Wednesday, 29 April 2020


What a contrast!

“They’re as different as chalk and cheese!”

“It’s black and white!”

You can feel, up or down; in or out of it; totally together or falling apart; with it or not with it!

Phrases that highlight a marked difference between things, situations or people!

If we read the story of Samuel in 1 Samuel, chapters 1-3 we can see a few contrasting situations.

1.     Hannah’s and Peninnah’s circumstances
2.     Hannah’s and Peninnah’s characters
3.     The frequency of the word of the Lord before Samuel and with Samuel.

A few thoughts on these contrasts:

1.     Finding ourselves in better or worse circumstances than someone else does not make us better or worse than someone else! They are merely circumstances! They do not determine who we are!
The thing that determines who we are is our character. We can develop our character. Circumstances happen, how we deal with them is up to us.

2.     Peninnah’s character clearly gloated (with maybe a dose of jealousy, see ch.1 v5) in her better circumstance than Hannah’s, using it to hurt Hannah’s feelings. (See ch.1 v6). Hannah’s character was one who looked to God in her circumstances. Even in her ‘bitterness’ of soul, anguish and tears (ch.1 v10) she looked to her Lord.

We see in the previous chapters that Eli’s sons who were priests before God and the people, were corrupt, not knowing the Lord (ch.2 v12) following their own desires and not God’s!
Is it any wonder when seeking their own desires, their own satisfaction that they heard very little of what the Lord was saying?

In contrast, we are told Samuel ministered to (served) the Lord, not himself. Samuel learned, (and it took a few goes!) to recognise God speaking to him, his heart’s response; “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
It may come then as no surprise that the contrast to;
“the word of the Lord was rare in those days, there was no widespread revelation.”
“So Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.”

The word was rare – the words of Samuel.

Father God, may my heart be right before you, may I serve you and not self. Help me to listen to your voice and speak what you speak. Amen.

Martyn Rowe