1 Samuel 1-2:25 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine, and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
Well, good evening.
So I was checking out when we were last in 1 Samuel. And according to the app, which hosts such things and has them on a platform, it was 2002 that we taught through the book of Samuel. Before that, it was 1986. That was also up. And I listened to one of the studies from that. My goodness.
So it takes us a while, as you can see, to get through all of scripture. And we find ourselves again as a church in the book of 1 Samuel. We're going to be here for the next hour.
If an Old Testament historical narrative is not what you had in mind, when you happen to come in here tonight, fair warning. And if you feel like, Oh man, I can't take an hour Bible study in the Old Testament. Plus my favorite shows on tonight. Well, as we bow our heads and close our eyes, you could make that adjustment, so that you don't make that decision in the middle of the study and then just offend everybody around you, because you interrupted their train of thought as the Lord was trying to speak to them. So fair enough?
Father, thank you for an opportunity to gather together in the middle of the week to be refreshed by such powerful anthems of praise, such incredible attestations to your majesty and glory. The promises that are contained in some of the songs that we just expressed in the presence of one another to you are powerful. Father, we pray your Holy Spirit would take that corporate worship, as well as the study of your word that we're going to undertake tonight, and use that to further mature us, to challenge us, to encourage us, comfort us, strengthen us. In Jesus' name, amen.
1 Samuel, chapter 1. Now, imagine what you would think, if you were on an airplane, and after being in the air for a few hours, the captain came over the loudspeaker and said, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to flight whatever. We want you to know, however, that for the last three hours, we have not been flying according to radar or any navigational implementation, due to a major malfunction in some key components. So ladies and gentlemen, we're happy that you're on board. But basically, you need to know we're lost, and we have no idea what our final destination will be. But you'll be glad to know we're making excellent time.
You wouldn't be comforted by that kind of an announcement. You would be dismayed-- up in the air, not knowing where you're going, leaving it up to just a pilot looking for a landing strip later on. That is the predicament that the nation of Israel finds itself in on the pages of 1 Samuel. They are off course. They're in a very difficult period of their history.
We have studied it a while back. Before we were in the New Testament book of Romans, we were in the book of Ruth, and before that the Book of Judges. We're still in that time period. The book of Samuel is sort of like a shoulder or transitional book that takes us from a theocracy into a monarchy. God wanted to rule over his people. But in what is coming up, a King will be placed over the people of God.
Samuel, the prophet in question here, will see this as an affront and insult. And God will have to say, Samuel, relax. They're not rejecting you. They're rejecting me from ruling over them. God desired to rule them. They wouldn't have God rule over them. They wanted an earthly politician to rule over them.
So they go from theocracy to monarchy. Actually, there was another stage. They went from theocracy to anarchy. Because in Judges, it says, everyone did what was right in his own eyes. That's an anarchy. They went from a theocracy to an anarchy, but here on the pages of Samuel to a monarchy.
The period of the judges lasts about 100, 115-- I'm sorry, of this-- 1 Samuel. I've got to get my bearings. I'm off course a little bit. The period that we're dealing with is about 115 years of history. Again, technically, we're in the period of the judges. Technically, Samuel is the last judge before there is a king. And that is King Saul.
So they're going to end. They're off course. The plane is not going where God wanted it to go. And it's going to make a crash landing in Babylon eventually. They're going to captivity. So from 1100 BC, which is roughly the area we begin with, to 586 BC, a period of just over 500 years is what it will take for that plane eventually to land in Babylon, and the children of Israel end up in captivity.
Think of the Book of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel and some of the subsequent books after that, Kings and Chronicles, because it's about the leaders, consider these books of leadership, leadership lessons. Somebody once said, there's three types of leaders. There's a leader who makes things happen. Then there's a leader who watches things happen. Then there's a leader who has no idea what's happening.
We find all three leaders in this book. Three types of leadership will be portrayed in 1 Samuel in the lives of four people, four key characters-- Eli, a priest; Samuel, a prophet; Saul, a politician; David, let's keep the P word, a poet. So we have a priest, a prophet, a politician, and a poet. And that poet will be the man after God's own heart, who will end up being the second king in the nation of Israel.
