Samuel’s faithful childhood
Text: 1 Samuel 2:12-26
We could also call this chapter consecration versus corruption. Samuel is faithful as a child and stands in contrast to the vile priesthood of Eli and his sons; see verses 11 and 12. From a young boy Samuel served and was obedient even before he knew the Lord. There are three descriptions of the sin in the priesthood punctuated by statements of Samuel’s faithfulness. Notice verses 18, 21, 26 and even 3:1, 19. Samuel will restore honor to the priesthood in his time. Samuel will serve as a sign to Eli and his family that God will have a faithful priest. Ultimately Samuel is a type of Jesus Christ’s priesthood. And there are four descriptions of faithfulness in the service of God that apply.
God’s faithful priest is consecrated to the things of God (vss 12-19)
A boy clothed in righteousness (vss 12-19)
- Against the backdrop of a criminal clergy
- Earlier in 1 Samuel 1 when Hannah was praying for a son Eli thought she was drunk. Probably because that’s what he was accustomed to seeing. And Hannah specifically says, Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial. The irony of Hannah telling Eli don’t call me a daughter of Belial when God describes Eli’s own sons as sons of Belial can’t be missed.
- The young men are taking offerings to the Lord for themselves without making any offering to the Lord. It’s total abuse of their position. It’s dishonoring to God. And it makes the people attending hate the things of God.
- The priests don’t even steal from people themselves, they have a servant doing it. And this guy has a pitch fork in verse 13. The image is unmistakable. If you’re worshipping God in Shiloh, watch out for the guy with the pitchfork because he’s there to steal your offering.
- The people who were sanctified and set apart for God’s purposes turned God’s place of revelation and help into a place of violence, injustice, and greed. They took a sanctuary, a place of rest, and made it a vile place of bitterness.
- Now how about coming to church? Some people make coming to church a bitter experience. Some people make coming to church a lovely experience. The difference is one group honors the things of God and the other honors themselves.
- A boy clothed in righteousness (vss 18-19)
- Then the scene changes. In verse 18 we have a little boy, dressed for the job of priest, and shining as a little light in the midst of darkness. Samuel is clothed in righteousness you could say. He is certainly clothed in the priestly garments from a young age. He is dressed for the job.
- Samuel is faithful as a child. He does the things that honor God even before he knows the Lord. This wasn’t about his relationship to the Lord. This was about his relationship to the THINGS of the Lord. If you’re not right with God’s things – His words, His people, His sanctuary – truly you aren’t right with God.
- Hannah makes him a coat every year. That coat was something the high priest wears.
- Samuel’s training begins before he knows the importance of his training. Something we parents make the mistake of in spiritual matters is saying it’s not important to do until the kids understand why they’re doing it. But that’s not true in Math, military training, education.
A boy who is a blessing to his parents (vss 20-21)
A boy who is a light in a dark world (vss 22-26)
- The contrast is again unmistakable. Samuel is a blessing while Eli’s sons are curses. Samuel’s light and influence are growing as Eli’s tenure is fading.
- Verse 25 if a man steal from another man then a judge can declare him a thief and the thief will go to jail or pay back what he stole. But if a man steal from God or profane the things of God who will plead for him? If you take the Lord’s name in vain, who pleads for you? Who is your defense attorney?
- The Lord is no respecter of persons, but the Lord will certainly honor those who honor Him.