Hannah is unable to give birth, so she comes to the Lord with her need and asks God in 1Sam 1:10-11. Note that she asks not only for herself, but also for God’s benefit. We often ask for things that we desire from God, but fail to include His glory and promotion in the request. This is one reason that we do not always receive the things we pray for – James 4:2-3. In Hannah’s case, God answers her prayer and she has a son. She names him Samuel, and keeps her word to the Lord, bringing him to the tabernacle to be raised there.
Set this is contrast to the High Priest, Eli. He has two sons of his own, but they do not follow the instructions of the Lord. Eli was the ‘preacher’ in town, but his sons did not know the Lord. They went to services every day and helped Eli carry out his duties, but although they knew what was right, they refused to follow it. 1 Sam 2:22-25
In Hebrews 12:6, the writer states: “the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.” The point is, if the Lord doesn’t discipline you when you get off course, you had better be checking your salvation. If the Lord does not send an attempt to correct you, then it is because you are not His child. Many people think they are OK with God because He is leaving them alone, when it is because they are not in His family! Heb 12:9 says “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!” If our earthly fathers corrected us to try to guide us properly, how much more important is it for us to submit to God’s guidance in order to save our souls for eternity. When our fathers on earth corrected us, we had two options – walk out and ignore it, or get the message and learn from it. These are the same options we have as Christians – turn our backs on God and suffer the eternal consequences or learn what God is teaching and return to Him and gain His promises.
Back in Eli’s house, God is giving a message to Eli – 1Sam 2:34-35 “And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phineas, will be a sign to you – they will both die on the same day. I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do what is in my heart and mind.” If we ignore the Lord’s discipline, there will come a time when He will say – if you cannot abide by my rules, then you cannot live in my house. The failure of Eli to enforce discipline on his children, and the failure of the sons themselves to listen and follow the words of God caused the destruction of the whole family.
The Bible says that good parents will correct their children, and that Christians will accept and follow the discipline of their Heavenly Father. Whose family are you in? Do you see the correcting and guiding influences of the Lord in your life? Are you His child?