This week we have some narrative from the start of 1 Samuel, and another chunk of John’s second and third visions in Revelation. In 1 Samuel, we can’t help but see the character of God through His kindness and generosity to Hannah. Her prayer is answered, and she is truly thankful. The thing which really stood out to me here is Hannah’s response. Hannah does not let the joy in her new and long-awaited baby son distract her away from God. As easy as it would be to get caught up in rubbing it in Peninnah’s face, she does not forget the role God has played in her happiness. In her prayer, Hannah uses her delight to express her thanks to God, to understand Him better and declare truth of who he is. She is under no illusion that this is anything other than God powerfully at work in her life, her family, her people.
The welcomely familiar reading of the week is the story of the young Samuel hearing the voice of the Lord and mistaking it for Eli’s voice in 1 Samuel 3. Less familiar are the words the Lord speaks to Samuel once he is listening. The Lord promises to follow through on the judgement of Eli’s family because of their sin: God is holy and just. More evidence of this follows with the interesting (and slightly odd) story of the ark being taken captive by the Philistines, where its presence is not the blessing they had hoped for. His holiness is too much for the Philistines and their pride. The message is clear: God is not a trophy to be won. He has not been defeated.
And we know He never will be. The victory is already won, so Revelation continues to show us the final battle. The verdict is clear. And we can be thankful!
Some questions for you to ponder while you read this week:
- Where can you see God’s kindness and generosity in your life?
- What answered prayer do you forget to thank God for?
- Are you ready to hear God’s voice? What does God have to do to get your full attention?
- Are there ways you relate God which indulge the thought that you are the one in control?