As you get into 1 Samuel, chapter 1, there's just another thing I think you need to know. We have 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. Originally, it was one book, just called the Book of Samuel. Then it was divided up later on as 1st and 2nd Samuel in our Bibles. Now, if you are a Greek speaker, and you were reading the Septuagint version, it would not be called 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings. It would be the First Book of the Kingdoms, the Second Book of the Kingdoms, the Third Book of the Kingdoms, and the Fourth Book of the Kingdoms. That's how it is divided in that translation. But in our Bibles as we're following it, it is 1 Samuel and then 2 Samuel.
Who wrote the book of Samuel? Well, it's hard to know. It's an anonymous book. We don't know who wrote the book of Samuel. Well, his name's on it. And so we're think, well, it says the first book of Samuel. He must have written it.
Well, if he did write it, he could have only written up to chapter 25. Because in that chapter, he kicks the bucket. And last time I checked, it's very difficult to write a book when you're dead. So because the Jews in Talmudic sources ascribe the writing of 1 Samuel to Samuel, he could have written the first part of Samuel. And then probably two others wrote it, Gad and Nathan, who are called seers. And it is ascribed to them later on as writers of the period of Samuel. So it could have been all three-- just a little FYI, just a little trivia.
Now, we begin in chapter 1, verse 1. "There was a certain man of Ramathaimsophim"-- you've got to remember that-- "of the mountains of Ephraim. His name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Suph, an Ephramite." Now, it calls him an Ephramite, because he is living in the area of the tribe of Ephraim. However, he, himself, in his genealogical record, is not from the tribe of Ephraim. He's just living in Ephraimite territory.
We find by reading 1 Chronicles, the sixth chapter, that he was actually a Levite, from the priestly tribe. That's why, when he has a son, his son is going to be dropped off at the Tabernacle and wear the ephod of a priest that his mom-- it's a cute little story. Mom sews him this little ephod, this little coat, once a year, kind of dresses him up like a mini priest.
But this man is a Levite. He's from the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe, but he is not living in a priestly town. There were designated towns throughout the tribes of Israel in which priests were to reside. The fact that he is a Levite not residing in a Levitical town, not living in a priestly town, seems to indicate that he himself is not a spiritual man.
In fact, I really don't see him much as a spiritual man. Oh, he'll take his family up to worship at the central sanctuary, the Tabernacle, once a year, right? He'll do Christmas and Easter. But he does not seem to be a spiritual man, a devoted man. His wife, on the other hand, is indeed very spiritual, at least one of his wives. That's going to be one of the problems, is that he has more than one.
"And he had"-- here it is, verse two-- he had two wives." So right off the bat, we have trouble. Can I get an amen?
Yeah, any man who thinks he can please two women is bananas.
He has two wives. And that is, of course, not God's ideal. The name of one was Hannah. Her name means favor, or favored. Or let's call her Grace. Her name is Grace, and she's going to experience an act of grace from God. "And the name of the other was Penninah-- also a beautiful name. Ruby is what her name means. And though she has a beautiful name, Ruby, she's hardly a gem, as you will see.
"Penninah had children. Hannah had no children." Every Hebrew couple wanted to have babies. It was the desire of everyone in that era who got married. It's not like, well, should we plan? And we haven't really talked about children. You go into the relationship desiring children, because it was believed that you live on in your children. When you die, you continue through your children.
In fact, not just a child, you want as many as you possibly could have at that time. Psalm 127-- Behold children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. So they wanted lots of kids.
Well, Penninah bore him some children. We see probably several, but Hannah had no children at all. To be childless was considered a curse, unfortunately. There was a superstitious idea, even among the Hebrews. And again, this is backslidden Israel. This is the period of the judges, so they're not thinking theologically straight. Most any of them aren't.
And in primitive times, to be unable to conceive and bear a child was considered a curse from God, that God has cursed you personally. See, part of the superstition was the errant, the wrong, idea that there is a direct cause and effect relationship with sin and consequences, that if you were experiencing a malady, a disease, a problem, an issue, it's because you have sinned. It's the modern heretical faith theology.
You name it. You claim it. If you have any disease, it's because there's sin in your life. If you have any issue, any problem, any medical condition, there's sin in your life. You need to confess your sin, and God will heal you. You can have perfect health.
So to be childless was considered an affliction, literally. Remember when Leah and Rachel, when Jacob had his two wives, and they wanted children, and Leah said, why has the Lord given me this affliction, that I can't have children? That's what they considered it. And you'll read that same language with Hannah. She will consider it an affliction to not be able to bear. Like, what's wrong with me? I'm diseased. I've got an affliction.
