We conclude the “The Power of Obedience” with comparing individuals in the story.
Hannah visited Samuel and made him a robe every year. She dedicated him to the Lord’s service and didn’t forget about him.
As the Lord was increasing Samuel in the ministry, He was decreasing Eli and his two sons.
Samuel did not know the Lord yet. When he heard the Lord’s voice one night while laying in bed, he thought it was Eli calling for him. After three attempts of the Lord calling out to Samuel, Eli realized it was the Lord calling for him. He gave him instructions on what to do and Samuel obeyed.
The next calling from the Lord, would be the beginning of Samuel’s journey with God. As Samuel heard all the Lord had to say, we can imagine how scared he must have been for Eli. All that the Lord told Eli previously, was being told to Samuel.
When morning came, Samuel woke up, opened the doors of the Lord’s house, and was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called for him to find out what was said. Even took it as far as threatening him in saying that if he hides it from him, he prays that God does to Samuel more than what the Lord had told him. By this verse (I Samuel 3:17), we can speculate that Eli already suspected that the vision wasn’t going to be a good report. Samuel proceeds to tell Eli everything; hiding nothing from him. Eli’s response was, “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.”
When we read the story, most of us would say, “What’s wrong with Eli? Doesn’t he know he’s going to be destroyed?” But we, too, do it in our own life. We get forewarned by the Lord, receive a Word from the Lord via another person, or just outright know we’re doing it wrong. But we continue on the same path until the Lord’s mercy and patience runs out and we get hit like a brick. Why?
One morning as my middle son and I were having devotion, he wanted to read “Daniel and the Lion’s Den.” After the story, I asked the question, “God is so powerful that He shut the lion’s mouth to save Daniel. If we know God is the unlimited, can do all God, why aren’t more people following Him and wanting to do His Will and do good in the world?” He said, “It’s easier to do bad than it is to do good. It’s easier to curse, be disrespectful to people, and be disobedient.” My response was that it wasn’t any easier. On the contrary, it’s harder to be bad. If we have someone that is willing to lead us in every aspect, who is interested in our being, and is willing to take all our troubles and change it for His Will and move it for good, then why not let Him? It goes back to what we’re used to and any change in life is going to cause discomfort during that transition. We concluded with our discussion on doing a little good every day until we kick the bad out of us and replace it with Holy Spirit filled goodness. To assist in that, we took the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and for the month of December, we’re working on “kindness.” If we practice to do good, we’ll eventually be good and do the right things in life.
Samuel continued to grow in the Lord and Eli made no changes in regards to his sons.
Israel went into battle with the Philistines and were being defeated. Everyone wondered why were they losing this battle?
I Samuel 4:3-4 (AMP)
3When the troops had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Why has the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh , that He may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies. 4So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, Who dwells above the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of the covenant of God.
We see Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas all disobedient to the Lord’s commands. Hophni and Phinehas were with the Ark of the Covenant of God. Surprisingly, they weren’t struck instantly. But the Lord is a God of order and it wasn’t their time. Let’s look at this situation. We have three disobedient individuals and because they bring out the Ark of the Covenant, they expect a miracle in this battle? Is this how God truly works? No. He is no respecter of persons and if you’re disobeying, regardless of what’s going on around us, we will pay for that disobedience. These were priests and they had a responsibility to the people. If they failed, and gave a negative example to the Israelites, it caused the whole nation to fail, hence, losing the battle. They were in place to be a positive example to the people.
Not only did they lose the battle; the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, 34,000 Israelites died in battle, and Hophni and Phinehas were slain. When news came to Eli, he fell off his seat backwards by the side of the gate, broke his neck and died. Phinehas’ wife was pregnant and about to deliver a child. When she heard of everything that had happened, it caused her to go into labor and give birth to a son. She named him Ichabod and died.
I Samuel 4:21 (AMP)
And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel !–because the Ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband.
Comparison among the two
|Long suffering (positive)||Long suffering (negative)|
|Endurance (obedience)||Resistance (disobedience)|
|Sacrifice (positive) – her son||Sacrifice (negative) – his family|
|Reward – Many more children||Reward – family destroyed|
Differences among the children
|Samuel||Hophni and Phinehas|
|Ministered before the Lord||Despised the offering of the Lord|
|Grew before the Lord||Were worthless before the Lord|
|Favor with the Lord & men||Disfavored with the Lord & men|
Hannah’s patience, sacrifice, and endurance allowed her to withstand giving up something precious to receive the grand prize. Samuel became one of the greatest judges of Israel . He followed his mother’s footsteps of obedience and dedication to the Lord. Even when Samuel grew old and his sons didn’t follow his footsteps, he counseled with the Lord and obeyed what the Lord had commanded; he stayed faithful to the end.
Eli gave up, resisted the Lord’s warnings, and sacrificed his family and the whole nation because of his disobedience. It’s no coincidence that the children followed their parents footsteps. We have more power over our children than we think we do. Don’t allow outside influences and authorities diminish the power God has entrusted us with. Take authority of what belongs to us and work it for the good and glory of the Lord.