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light bulb April 8 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Samuel 1:1- 4:1a; Psalm 113

Removed and Replaced

Light bulbs need to be replaced when they go out. If this is not done we see poorly and there is discouragement. In a similar manner, most of us have witnessed the need to remove and replace an employee, player, coach, or leader. This is done when someone is not productive or not as productive as it is thought he should be. If the management will not adequately handle the problem, there is discouragement. We may quit or find other places to live, work, play, or minister. Perhaps before we take that final step we should pray to God to intervene. God does care about us and our dark situations. He can remove and replace people so there is encouragement and hope once again. He can bring light to the darkness.

Like Ruth, God uses Samuel as a light in the darkness in the latter times of the judges (1Samuel 7:15). At this time Israel has no king; each man does what is right in his own eyes. It is a time of chaos, immorality and idolatry. God's blessing is not on Israel. Because of her wickedness, she is often oppressed by neighboring nations for whole generations. In God's mercy, He provides judges to lead the nation and deliver them from their enemies when the Israelites cry out to Him in repentance. When the judge dies, however, they revert to their sinful ways. There is a downward spiral of wickedness with each generation becoming worse than the previous. The cycle of sin -> bondage -> repentance -> deliverance -> is repeated throughout the time of the judges (see more for a chronology of the judges). In the latter time of the judges, Samuel is born to be the new judge and priest. In his senior years he will choose the first kings of a new monarchial government.

Samuel is born of Elkanah and Hannah. They are Ephraimites but direct descendants of Levi, which is required for Samuel to be a priest (1Chronicles 6:33-38). Hannah was barren for a long time; perhaps this is why Elkanah took a second wife, Peninnah (this was allowed in that culture but not condoned by God). As might be expected, this causes tension between Hannah and her rival. Since Peninnah has born many children and Hannah has none, every year she provokes and irritates Hannah until she makes her cry. Both Elkanah and Hannah are godly parents. Once at their yearly pilgrimage to the tabernacle in Shiloh, in her misery Hannah prays to God for a son. She promises to give him back to the LORD all his life if He will enable her to conceive. Eli, the High Priest, promises her she will have a son, and indeed it does happen. Hannah composes a song praising the strength of the LORD and how He delivers and raises His people from oppression (particularly from her rival). Psalm 113 is a song in memory of Hannah. It would be sung at festivals such as Passover, Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles. Has the Lord delivered you? Sing about it!

After Samuel is weaned he is given to the LORD (in that culture Samuel would have been three years old according to the apocryphal book, 2Maccabees 7:27 (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, p. 434)). As young as he is, Samuel is taken to the tabernacle in Shiloh to live with Eli and help with the tabernacle duties. Eli is very old so Samuel becomes his eyes and his hands. Since Samuel is his personal attendant and is given to the LORD for service, Samuel learns to be a good boy. Unfortunately, Eli has not given the same attention to his own sons.

Eli's sons are serving as priests and need to be removed and replaced. His sons are unfit to serve because they treat the LORD's offering with contempt, serving themselves with the best of the meat and leaving God with the rest. In their worship at the tabernacle they also engage in prostitution with women, like the nations around them (1Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25). Apparently, Eli does not give his sons the careful attention he gives Samuel, and he does not restrain their evil behavior. Perhaps, like many parents, he does not want to bruise their self esteem or limit their self expression and creativity. Perhaps he is leaving the raising of his sons to his wife while he is busy being a high priest. Unfortunately, Samuel will later follow Eli's bad example in raising his own sons (1Samuel 8:1-5). Parents, we must take responsibility for the rearing of our children or they may become rebels. We must not be too busy to do it. We must give careful attention to this task for our family and our nation.

How will our children and grandchildren turn out? In a large part that depends on us. Are we godly? Do we set a good example for our family to follow? Will we teach our children to fear the LORD and walk in His ways? Will we try to lead them to a personal relationship with the LORD? Will we discipline them if they do wrong and praise them for doing right? Will we take them with us to our house of worship and include them in helping us serve the LORD? Will we encourage godly disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, service, and worship? Will we pray faithfully for them? Will we pass on our faith and heritage by sharing faith stories? Will we encourage doing right and discourage doing wrong? Will we challenge them and let them struggle to own their own faith and ministry? If we do these things most of the time they are drawn to have faith in God for salvation and to obey Him. They will experience God's blessings and lives which make a difference for eternity.

According to a prophecy given by an unnamed man of God, Eli and Eli's sons will be removed as priests and killed on the same day. Not only that, but their descendants will also be removed from the priesthood for failure to honor God (1Samuel 2:30). This is literally fulfilled 130 years later when the priesthood is removed from Abiathar in the early reign of King Solomon. Because Abiathar supports Adonijah, his rival brother, instead of Solomon, the rightful heir to the throne, his priesthood is removed and given to the family of Zadok, (1Kings 2:26-27, 35). Ultimately Jesus Christ replaces the priesthood because we only need Him to intercede for us (Psalm 110; Hebrews 5:6; 7:11-28).

Samuel is raised to be a faithful priest. He lives with the utmost of integrity and honors God. He is recognized by all the people to be a prophet (1Samuel 3:20). Do we want our children to succeed? We must teach them to be faithful.

Lessons to live by:

•  In situations where someone needs to be removed and replaced, if management will not take care of it, we should pray to God to intervene. God does care about us and our dark situations.

•  Parents must take responsibility for the rearing of their children or they may become rebels. They must not be too busy to do it. They must give careful attention to this task for their family and nation.

•  We must be examples of faithfulness, and our children must be led to a personal relationship with God and to be faithful. Do you have a personal relationship with God? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...)

Today's Bible memory verse:

1Samuel 2:30b “But now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.” (NIV)

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