And then the other wife, back in Jacob's wife, Rachel said to her husband, give me a child or I'm going to die. Wow. She made it a matter of life or death. And of course, he said, am I in the place of God that I can give you a kid? I can't grant that. Only the Lord could.
So Penninah had children. Hannah had no children. This man, that is, Elkanah, this man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also, the two sons of Eli, Hophni, and Phineas, the priests of the Lord, were there.
"And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Penninah his wife"-- now notice this-- "and to all her sons and daughters." So she evidently was very prolific in bearing children, because she had sons and daughters and enough of them to be under that descriptive word all. So you've got a barren wife who can't have any children and one who's just popping them out all the time and has a whole bunch of them.
"But to Hannah, he would give a double portion, a generous portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was year by year, that when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her. Therefore, she wept and did not eat."
So life around the house was tough. Every time Hannah wanted to prepare a meal or Penninah, for that matter, they would be at odds with each other. Family outings were a drag. The worst was going to church for that once-a-year worship service, going to the Tabernacle in Shiloh.
Shiloh is in central Israel. Today it's the West Bank. We don't take tourists to Shiloh, unfortunately. I suppose we could, if we got special protection by the Israeli army. I've been there a couple of times, and I've always picked up a hitchhiking soldier to go there. But you can actually see the hill on which the Tabernacle stood from antiquity. But that's where the Tabernacle stood at Shiloh, before it was later on moved to Jerusalem by David, when it becomes the capital.
So they would take this trek once a year probably for the Feast of Tabernacles. Whatever feast it was, one of the things that the Lord said that his people were to do at the feast was guess what? Feast. I mean, have a wonderful time, a feast, a festive meal. And the Lord said, you shall rejoice. God gave them a command. When you get together, I want you to be happy. And that's an order.
So it was a yearly celebration, a festive gathering, a time of great rejoicing and joy, probably similar to our Thanksgiving. But for one person who came, Hannah, it was anything but happy. Her heart was breaking. She so wanted to have children. It was the cry of her heart.
And to have this other gal in the house chiding her, because, well, I'm fertile Myrtle, and you're not. I mean, you can't have any babies at all. Now, we could say, well, it serves Elkanah right. He shouldn't have had two wives. Well, I agree. God's ideal is one man, one woman, for one lifetime. That's God's ideal. It doesn't always work out that way, but that is God's original design.
However, there seemed to have been an allowance, especially in those days, when one wife could not bear children, that the husband, for the perpetuity of the tribe's sake, to perpetuate the name in Israel, could take a wife who would bear him children. This was the idea with Sarah and Abraham taking Hagar, even though God said, you're going to have a son, you're going to have a son, you're going to have a son. And eventually, she just said, look, I'm an old lady, Abe, and you're not a spring chicken, and maybe what the Lord meant, when he said you're going to have a son, is that we're going to have a son through another gal.
So take this Egyptian handmaiden Hagar. Go have a baby with her. We'll call it our son. Well, that didn't work out too well.
So probably Hannah was the first wife, Penninah was the second wife, and she was able to produce. Well, it made it worse. Now, before we go on and see the good news of how it happened, if, by chance, I am speaking to any gal or couple who has struggled in this area, and I feel your pain. We had a very difficult time after our son was born. God gave us one son, and he's an awesome blessing to us and to this church, and around the country. He just spoke at a pastor's conference on the East Coast.
So the Lord has just done a great work in his life, but we desired to have several children. But there was a difficulty in pregnancy, and we lost the pregnancies, and went through fertility work. That didn't work out. So a couple of things-- bearing children, fertility, is part of the sovereignty of God.
I don't know why God has not allowed you, if that's what you are yearning for, and you wonder, why would God put this desire? Why would I have this desire? And yet it's unfulfilled. I can't have children.
Well, it could be, number one, that he's actually preparing you to have children. You say, well, that's the problem. I can't. Well, no, you can't today. But trust me. I have spoken to several couples whose doctor said, you're unable to have children naturally. And then they've had several children naturally.
And it's really funny. Sometimes they'll go and adopt a child, and then, all of a sudden, she's able to produce children. And then they have several. And that's part of the plan of God. So either he's preparing you for something he will do in your body later on, or number two, he's preparing you for adoption.
