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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

2020.03.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 2:19–21

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Samuel’s mother used to make for him (1 Samuel 2:19)? How often did she bring it to him? When? Whom would Eli bless (1 Samuel 2:20)? To whom specifically is he speaking? From whom does Eli bless Elkanah to receive offspring? In response to what? Then what would Elkanah and His wife do? Who visited Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:21? With what results? And “where” (in what way) was Samuel growing? 
The Lord’s answers to our prayers are always better than we know or imagine.

Back in 1 Samuel 1:10–11, all Hannah had asked for was that she would have a son who could serve the Lord all his life.

This request most certainly came true. The second half of 1 Samuel 2:21 reminds us much of Luke 2:40 and Luke 2:52. The Lord gave her Samuel, and now Samuel is not only offered to the Lord, but he is growing in stature (needs a new robe every year! 1 Samuel 2:19) and wisdom and favor before the Lord, 1 Samuel 2:21b (and men). Praise the Lord; He answered Hannah’s prayer!

But sandwiched between that answer is the extraordinary blessing of God’s high priest blessing Elkanah and Hannah personally (1 Samuel 2:20a), the ordinary blessing of them going home (verse 20b), and the rather surprising blessing of her bearing three sons and two daughters (1 Samuel 2:21b). God answers prayer! Both Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 1:11 and Eli’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:20a. Six children in total. Praise the Lord; He answered Hannah’s prayer even more than she could have imagined!

Yet, the greatest answer to her prayer is actually at the end of 1 Samuel 2:19. In 1 Samuel 1:11, Hannah had prayed, “O Yahweh of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me.” Now suppose that Hannah had a good, full life with Elkanah and the five children at home and Samuel up at the tabernacle… and then died in her sin. What affliction she would then have been in!

But the Lord answered her prayer that He would look upon her and remember her in the most ultimate sense—and we can see that in both the yearly sacrifice in verse 19 and the boy Samuel himself in verse 21. That yearly sacrifice would involve animals who would be killed (for the wages of sin is death) and then burned (for our sin deserves not only death, but the fiery fury of the wrath of God). This pleases God—not merely because His holiness and justice are satisfied and glorified in this picture of His wrath, but because His redeeming love and saving power are displayed… and, even more so displayed are His perfect Son and that Son’s forthcoming perfect work!

The saving work of Jesus! This is the ultimate answer to Hannah’s prayer that the Lord would look upon her in her affliction. This is the ultimate answer to every prayer of every believer.

And, dear Christian, this is the ultimate answer to every one of your prayers. Whatever else you might ask, you may not receive it in the specific details that you mentioned, but the Lord is doing so much more than you could know, AND He is doing the one thing that we can know for sure: every possible good for every believer, because He hears us through Christ and His sacrifice, and responds to us to apply Christ to us until at last He has made us perfectly holy and happy forever!

This boy Samuel would grow to be a mighty prophet. Through his word and ministry, the Lord would bring David to the throne. And through more fulfillment of His Word, the Lord would bring great David’s greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ—the ultimate answer to all believing prayer, and the One in whom all the promises of God find their “yes” and “amen”!
For what have you been praying? How much do you know of what God is doing in response? If you trust in Christ, what do you know for sure that God is doing? Do you trust in Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone”

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