Like Samuel, God wants us to serve Him faithfully and He will reward us.
1 Samuel 1 to 3.
Hannah Prays for a Son:
There was a Hebrew woman named Hannah who loved God and wanted to serve Him,
but she was sad because she had no children. Her husband's name was
Elkanah and they lived in a town called Ramathaim-zophim. Every year
Elkanah and his wife Hannah journeyed to Shiloh to offer a burnt sacrifice
to God. Shiloh was where the tabernacle and the priests of Israel
were located, and the sacrifices were brought to the priests to offer up
While in Shiloh one year, Hannah felt so badly that she had no children that
she was praying earnestly about it to God. The high priest, Eli saw
Hannah praying, and when he learned what she was praying for, he told her
that God would answer her prayer and that she would be given a son.
Hannah was so thankful and happy that she promised that when God gave her
a son, she would give the child back to God to be used in His service.
Samuel is Given to Eli:
After a time God blessed Hannah with a son and she named him Samuel.
While Samuel was still a little boy his mother took him to Shiloh and
gave him to Eli the priest. He was to be used in the service of God,
just as she had promised, and when Hannah went back home she left Samuel
Now Eli was an old man, and so there were many ways in which the boy Samuel
could help him to do God's work. When the priests of Israel were
serving God in the tabernacle they wore white linen garments, so Samuel
was given white clothes. Every year his mother came to see him and
each year she brought him a new set of clothes. Samuel was very
faithful in working for Eli, and slept near him so that he would be able
to help him during the night.
God Calls Samuel:
One night while Samuel was still young, he heard a voice calling, "Samuel,
Samuel." The boy answered, "Here am I" and ran to Eli and said,
"Here I am. What did you want?" Eli told him, "Son, I didn't
call you. Go back to sleep." Samuel was rather puzzled,
but he obediently went back to bed. What would you have done?
(Let the children respond
He had been in bed only a little while and again he heard the call, "Samuel,
Samuel." Samuel jumped up again and hurried to Eli's bedside saying,
"Here am I." But the priest had not called and Samuel went back to
bed even more puzzled. Do you think he was also cross and muttered,
"Silly old man!" (Let the children respond). No, he
was a respectful and obedient child and this pleased God!
The voice called again a third time and when Samuel came to Eli, the priest
realised that it was God speaking to the boy. So he told Samuel to
go back to bed and if he heard his name called again, he was to answer,
"I am listening, Lord." Samuel went back to bed and sure enough he
heard the voice calling again, "Samuel, Samuel." This time Samuel
replied, "I am listening" and then God gave him a very important message.
God's Message to Samuel:
Now, Priest Eli loved God and wanted to serve Him faithfully, but he had
two sons who were wicked. Their father had told them that they
were doing wrong, but they kept on doing bad things. Eli should
have punished them, but he failed to do so. And now the time had
come when God was going to put a stop to their wrong doing.
God told Samuel that Eli and his two wicked sons would die, and that He
would raise up a new priest who would serve Him faithfully. This
was a very important message for God to give to such a young servant,
but Samuel told Eli about it the next morning. Eli replied that he
was willing that God should do whatever was best.
A Faithful Priest:
Things turned out just as God had told Samuel, and when the people learned
about it, they were certain that there was a prophet of God among them.
From that day forward, Samuel was loved and obeyed by the people
of Israel, for they knew that God was with him.
Samuel served the children of Israel very faithfully for many years.
After he grew up and married, he had two sons of his own, but
unfortunately when they grew up they sinned against God just as Eli's
sons had done.
The Last Judge:
By this time more than four hundred years had passed since Joshua had died.
During this period there had been no leader to rule and guide the
people, as Moses and Joshua had done.
Instead Israel had a number of "Judges" who advised the people of Israel
and sometimes served as leaders of the army. Gideon, who defeated
the Midianites with only three hundred soldiers, was one of Israel's
judges. Samuel was also a judge in addition to being a priest and
a prophet. But, he was to be the last of Israel's judges, because
his sons had become so wicked. The people then demanded that they
be given a king to rule over them just like other nations.
We Want a King!
They asked Samuel to select someone to rule over them as king. Samuel
felt very badly about this, but God comforted him and told him that the
Israelites were not rejecting him. "They are rejecting Me," said
God. You see under the judges, God was the real Ruler of the
people because the judges merely represented God.
God then told Samuel to appoint a king to rule over the people of Israel.
"But before you do it," God said to Samuel, "Make it plain that the
people will have a great deal of trouble, as their kings will make life
very hard for them." Samuel gave this message to the people, but they
insisted that they wanted a king to rule over them!
Serving King Jesus:
Kings are all right if they are good kings and the best King is Jesus.
Yes, Jesus is our Lord and Saviour and also our King. One day King
Jesus will rule over the whole earth for a thousand years. During this
time there will be no war, and no one will be hungry or be without clothes!
When you grow up, God doesn't want you to sin like Eli's sons did. God
wants you to grow up to love Jesus and to serve Him faithfully. And
then one day God will reward all of us who love and serve Jesus, and we will
live with Him forever. I hope you will be there!