A third idea is perhaps the Lord is calling you to a very specific line of work, that if you were to have children-- though they're a blessing in certain things that God could call you to do-- it would be difficult. But now you're free. There's places you can go. There's things you can do. There's ministries and occupations you could undertake because of that freedom. So consider all of those, when it comes to the sovereign plan of God.
So they go to the feast. She's provoked. And it says that Hannah, in verse 7, she wept and did not eat. "Then Elkanah, her husband, said to her"-- so he's going to really give her a word of encouragement and comfort. Listen. Listen to how good this is. This guy is so sensitive.
"Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?" Not a good line, is it? He failed right there. And we husbands can be so insensitive sometimes. Our wives are crying, and we go, you shouldn't be crying. That doesn't help. Learn that quickly.
Why are you crying? Nothing's wrong. Well, that's not right. You shouldn't feel that way. That doesn't help. What she needs, guys, is understanding. Put your arm around her. And then he says, "Aren't I better to you than 10 sons?" Well, you'll notice she doesn't answer him.
It says in the next verse, "so Hannah rose." She just gets up. "Hanna arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now, Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the Tabernacle, and she was in bitterness of soul and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish." There's a beautiful passage of scripture in Psalm 34 that says, the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and to those who have a contrite spirit, both of which beautifully describe this woman. Her heart is broken. Her heart is contrite, totally devoted.
Let me inject a thought. Hannah wants desperately what some husbands or wives are willing to leave-- a family. They get married. They have kids. He walks out. She walks out. She wants what many people are willing to give up so easily. Here you have a woman who seeks to find identity within the family.
The voices of the modern culture are telling women, find your identity outside the family; you don't need the family; it's a patriarchal ideal to make you subservient. I hope you're not falling for that line of garbage. I hope you're a man or a woman who seeks what the Lord wants for your life, whatever that might be, whether it's bearing children or not. But you're seeking him and his ideal.
So she prayed. She was in bitterness of soul and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. "Then she made a vow and said, Oh, Lord of hosts." Now, stop right there. Go back to verse three, and notice where it says, "they went to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts." I'm pointing it out, because it's the very first time that phrase is used in all of the Bible.
And it's used a lot in the scripture. 281 times the Bible refers to God as the Lord of hosts, Yahweh Shavuot is the Hebrew, the Lord of hosts. Now, the host, the idea is probably angelic beings. 34 of the 66 books of the Bible mention angels. A host is a big group. It's an army.
In fact, one of the modern translation translates it he is the Lord of heaven's armies. And I love that. It's that God has resources. He commands the biggest army in the universe, heavens armies. Lord of hosts-- he has all power. He's the commander in chief of all principalities, powers, all of them. He is the Lord of hosts. He is mighty.
So she made a vow, verse 11. "O Lord of hosts, O Yahweh Shavuot, if you will indeed"-- now watch this-- "look on the affliction." See what she thinks of her infertility? It was an affliction. That's how she viewed herself. I'm sick.
"Look on the affliction of your maidservant, and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give your maidservant a male child." Notice how specific-- not just a baby. Lord, I want a boy. "And I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life. And no razor will come upon his head." We'll get to that in a minute. We'll see what that means.
"And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, Eli"-- this is that priest-- "watched her mouth. Now, Hannah spoke in her heart. Only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore, Eli thought she was drunk." That's odd for a priest, to look and see a woman praying at church, thinking, what's she doing? She must be drunk.
No, you would think his first thought would be, Oh, she must be praying. It shows you how low the nation had sunk, the kind of degeneration and degradation that had happened, that even the priest at the Tabernacle can't believe somebody would actually be in church worshipping. What kind of a church do we have here? People are praying. He says, you've got to be drunk.
"Eli said to her, how long will you be drunk?" He starts to rebuke here. "Put your wine away from you." You wino.
"And Hannah answered and said, no, my lord. I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord." I love this definition of prayer. No, my lord, I didn't pour anything into me. I'm pouring out my soul to the Lord.
That's the analogy she's drawing. I'm not imbibing on anything. I'm pouring my anguish out, pouring it out to the Lord. Now, I mentioned that Eli looked at her and saw a woman praying at the Tabernacle, thinking she's drunk.
But have you ever wondered-- excuse me.
Have you ever wondered why people kicked microphones in church? No, have you ever wondered what people think of you when you worship? Or you're at a restaurant, and you say to your wife, or husband, or friends, or family, hey, let's pray before our meal. And you bow your head.
And they look at you bowing your head. They go, what are they doing? Are they drunk?
