darkend light bulb April 8 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 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. Like a light bulb that needs to be replaced, 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 that 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 that there is encouragement and hope once again.

Like Ruth, God sent Samuel as a light in the darkness in the latter times of the judges (1Samuel 7:15). At that time Israel had no king; each man did what was right in his own eyes. It was a time of chaos, immorality and idolatry. God's blessing was not upon Israel. Because of her wickedness, she was often oppressed by neighboring nations for whole generations. In God's mercy he provided them deliverers (judges) when the Israelites cried out to him in repentance. When the judge died, however, they went right back to their sinful ways. There was a downward spiral of wickedness with each generation. The cycle of sin -> bondage -> repentance -> deliverance -> was repeated throughout the time of the judges (see more for a chronology of the judges). In the latter time of the judges, Samuel was born to be the new judge and priest. He would even choose the first kings of a new monarchial government.

Samuel was born of Elkanah and Hannah. They were Ephraimites but direct descendants of Levi, as was required for Samuel to be a priest (1Chronicles 6:33-38). Hannah was barren for a long time; perhaps this was why Elkanah took on a second wife, Peninnah (this was allowed in that culture but not condoned by God). As might be expected, this caused tension between Hannah and her rival. Since Peninnah bore many children and Hannah had none, every year she provoked and irritated Hannah until she made her cry. Both Elkanah and Hannah were godly parents. Once at their yearly pilgrimage to the tabernacle in Shiloh, in her misery Hannah prayed to God for a son. She promised to give him back to the LORD all his life if he would enable her to conceive. Eli, the High Priest that year, promised her that she would have a son, and indeed it did happen. After Samuel was weaned he was given to the LORD (in that culture he 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 was, Samuel was taken to the tabernacle in Shiloh to live with Eli and help with the tabernacle duties. Eli was very old so Samuel would become his eyes and his hands. Since Samuel was his personal attendant and was given to the LORD for service, Samuel learned to be a good boy. Unfortunately, Eli had not given the same attention to his own sons.

Eli's sons were serving as priests and needed to be removed and replaced. His sons were unfit to serve because they treated the LORD's offering with contempt, serving themselves with the best of the meat and not giving it to God. In their worship at the tabernacle they also were engaged in prostitution like the nations around them (1Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25). Apparently, Eli did not give his sons the careful attention he gave Samuel, and he did not restrain their evil behavior. Perhaps, like many parents, he did not want to bruise their self esteem or limit their self expression and creativity. Perhaps he left the raising of his sons to his wife while he was busy being a high priest. Unfortunately, Samuel was later to 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.

What will our children and grandchildren be like? That may depend on what we are like. Are we godly people who 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 the LORD will bless our children to live counter to their wicked culture and live lives that will make a difference for eternity.

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

Samuel was raised to be a faithful priest. He lived with the utmost of integrity and honored God. He was recognized by all the people to be a prophet (1Samuel 3:20). Samuel would even anoint David to replace Saul. 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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