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March 24 Today’s Reading: — 1 Samuel 3-6
“Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.”
1 Samuel 3:20
Yesterday, in the second chapter of 1st Samuel we read Hannah’s prayer of praise to God for his great goodness. She did not speak of her son’s excellence or the promising features she thought he possessed. Her soul was absorbed in adoring the Lord God who had given her Samuel. The holiness, faithfulness, goodness, and wisdom of her prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God consumed her heart, as she brought her darling Samuel as a burnt-offering to God, as Jephthah did with his daughter, his only child. Having God for her Rock and as the horn of her salvation, Hannah was full of praise and fully confident that her son Samuel was in good hands, for she had put him in the hands of her God. Now, we read that “Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.” Hannah honored God in believing him, trusting him to give her a son. She honored God in giving her son to the Lord. And God honored Hannah in making her son his prophet.
Manifestations of Grace
The third chapter of 1st Samuel shows us how the Lord God graciously made himself known to Samuel. Though at first Samuel was utterly ignorant of God’s grace, that grace is manifest in all God’s dealings with him, both outwardly in providence and inwardly by the impressions of his Spirit upon the young boy’s soul.
Are you, my reader, a young man, or a young woman? Be wise. Pray to the God of all grace, as Eli instructed Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” Ask the Lord God continually to manifest his grace to you and in you, as he did to Samuel, that you may be a partaker of that grace which is in Christ Jesus!
Are you an aged believer like God’s servant Eli? Bow your heart to God and give him praise and heartfelt thanks for all his goodness and grace bestowed upon you these many years; and beg of him that he will yet speak to you by his prophet. Then, beg for grace, like Eli, to bow to the revealed will of God in all things. O my God, give me grace to bow to you, surrendering my will to your will, especially when your will opposes the lusts of my flesh!
Trembling for the Ark
Eli trembled for the ark of God. He was a faithful man whose sons were rebels. The fault of his sons was in great measure his own, because “he restrained them not.” Yet, this man faithfully judged Israel for forty years. And when his rebel sons were slain by God and the ark of God was taken, his greater concern was for the ark of God. The ark of God was the symbol and token of the divine presence and of the covenant engagements of our God in the person of his dear Son for his people. It symbolized God’s salvation in and by Christ our Lord. God’s glory, God’s salvation, and the honor of God’s name were things of greater concern to this old man than his dearest earthly kin. My Father, give me such grace, for Christ’s sake.
Dagon’s Ups and Downs
When the Philistines had beaten the Israelites in battle and captured the ark, they boasted and gloried as though they had defeated God himself! They set the ark, like a trophy, in the temple of their god, Dagon, to show that he was mightier than Jehovah. Thus, they thought to mock God. But Dagon fell before the ark of God night after night, until there was nothing left of him but the stump on which the ignorant idolaters placed their helpless, useless god!
Jehovah’s answer to his foes was Dagon broken to shivers before his ark and the Philistines plagued with tumors, until in their desperate pain and dire disgrace, they gladly sent the ark back to Israel loaded with gold. So it shall yet be! Though antichrist, freewill/works religion seems to triumph on every hand, our God will defend his honor. Dagon must and shall fall before our all-glorious Christ. He will make bare his holy arm and cast the beast and the false prophet down before his Son and his church. And when he is done, all the gold of Babylon shall be brought into the New Jerusalem!