Who knows what they're thinking. I remember when I first went to church, and I saw-- I was 18. I had been to church my whole life. But when I went to the church that I came to know the Lord in, and I saw people raising their hands for the first time, and I remember thinking, that's the goofiest thing I've seen in my life. What's this?
It was distasteful to me. First of all, I wasn't a believer. And so it didn't make sense. Anybody what, are they holding your antennas up to get reception? What is that?
So she said, no, I haven't had anything to drink. I'm pouring out my soul to the Lord. I'll tell you what. You want to see a woman pray? Wait till you get to chapter 2. Her prayer, Hannah's prayer, not only is she pouring out her soul to the Lord, not only is she praying, this gal's writing. She's going to write a worship song, one of the best ever, spontaneously.
I don't think she typed it up on her word processor and brought it to the Tabernacle or on her iPhone or even on a scroll. I think this just came from her heart, as you'll read. It's amazing. So she says, no, I'm praying.
Now, this is Samuel's mother. It's going to be Samuel's mother, when she bears this child. Samuel had a praying mother. Abraham Lincoln said, no one is poor who has a godly mother. There are many people that I'm looking at right now who are the results of praying mothers or praying grandmothers. And when moms cry out to God for their children, it's powerful. And I believe the Lord is very sensitive to that.
"Do not consider your maidservant"-- verse 16-- "a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief, I have spoken until now. Then Eli answered and said, go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of him. Let your maidservant find favor in your sight, she said. So the woman went her way"-- now watch this-- "and ate, and her face was no longer sad."
She didn't get what she wanted yet. She just heard a promise from a representative of God, a man of God. It said, go to peace. May the Lord grant your request. She heard the word spoken. She's at church. She hears the word, right? You see the analogy I'm drawing. And it was enough to put a smile on her face, said, God's going to do something, instead of, well, yeah, but maybe not.
And not only that, look at verse 19. "Then she rose up early in the morning and worshipped." She's worshiping before God answers her prayer. This is true worship. Some people think worship is when you praise God for what he does. No. It's when you praise God for who he is, regardless of what he does, regardless of what he gives. you. He's God. He's Creator. He's Redeemer. He's the Lord of hosts.
Put a smile on her face. She had peace in her heart. And she worshipped. And I believe this kind of faith, this kind of faith in the word of God, that produces worship of God as a response to who he is, is what brings peace to the heart.
Be anxious for nothing, Paul said, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Fabulous promise. If you want to get rid of anxiety-- anybody up for that? I want to get rid of anxiety. I want to get rid of worry, those thoughts that come crowding in. There's a very important tool you need to learn.
It's the tool of redirection. Or I'll give it another term-- replacement. The Bible calls it casting, casting. 1 Peter, chapter 5, verse 7-- casting all your care upon him, because he cares for you. Psalm 55-- cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.
You take the thoughts that are filled with anxiety, and you cast them on the Lord, and you redirect your thinking. You replace that with thoughts of worship-- God, you're good. God, you're awesome. God, you can do anything. You're the Lord of hosts. You start meditating on that, on whatever is good and noble and of good report. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
So she went home. Her face was no longer sad. They got up early. They worshipped before the Lord and returned and came to their house at Ramah. "And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife"-- that is, knew her physically. They had physical sexual relations, knew her intimately.
And it says, "The Lord remembered her. So it came to pass in the process of time"-- in the process of time-- "that Hannah conceived and bore a son and called his name God Hears"-- Shmuel is the Hebrew, Shmuel, Sammy; Samuel we call him-- "called his name Samuel, God Hears, saying, because I have asked for him from the Lord.
And the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, I will not go up until the child is weaned. Then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever." Remember the vow that she prayed to the Lord. Give me a male child, and he's yours. I'll give him back to you.
So verse 23-- "Elkanah her husband said to her, do what seems best to you." Now he's learning. Before it was, what are you all bummed out for? Look at me, baby, I'm better to you than 10 kids. Yeah, you need to wise up, pal. Finally, he does-- whatever you think, sweetheart, whatever you want to do. "Whatever's on your heart. Do what seems best to you. Wait until you have weaned him, only let the Lord establish his word."
So he's grown in his faith. He's getting all spiritual now. "So the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him." What does that mean, weaned him? Well, when women had children in those days, for the first seven days, she was to stay home if it was a male child, 14 days if it was a girl. And then a month later, about 33 days later, she was to go make an offering at the place of worship.
