Thursday 29 November 2018

Bible Book:
1 Samuel

Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. (v 21)

1 Samuel 2:18-21 Thursday 29 November 2018

Psalm: Psalm 51


Our set readings this week miss out verses 12 to 17 in this chapter; verses which reveal the appalling behaviour of Eli’s sons who “had no regard for the Lord” (v 12). It was in this difficult environment that Samuel lived his formative years. In the midst of contempt for God from Eli’s own sons, Samuel “grew up in the presence of the Lord” (v 21). How difficult it must have been for him to keep faithful to God in such a situation, in contact every day with older people who were demonstrating such bad examples.

In all walks of life we need role models of integrity, people we can look up to and learn from. In religious circles this is probably more important than anywhere else. Jesus recognised this time and time again when he spoke so clearly and consistently about hypocrites. The process of mentoring is such an important teaching and learning role for so many aspects of life: following good practice in the workplace; parent and grandparent roles of living by example; and, in the church, the need for mentoring others who have had a sense of call to serve God. Out of a feeling of modesty or inadequacy, it can be difficult sometimes for people to come forward as ‘mentors’. However, as in the Samuel story, the alternative to good role models not coming forward is the danger of being presented with inadequate examples.

Nevertheless, whatever Eli’s inadequacies as a parent to his wayward sons, he proved to be a good mentor for Samuel in the ways of the Lord. Samuel clearly took part in religious ceremonies, “ministering before the Lord”, as the reference to a linen ephod (or priestly robe) makes plain (v 18). Eli appears to have been caring towards Samuel and both his parents, Elkanah and Hannah, not least in asking God for other children to be born to take Samuel’s place at home. “And the Lord took note of Hannah” (v 21). Eli the priest was clearly a good role model for Samuel.

Life is not all plain sailing all the time. Yet, through it all, God has a purpose for our lives. For Christians, Jesus is our greatest mentor; God is, and always will be, there for us.


To Ponder: 

  • Who have been the positive role models at different times in your life? Give thanks for them. Learning from their examples, what would you want to pass on to other people today?
  • William Cowper’s hymn, “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform” (Singing The Faith 104), is underpinned by a belief that, sometimes in spite of appearances, God’s purposes will be made plain. Pray for patience and discernment in any difficult moments today.
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