Through the Bible Day by Day
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
THE GOD OF THE LOWLY
Hannah’s song was to inspire David, the Virgin-Mother, and countless others to sing hymns of praise. So the song of a bird will set the whole woodland ringing with the minstrelsy of a feathered chorus. We, too, shall sing someday! God will turn the waters of our tears, which fill the jars to their brim, into the wine of joy. You, also, my friend, shall someday take your harp from the willows and get from it music which will go through the world to stir men’s sad hearts.
How full of the Lord the song is! The overflowing heart ascribes its rapture to the Rock of Ages. He saves; He is holy; He knows; He weighs; He kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and up; He will vindicate our trust. We do not prevail by strength, but by yielding ourselves into His hands. God answers our prayers thoroughly. The gifts that come from above are good and perfect. Bereaved mother, your little child is yours still, though hidden from your eyes! Try to think of your beloved one as ministering to the Lord in the eternal temple!
Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.
GROWING BEFORE THE LORD
Not only were Eli’s sons strangers to the power of religion in the heart, but they had gone to great lengths of profligacy. They had seized on a larger share of the offering than was prescribed, and their rapacity had made men abhor the sacred rites. It is an awful thing when the inconsistencies of professing Christians cause men to abhor the service of Christ. It will go very hard with them at the last. The Master says that it would have been better for a millstone to be hanged about their neck; and one cannot but think that great allowance will be made at the last for those who have fallen over these stumbling-blocks.
What love and prayer Hannah must have wrought into that little coat! Every stitch was put in with such motherly pride. It was hard to give the boy up, but at least she could do something for him. How nice he would look in it! How proud she was that every year’s new one had to be larger! Thus parents still make the clothes that their children wear. The little ones almost unconsciously become arrayed in the character that is constantly being shown before their quick and inquisitive eyes.
Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
THE PENALTY OF DISHONORING GOD
Eli was held responsible for the excesses of his sons. He was a mild and gentle old man. But there are times when mildness and gentleness are out of place. We must be stern and strong when the occasion demands. It is always necessary to be on the alert, lest flabbiness and weakness should pass under the designation of Christian graces. Moreover, severer measures might have restrained his sons, 1Sa_3:13. Therefore in the message of judgment Eli was included, 1Sa_2:27-36. He is classed with his sons and reckoned as an accomplice with them in their sin against God, 1Sa_2:29-30.
Notice that prediction of the “faithful priests,” 1Sa_2:35-36. In its first reference Samuel may be seen, but beyond him rises the figure of Another who ever lives to intercede, and is expressly designated as “faithful.” Eli and his sons lived in the Temple, where the burning holiness of God was reflected in every service; but they seem never to have heard the chant of the seraphim, nor to have cried, “Woe is me, for I am undone,” nor to have felt the burning coal on their lips. Do not trifle with the sacred privileges of God’s house! They will condemn where they do not uplift.