle to plead with the Lord to grant her a son, promising that if God answered her request he would be dedicated to the Lord's service. Like Samson before him, he would be a Nazirite, one whose dedication to the Lord would be symbolised by his uncut hair.

Hannah's prayer was answered and she gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel. When he was still quite a young child, perhaps between two and three years old, Hannah took Samuel to Shiloh to fulfil her vow. There he was handed over to Eli, the elderly priest who ministered at the Tabernacle. Samuel was to be his apprentice.

As she dedicated her son to the Lord's work Hannah poured out a remarkable prayer of praise to God. There is no one like the Lord. He is not only great in power but is also gracious and kind to those in need:

He raises the poor from the dust
   and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
   and has them inherit a throne of honour. (1 Samuel 2:8)

It is also a prophetic psalm, ending with the words,

He will give strength to his king
   and exalt the horn of his anointed. (2:10)

Samuel will be the one who will anoint Israel's first kings.

Gracious God, thank you that you hear and answer prayer. You work out your purposes in remarkable ways through the lives of ordinary people. Help me to be serious in seeking your blessing, thankful for every answer to prayer and sacrificial in my devotion to you.

Peter Misselbrook