Tuesday, July 12, 2011

1 Samuel 2 - Parental Contrasts

LINK: 1 Samuel 2


BACKGROUND


Hannah responded in praise to God for His divine goodness in answer to her petition for a son. She said, "My horn is exalted in the LORD." Some believe "horn" symbolizes strength, but the A Commentary Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments says:
Allusion is here made to a peculiarity in the dress of Eastern women about Lebanon, which seems to have obtained anciently among the Israelite women, that of wearing a tin or silver horn on the forehead, on which their veil is suspended. Wives, who have no children, wear it projecting in an oblique direction, while those who become mothers forthwith raise it a few inches higher, inclining towards the perpendicular, and by this slight but observable change in their headdress, make known, wherever they go, the maternal character which they now bear.
In her praise, Hannah acknowledged the Lord's holiness, strength, knowledge, discernment, and sovereignty. It is a beautiful prayer!

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Note that verse 10 says, "He will give strength to His king; and He will exalt the horn of His anointed." This is the first Old Testament reference to an individual being "His anointed." The word for "anointed" in Hebrew is māšîaḥ ("Messiah"). Many commentators believe this refers to Christ, the Messiah! Note that there is much similarity between Hannah's prayer and Mary's prayer in Luke 1.

Samuel increased in "stature and in favor with the LORD and with men" (This is also found in Luke 2:52 in reference to Jesus. If you have children, this is a good thing to continually pray for them.). He also blessed the godly house of Elkanah and Hannah with more children.

Then the chapter shifts so as to show a contrast of parenting. Elkanah and Hannah had dedicated their son to the LORD, but Eli had lost control of his two sons. They were "worthless" men who took the choice meat meant for the LORD as an offering and practiced ritual fornication like the pagan Canaanites.  Eli was told by a man of God that the priesthood would be lost from him. It was eventually lost from Abiathar, a descendant of Aaron's son, Ithamar, and given to Zadok, a descendant of his son, Eleazar (1 Kings 2:27, 35).

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

Eventually, the priesthood was given to the ultimate "faithful Priest" who was also the Lord's "Anointed One." He is both Priest and King (1 Samuel 2:35; Psalm 110; Hebrews 5:6; Revelation 19:16)!

REFLECTION

Hannah and Elkanah were good parents. They dedicated their son to the Lord, and it will turn out well for him. Instead of responding with a "Poor me, I've lost my only son" kind of attitude, she responded in praise to God!

Their parenting is contrasted with the poor parenting of Eli. His sons were wicked men. My husband George has meditated on this passage quite a bit as he has raised our two boys. This morning George said, "Eli let them do what they wanted and did nothing to cross them when he saw them doing wrong. I wonder if it is because he was old."  Parents have an obligation to correct their children when they are going the wrong way. It is part of our job to "cross" our kids!

I am not saying you should control or micromanage your kids because they need to have some freedom to make choices (THAT is a whole other topic that I feel really strongly about), but when you see them going down the wrong path (and ritual fornication and stealing the LORD's offering is the WRONG path), you correct them!

APPLICATION


If you are a parent, begin thinking about your parenting. Seek the LORD's face for His direction. We will talk more about parenting when we get to Samuel's sons. (Why didn't he learn from Eli's mistakes?)

Let your application today be about praise to God by praying through Hannah's prayer below.

PRAYER 

1 Samuel 2:1-10 (NASB95)

1 My heart exults in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

2 There is no one holy like the Lord,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

3 Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the Lord is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.

4 The bows of the mighty are shattered,
But the feeble gird on strength.

5 Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry cease to hunger.
Even the barren gives birth to seven,
But she who has many children languishes.

6 The Lord kills and makes alive;
He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

7 The Lord makes poor and rich;
He brings low,
He also exalts.

8 He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He set the world on them.

9 He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.

10 Those who contend with the Lord will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”

[1] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.


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