• William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 27, 2021

Daily Reading: I Samuel 1-3

1 Samuel 3:20

And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.

Here we are again, the beginning of a new book of the Bible. Each of the sixty-six books are unique. Each one has a different purpose. Each one is exciting. Each has their own style. Each teach us great and wonderful things that our Heavenly Father wants us to know. I Samuel opens a new stage in the life of the nation Israel. At the first, God dealt with individuals like Adam and Eve, then He seemed to operate through the patriarchs, then the focus switched to leaders like Moses, Joshua, and Gideon, then to the Judges, and now the time of the kings of Israel is being introduced. Another change in leadership is from the Levitical Priesthood to the prophets. Samuel it could be said was the last judge and the first great prophet in Israel. From I Samuel to the end of the Old Testament, both kings and prophets will be the focus.

Samuel bursts on the scene in like fashion of John the Baptist. Both born of barren women, both having a unique and frankly mysterious ministry. Samuel being the last judge and first prophet, John the Baptist being the last prophet and first preacher. This book covers three historical figures: Samuel, Saul (the first King of Israel) and David. They overlap. They also give the reader a journey through history with all the twists and turns of an exciting novel.

In the first chapter of this book we are introduced to Hannah, Samuel’s mother. From her story we learn much about prayer, specifically, answered prayer. One aspect of this lady’s prayer that is intriguing is found in verse 13. It states: Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. Notice two aspects from this verse.

One, she prayed in her heart, moving her mouth, but making no sound. From time-to-time people ask if it is permissible to pray without speaking. It was in Hannah’s case. Prayer is a cry first and foremost from the heart. Later in this book we will learn that man looks on the outward, but God looks upon the heart. Frankly, if I were to keep record the vast majority of my personal prayers are silent prayers. Someone asks me a question and from the heart I ask the Lord to help me with the correct answer. A decision must be made quickly, but more quickly a prayer is issued from the heart. Many times, while preaching, I’m also praying from the heart. Public prayers are needed, vital even, but the personal prayer from the heart is where all prayers, verbal and silent must begin.

Two, this woman Hannah prayed fervently. So much so that Eli thought her to be drunk. There are times when the anguish of soul and desire of the heart is so great that even silent prayer becomes noticeable. Throughout the Old Testament there is a word used for earnest prayer that is not used in the New Testament. That word is “plead”. Sometimes this word is used to describe the prayer. Many times, it is used to describe the Lord. The Lord pleads for others. At other times it is the person prayin asking the Lord to plead their case. After all, He is the great intercessor. Nonetheless, Hannah prayed fervently. Who, in heaven or earth, can easily deny a lady’s fervent heartfelt plea?

God heard her prayer, and she lived up to the vow of her prayer. She was blessed as her prayer was answered miraculously. In fact, she received more than she asked for, God giving her three sons and two daughters. Take that Penenniah!

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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