But in those days, weaning was a process that could take three years, three to five years we believe. In those days, women breastfed their children a lot longer than today. And the weaning process and the idea of weaning, literally the idea, that word "wean" means to deal fully with in Hebrew, deal fully with.
And there's a connotation, more than breastfeeding, more than just physically caring. But it has the idea of a training component. So I think she was using the time not just to breastfeed him, not just to turn him from a baby to a toddler, but to as best she could, at that tender age, teach him spiritual truths. She was a spiritual woman.
And I'll tell you what. Hebrews-- Hebrew training of their children in spiritual matters, it's the best on record. I mean, they started really early. And I love what Charles Spurgeon used to say. You know I quote him all the time. I can't have a sermon without quoting Chuck Spurgeon, right?
So Charles Spurgeon said this. Before a child reaches seven, teach him all the way to heaven. Better still, the work will thrive if he learns before he's five. It seemed that Hannah believed that. I'm going to fully deal with my child. I'm going to wean my child.
"So the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him. And when she had weaned him"-- verse 24-- "she took him with her with three bulls, one ephah of flour, a skin of wine, brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. The child was young. And they slaughtered a bull, brought the child to Eli.
And she said, Oh, my lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here praying to the Lord." Remember me, the gal you thought was drunk? "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore, I also have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, ' he shall be lent to the Lord. So they worshipped the Lord there."
The kid's between three and five years of age. She takes him to the Tabernacle at Shiloh, drops him off for this priest, this old man Eli, who turned out to be a pretty good dad, not to his own two kids, but to this surrogate, to this adopted child, and will teach him in the ways of the Lord. Now, she says, I'm going to lend him to the Lord. I have lent him to the Lord.
You could translate that, I have returned him to the Lord. The Lord gave him to me. I'm returning him to him. The word connotes an irrevocable giving to the Lord.
Now, what you see here, this idea of lending him to the Lord or dedicating him to the Lord, is the basis by which we do once-a-month baby dedications on the weekend. We bring babies happily. We love when families produce children, and we get to pray for them. And we do pray for the parents, pray for the baby. It's a baby dedication. We're returning him back to the Lord. Lord, he's under your care.
And we're doing it publicly. So there's an accountability in this family, with his family. We're doing it before God's people, asking for their prayers, asking for their help. We do not do infant baptisms here at this church.
I was baptized when I was a baby, so they tell me. I have no recollection. And the reason we don't do infant baptisms-- that's an idea based on an errant false doctrine called baptismal regeneration, that says, when a person is baptized, that's when they're saved. So better baptize this kid as soon as he's born almost so that he'll get to heaven and not go to limbo. That's what I was taught.
The problem with that is it's unscriptural. That's the problem, flat out unscriptural. The New Testament says, repent and be baptized. I never was able to repent as a baby. Have ever met a baby who could repent? They can't even pent, let alone repent.
They're too young. So a child has to know it's a commitment before they do it. That's why even children who we baptize, we want to make sure they understand it. Because I've had some kids where you take them in the water. And the mom and dad are out there. They've got the cameras, and they got relatives, and they're celebrating. And you ask the child, do you know what you're doing here? I have no idea.
So instead of prodding them into it so you can get the photo op, make sure that there's repentance and a reception, a receiving, of Christ. You say, well, what age is that? It depends on the child. But this is where we base the idea of a baby dedication. "The Lord has given me this child. I'm lending him. I'm returning him back to the Lord." So she does that.
I have other thoughts. But I want to get through chapter 2. So it says this. "And Hannah prayed to the Lord and said." Now, get a load of this gal's prayer. Again, she doesn't have her little iPhone with her. She has no notes. I think this is just the outflow of her heart.
Now, what's so magnificent about this-- and we could study just the prayer of Hannah for weeks. Because it happens to be a prophecy, as well, of the Lord Jesus Christ. But there is a similarity to this.
In fact, it's one of these songs, these poems, these utterances, that is unique, that stands alone. The only thing that comes close to it, and I would say exceeds it, is the song of Mary in the Gospel of Luke. It is called the Magnificat. That's a Latin term. It's a Catholic term, the Magnificat. And that's because, in Latin, the first word in Mary's prayer is magnificat.
And in English, it's my soul doth magnify the Lord. My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior. That's in English we say. But in Latin, it's magnificat, so it's called the Magnificat, because of tradition. But it's very similar to Hannah's prayer. In fact, there are repetitions of Hannah's prayer in Mary's prayer. So this makes this significant.
