18. But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the LORD. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest.
19. Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice.
20. Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the LORD give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the LORD.”
21. And the LORD blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.
1 Samuel 2: 18–21 NLT
I love Today’s Passage, but it’s for reasons you may not expect. Before I get to that, let’s cover both what’s happening here and why it is key to The overall Story of Samuel. First of all, let’s acknowledge Samuel’s position within the Temple.
Hannah prayed for God to give her a son, and when He answered her, she “lent” the boy back to God, leaving him in the Temple to serve in whatever capacity Eli, the High Priest, required. Hannah made an enormous sacrifice to gain her heart’s desire, but would she have known about Eli’s sons?
In the last DAILY WORD post, we discussed the evil of Eli’s sons and how their actions led to the people’s frustration and God’s wrath. That targeted wrath will be felt explicitly in a couple of Chapters but let me not get ahead of myself. The question for Today’s Passage is, did Hannah know about Eli’s son’s sin?
Given what Verse 17 tells us, it is a good possibility that Hannah not only knew of their sins, but it may have impacted her decision to leave Samuel there. Hannah had made a promise to God, but that didn’t mean she was entirely comfortable with the environment in which she was leaving little Samuel. Yet, even with the misgivings she may have felt, Hannah still followed through and gave her son to God.
That kind of dedication requires a level of Faith that many of us do not possess, and I wonder how much Hannah’s desperation played into her decision. That is a question we may never have an answer for. All we can do is speculate, offering conjecture about her mental state.
But how would you feel in her shoes? Would you feel comfortable leaving your baby boy, no older than 10 or 12, in an environment where his mentors were stealing from, threatening, and sleeping with their parishioners? I certainly would not! But Hannah left Samuel in that atmosphere, apparently with little concern for his well-being or proper upbringing.
I can only assume that as Hannah raised Samuel, weening him and maximizing her time with him before she had to let him go, she was filling him with as much wisdom, correction, and education as she could. That is the only way I can see her leaving him in such an obviously compromising location without any significant pause.
But Hannah didn’t just drop her son off there and skate. Upon her annual visits to the Temple to worship God and offer sacrifices, Hannah proved her motherly concern. Hannah would never just leave her son in the care of immoral men and call it a day. Oh, no! Hannah was a mom, and I haven’t met many mamas who would abandon their only child, especially one that was so difficult to acquire in the first place.
Every year, Hannah made Samuel a little coat and delivered it to him when she visited. Hannah hadn’t just left her son there. She thought about him daily. Hannah never stopped thinking about her son. That is demonstrated through human nature, but the little coats are all the proof you’ll ever need if you doubted it.
Of course, she didn’t forget her son; how could she? The situation was extreme. No mother would be comfortable with it. Hannah had given God everything, and I can’t speculate what she wanted in return. It was never stated. But as usual, God honored Hannah for her sacrifice.
Hannah gave up everything she’d ever wanted in life to honor God for His Providence. But God was not ignoring Hannah’s sacrifice; neither was Eli. Verse 20 tells us Eli blessed Elkanah and Hannah, and they went on to bear five more children! Not only had God heard Hannah’s prayers, but upon the successful completion of her vow, He gave her more than she’d asked for!
God is not ignoring your suffering or your sacrifice! When you think all you’re doing is going unnoticed, think again. God sees all, and He is not slack in His Promises. He’ll do exactly what He said he’d do. Bank on it!
That’s Today’s Lesson. Never think God isn’t watching your actions, good or bad, and rest assured that He’ll recompense you for whatever you’ve done. Looking at both sides of that coin, we want to be on the good side of the equation.
Hannah can attest to the Blessing coming from that positive plane; countless others can testify to the other. There will always be payment for what we do, and even when it looks like people are getting away with literal murder, God is taking note. No one gets away Scot-free.
Alright, I said at the beginning that I loved Today’s Passage for a reason you may not expect. Here’s the reason: because it’s cute. I can envision little Samuel, all eager and earnest, in his little ephod, which was the priest’s garment, going about his assigned duties. If that’s not the cutest image of a kid in service to God, I can’t think of a better one.
I’m not into the cute stuff, but that image is one I can’t “unsee.” I remember being that age, standing up and proudly singing “God Is Great” in front of the whole church, and I can’t help but relate to Samuel as he served in the Temple. He was “all in” from the moment he was born. It is a status that will be proven throughout his tenure as both Prophet and Judge.
Samuel is the perfect example of a life dedicated to God. Look to this example if you ever want to pattern your life in a way God will honor it. Samuel’s life is a blueprint for service, from before his birth to after his death. We could ask for no better model.
Have a Marvelous Monday and Remember, God, Is Watching Every Move You Make. What Will Be Your Final Grade?