Samuel's mother Hannah gave birth to him after many years of barren agony. During this time it says that her "rival" taunts her year after year, but never says who this rival is. Is it her sister that is able to conceive being an annoying sibling? Is it the devil himself? Its left open to interpretation, but I feel like it is being supposed that Satan is trying to wear her down, but God has bigger plans in store for her! After not being able to conceive for years and years, she pleads with God to remember her--and he blesses her with Samuel. Hannah went on to conceive 3 more sons and a daughter, but Samuel is the focus of this reading.
Samuel grows up learning God's ways. He spends time in the temple and even has his own little linen ephod that he wears. Meanwhile, the sons of the great priest Eli have become corrupt and are running rampant throughout Shiloh. A man of God tells Eli that no one from his line will ever live to see old age and that his life will be filled with misery--God will raise up a new priest.
While Samuel is sleeping, he hears a voice calling him. 3 times he runs to Eli, and 3 times Eli explains that he wasn't calling him. Eli realizes that God Himself is calling the boy and give Samuel instruction on listening to what God has to say. God tells him that He will soon take action on the house of Eli... from then out Samuel is made a great and famous prophet throughout the land.
This is yet again another example of Good cheering on the underdog. He can use ANYONE for his glory and I love that he is using a child this time. God has so much in store for Samuel and I'm pumped to see where He takes him!
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