"Hannah prayed and said, my heart rejoices in the Lord, my horn"-- or literally, my strength-- that's the idea of the horn-- "is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. There's none like the Lord, for there's none besides you. Nor is there any rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly. Let no arrogance come from your mouth. For the Lord is the God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, and those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has born seven. And she who has many children has become feeble."
Now, who do you think she's referring to?
I don't know. I think it's Penninah. It talks about her enemies, and even Penninah is kind of getting to be a weakling over there. That's the gist of it. So I take note of these things. And I actually kind of like it, because it shows here, she's the spiritual woman. But she's a woman. She's a human. And the humanity comes out in her prayer.
And I think it's OK for you to just be who you are in your prayers before the Lord. You don't have to come up with any flowery language or make up songs like this. Pour your heart out before God, and let your feelings in your words. And even if they're bad feelings and not the nicest thoughts, God can handle that. He's seen it all. He's heard it all.
So I don't really know how to pray. Do you know how to talk? Right? The idea of pouring one's soul out is just, bleh, you're just letting it out, man. Tell him what you feel.
Verse 6-- "The Lord kills and makes alive. He controls life and death. He brings down to the grave and brings up." Some see this is as a reference to-- or a prophecy of Jesus, the cross and the resurrection. "The Lord makes poor and makes rich. The Lord brings low and lifts up. The Lord raises the poor from the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he has set the world upon them."
What a prayer. "He will guard the feet of his saints. But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces. From heaven he will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn"-- or the strength-- "of his"-- in Hebrew-- Mashiach, "Messiah."
This is the first reference in all of scripture that uses the word Messiah. The king in this verse, these verses, and the Messiah are one and the same. This is a prophecy of Jesus. This is a reference to the king that is coming will be God's anointed, his Messiah. That's what Messiah means, God's anointed.
It's because of this verse that they're developed the yearning in ancient Israel for a deliverer called Messiah, Mashiach, the anointed one, who's going to come and deliver. And that theme will get developed through the Old Testament until by the New Testament time, the theme, the idea, the thought, of the Messiah will be so pregnant with meaning, the nation will be crying out and expecting the Messiah to come when Jesus comes.
Galatians 4:4-- that in the fullness of the time, God sent forth his son, born of a virgin, born under the law, that he might redeem those who are under the law. The Messiah. So what a great prayer.
Before she had a child, her prayer was like, why me, Lord? Why am I so bitter? She ends up, why me, Lord? Why am I so blessed? I'm not blasted. I'm blessed. I'm not bitter. I'm blessed. Out of all the people, you picked me. Wow. Complete change.
"Then"-- verse 11-- "Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before the priest." Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that at this point in the narrative, the boy Samuel is about 12 years of age. We don't know for certain. We don't know. But that's just another source that places his age at around 12, which is close to when a child in Judaism is considered an adult.
At age 13, a boy goes through a bar mitzvah. A girl goes through a bat mitzvah. They become a son of the commandment or a daughter of the commandment. They're regarded as an adult member of the Jewish community at 13.
See, in those days, people grew up faster. There was a rite of passage. Now this is expected of you. Now you are accountable before God for your life. That was the idea. So he's probably, let's just say, around 12 years of age, and he's ministering to the Lord.
I love this. I've always thought God is all about a youth movement. God is into that God. Paul said to Timothy, don't let anybody despise you because you're young. And the younger the better. Dwight L Moody used to say that-- he would come home, and his wife said, how many came to Christ tonight? And one night, he said two and 1/2. She said, really? Two and 1/2-- how do you figure that? You mean, two adults and one child? He said, no, two children, one adult.
She says, help me understand that. He goes, well, the adults wasted half their life already, then gave their life to Jesus. Half of it's gone. That child, the whole life is committed to Christ, 2 and 1/2. This boy started young, and he's ministering to the Lord.
And I could say so many things that pop into my head. Here's one I just want to say. You're going to find that the family of Eli is problematic. His sons are problematic. They don't know the Lord. They're not saved. They don't have a relationship with God. They're drunkards. They have sex with the women at the Tabernacle.
It would have been very easy for Samuel to say, well, I'm not going to hang around this place. There's so many hypocrites. I'm going home. I don't need hypocritical religion.
