THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Two

The product of your environment.

I. God answered Hannah’s prayer with a yes

A. In response to Hannah’s loyalty, the Lord gives her a son, Samuel, and sets in process a sequence of events that will culminate in the anointing of David, a man after God’s own heart, as king of Israel.

1 Samuel 1:19-28 - The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, 20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” 21 The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently.” 23 “Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise.” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned. 24 When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. 25 After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. 26 “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. 27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. 28 Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.
1 Samuel 2:1-11 - Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. 2 No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
3 “Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong. 5 Those who were well fed are now starving, and those who were starving are now full. The childless woman now has seven children, and the woman with many children wastes away. 6 The Lord gives both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up. 7 The Lord makes some poor and others rich; he brings some down and lifts others up. 8 He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord’s, and he has set the world in order. 9 “He will protect his faithful ones, but the wicked will disappear in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone. 10 Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered. He thunders against them from heaven; the Lord judges throughout the earth. He gives power to his king; he increases the strength of his anointed one.” 11 Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest.

A. Hannah not only kept her promise she remembered. Whatever you do… you gotta pray.

That means to praise and thank and acknowledge God.
Jesus said you have not because you ask not we don’t ask, why?
I think you think He is a God that can, but you don’t believe He is a God that will.

B. She gave thanks. What did God give her?

God gave her the ability to keep her promise. To live up to the responsibility.
He gave her strength. He gave her assurance.

>>> As we get into this next chapter let me say how important it is to praise and acknowledge God. To understand that nothing gets by Him.  V8 For all the earth is the Lord’s, and he has set the world in order.

II. Eli and His Sons

A. Samuel’s birth is a turning point in Israel’s history. 

As Hannah acknowledges in her song of praise, her deliverance from her oppressed condition foreshadows what God will do for the nation in the years that immediately follow (2: 10). 

Through Hannah’s son, Samuel, God will once again reveal his word to his people, give them military victory over hostile enemies, and establish a king who will lead the nation to previously unrealized heights.

B. Before Samuel There was Eli

He was a Levite, was the high priest. He had 2 sons Hophni and Phinehas, they were scoundrels, doesn’t sound to us so bad, it’s almost an honorific.

The writer's characterization of Eli’s sons as “scoundrels” is especially disconcerting when one realizes that the same expression is used of the men of Gibeah, who threaten to gang-rape a Levite and then violate and murder his wife.

He warns them to no avail. Eli’s warning to his sons falls on deaf ears because the Lord has already given them over to judgment and has determined to kill them. 

The statement is ironic in light of Hannah’s earlier declaration that the Lord both kills and makes alive (v. 6).

C. Samuel was placed in the middle of all this.

Just a child and the ones who raise him are stealing from God himself.

1 Samuel 2:17-18 - So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt. 18 But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest.

So all this was going on while Samuel was right there. 

1 Samuel 2:26 - Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

D. Then a man of God comes to see Eli

He had a message from God. The high priest needed a messenger from God.

1 Samuel 2:29-30 - So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you give your sons more honor than you give me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people Israel! 30 “Therefore, the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.

Eli’s experience demonstrates that the Lord has the sovereign right to reject rebels and to accomplish his purposes through other and more-worthy instruments.

Though he is old and weak, he has the authority to remove them from office, but he fails to do so. Apparently, Eli is content to benefit from their misbehavior. 

The Lord punishes Eli because he tolerates his sons’ contempt, even though he does not approve of it or directly participate in it. In this case, there is no middle ground.

Deuteronomy 5:9b-10 - I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

He has gone so far that his response is apathetic or maybe just pathetic.

1 Samuel 3:18 - So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best.”

Let me stand against that and say “If you can do something, do something!” 

>>> The apathy, the resignation. Have you ever felt like you have gone so far that you are ready for whatever punishment God is planning?

III. You are not the product of your environment.

A. Although Samuel was placed into that mess he didn’t become a product of it.

Why is the fact that we see everywhere around us the sin passed down, Alcoholism, abuse, anger, racism, but there are some who stand out? I think it's found in V30b

But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.

Samuel honored God. In the midst of those disrespectful, and aggreges sins right in front of the tabernacle. Right there on the Lord's alter. Samuel even though he couldn’t do anything about it became God’s new Judge for Israel.

>>> He honored God. Listen… You don’t have to be the product of your environment. You can overcome what you have been taught. You don’t have to be enslaved by what enslaved your parents. You don’t have to turn out like everyone in your neighborhood. You don’t have to act like the people you work with. You can be what God has called you to be no matter what environment you find yourself in.

B. Honor God / how do I honor God

3 simple things that will put you on the path to a life that honors God:

  1. Worship only Him
    • He has got to be number one
    • Not money, power, influence.
    • Not a great DAD or MOM or even a spouse
    • He said no other Gods before me. He has to be number one.
  2. Listen
    • We must listen for His voice. We will talk more about that next week.
    • To hear what He has to say us.
    • Every week we want you to hear from God. Not me, Ryan or the band but hear God’s voice.
    • We honor Him by listening for it. By pursuing it.
  3. Obey
    • Obedience to the word of God in our lives.
    • Not only listen but to do. As James said not hearers only but doers of the word.

>>> We make it so complicated. If you want to honor God keep him first, listen to His voice and obey. "But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands." He says I will honor those who honor me. Honor God.

Summary

Today we saw Hannah honor God by giving her son back to Him. It would have easy for her to worship her only child but she remained loyal. We saw Samuel in the midst of the filth going on at the tabernacle grow in the Lords and the people's favor. Listen… I know your work environment might not be godly, but you can honor God. Your family life may not be godly, but you can honor God. Your relationships might be rough and hurtful but you can honor God. And then He promises to honor you.