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The sense of purpose gets a shot in the arm.

1 Samuel 1:21–28

Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the LORD and remain there forever.”

So Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the LORD establish His word.” Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD.” So they worshiped the LORD there.

Hannah is now focused like a laser beam on her vow and her role in God’s grand plans. The text doesn’t tell us how much she confided in Elkanah, but it must have been a lot. To his credit, he not only allows Hannah to deviate from the family’s plans, he supports and encourages her. The Hebrew that’s translated as, “Do what seems best to you,” (עֲשִׂ֧י הַטֹּ֣וב בְּעֵינַ֗יִךְ) literally means, “Do the good in your eyes.” He’s affirming that she’s doing the right thing.

And just imagine the look on Eli’s face when this woman he had insulted, then blessed, a year earlier shows up with the kid she had been praying for. She brings a huge sacrifice (three bulls!), reminds him of the incident, and presents him with the boy. He had to be at a loss for words.

So they worshiped the LORD there.

Even though Eli wasn’t the one who prayed the prayer, he blessed it. Now he’s hit with all that scary sense of responsibility and mystery that accompanies big, answered prayer.

And this one has all the marks of being significant for his ministry, maybe even all of Israel.

Hannah probably didn’t plan to “spring” this on Eli, but that’s how it played out. It was God’s scheme, not Hannah’s.

The LORD is preparing Eli. Life as a priest can get repetitive. The text doesn’t say much about Eli’s life, but, as we’ll soon see, his sons were extremely disappointing. It seems that he was just soldiering on in faithful service to the LORD.

But now he’s been lit. He’ll have to just continue soldiering on while the boy grows up—God’s timetable can be long—but his sense of purpose has gotten a shot in the arm.

And his radar has been activated. He’s on the lookout for whatever the LORD has planned next.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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