He was administering to Eli. He wasn't even ministering to the people. He was ministering to the Lord. This was between him and God. And he stuck it out in the midst of the hypocrisy and said, I'm going to minister to the Lord. My ministry is before him. I love that, the wording of that. He ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.
"Now, the sons of Eli were corrupt. They did not know the Lord. The priest's custom with the people was, that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come with a three-pronged flesh hook in his hand, while the meat was boiling, and he would thrust into the pan, or kettle, or a caldron, or pot, and the priest would take for himself all that the flesh hook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there, also before they burned the fat.
And the priest's servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw. And if the man said to him, they should really burn the fat first, then you can take as much as your heart desires, he would then answer, no, but you must give it to me now. If not, I'll take it by force. Therefore, the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men abhorred the offering of the Lord."
The priests were given-- do you remember from the Pentateuch-- a very particular part of the animal. They were given the breast. of one of the offerings and the thigh of the heave offering. They had those portions. They wanted whatever they wanted. They didn't want it boiled. I mean, who wants boiled meat. That's what they're thinking. I'd rather take it raw, take it home and barbecue it the way I like it.
And I want the fat. If you know anything about meat, the fat is what gives it the flavor. Right? A lean cut of beef does not have the flavor of a piece of meat laden with that. Now, fat's bad for your heart. It's bad for your arteries. I'm not here to be your doctor, though. You do what you want. But they were obviously doing what they want. And God said, yeah, but it's not what I want. So it was a problem.
Then it says, verse 18, "But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod." See that cute little coat that a priest would wear. "For moreover, his mother used to make him a little robe and bring it to him year by year, when she came up with her husband to offer the early sacrifice. And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, the Lord give you descendents from this woman for the loan that was lent to the Lord. And they would go to their own home.
And the Lord visited Hannah, so she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the child Samuel grew before the Lord. Now. Eli was very old, and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of meeting. So we said to them, why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people.
No, my sons, for it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord's people transgress. If one man's sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him? Nevertheless, they didn't heed the voice of their Father, because the Lord desired to kill them."
I'd just like to let that hang a little bit. Because this is Scripture. And you never know what you're going to find in the pages of scripture. You have here not only the callousness of two sons. You have the cowardice of the Father.
This is an open scandal, and all he can do is slap their little wrist and go, you guys shouldn't do that. That's so bad. So bad? How about, get out of town, son. You're fired. You can't do this. This is abhorrent to the Lord. Didn't happen.
Then a man of God came. Wouldn't you like to hear what this man of God has to say? Well, we're going to see. I have to wait till next week to hear what he has to say, because the time is up. Almost made it under the wire--
--but not quite. God always has a Samuel, and God always has a man or woman of God to come at just the right time. This servant of God is not named. We don't know who it is. It's not important. God knows who it is. And he was faithful.
And I love his-- he'll have a very direct approach. And the Bible says, faithful are the wounds of a friend. But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. So because Eli would not deal with the problem, this anonymous man of God is going to deal with Eli and make a promise that, sadly, will come true.
And so God is setting things up for the ministry of Samuel, a little boy at the Tabernacle, who will grow up to be not just a prophet, but a king maker. He'll anoint Saul, the first king, and he will anoint the man after God's own heart, David. So we're getting into some good historical narrative, good, good storytelling here, good, good turf, scripturally.
Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to gather as a church and to make much of the word of God, just to go through it together as a congregation, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, line upon line, to apply it to our hearts, to apply it to our lives--
--so we walk away with an understanding of scripture, but even more so, walk away with an understanding of the God of scripture, and who you are, and what you love, and what you don't love, what you want, and what you don't want. These are principles, Lord, that govern these things, these stories.
I pray we will learn these principles, and we would walk in right relationship with you. We don't want to be like the sons of Eli, who were in church, but didn't know God, who were serving on staff at church, but didn't know God, didn't walk with God. Lord, we who attend here want to know you, and we who serve here and have the privilege to be employed here want to walk with you with passion, and calling, and fervency, not to see this just as a task, or a job, or a way to get insurance, or anything. But this is a calling from heaven for our lives.
Lord, no matter who we are, no matter what background we have, some of us are waiting on you for children. Some of us are dealing with perhaps a problem child or children. Some of us have lost a child.
No matter who we are, no matter what our background is, I pray, Lord, that we would heed your word, that would bring us peace; we would worship you for who you are, not what you give or what you do; and that we would always minister to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series Expound.