Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 2:21 (NIV)
And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
1 Samuel 2:21 (MSG)
God was most especially kind to Hannah. She had three more sons and two daughters! The boy Samuel stayed at the sanctuary and grew up with God.
“And [the time came when] the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the Lord.” -AMPLIFIED
Our focus today will be on the second part of the text, “And the boy Samuel grew before the Lord.” Those words “before the Lord” or “grew up with God” hold special significance. They are a reference to the fact that Samuel made his residence at the tabernacle, but they imply so much more too. The text indicates the fact that Samuel grew up in the very presence of the Lord; this was the legacy that Hannah had made possible for Samuel by leaving him to grow up in the Tabernacle.
We need to make note of the fact that things were not well within Eli’s immediate family. His sons, who were priests, were anything but priestly; they were in fact scoundrels. Eli’s boys were sleeping with other women, stealing from God and setting a bad example for the people, in general. Scripture tells us this about them, “This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.” -(vs. 17)
This contemptible story of Eli’s sons comes immediately before we are told about little Samuel, “Now Samuel was ministering before the Lord, as a child dressed in a linen ephod [a sacred item of priestly clothing].” -(vs. 18 AMP)
Little Samuel was about his Heavenly Father’s business. Here was this little child who was learning the correct way of serving and loving God. His example of obedience must have been a stark reminder to Eli of the disobedience and unfaithfulness of his own sons. Growing up in the very presence of the Almighty will definitely have a positive effect on a person.
Meanwhile the sons of Eli continued to follow their reckless path of disobedience. Scripture continues in the telling of their story and shows us the contrast between Eli’s sons and Samuel. We can see how hurt Eli was by his sons actions by the reports that kept coming to him and the words he spoke to them, “By this time Eli was very old. He kept getting reports on how his sons were ripping off the people and sleeping with the women who helped out at the sanctuary. Eli took them to task: “What’s going on here? Why are you doing these things? I hear story after story of your corrupt and evil carrying on. Oh, my sons, this is not right! These are terrible reports I’m getting, stories spreading right and left among God’s people! If you sin against another person, there’s help—God’s help. But if you sin against God, who is around to help? But they were far gone in disobedience and refused to listen to a thing their father said. So God, who was fed up with them, decreed their death. But the boy Samuel was very much alive, growing up, blessed by God and popular with the people.” -1 Samuel 2:22-26 (MSG)
Eli’s sons had failed to pass the growth test, but Samuel had passed with honors. “The boy Samuel grew tall, wise in the ways of the Lord, and in favor with God and the people he served.” (VOICE)
Charles Spurgeon, in speaking on growth, said this, “Where there is life there will be growth, and if grace be true, it will surely increase. A painted flower keepeth always at the same pitch and stature; the artist may bestow beauty upon it, but he cannot bestow life. A painted child will be as little ten years hence as it is now” What need there is to observe the wide distinction between the picture and the living thing! Of painted likenesses of Christians we have more than enough; nor is the manufacture of portraits a difficult operation: what we want is the real thing and not the artistic imitation. Manton saith well that growth is the test. Many professors must be forever beginning again: they stick where they were, or thought they were. They were anxious about their souls, and are so still.”
Growth is a necessity of life, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If we do not grow we will certainly die.
“Growing Christians think themselves nothing, but, full-grown Christians think themselves less than nothing. The nearer we get to Jesus, the smaller self will appear to be. Self and Christ can never come close together. When I stand near self, Christ is small. When I stand near Christ, self is small. May God grant to you, dear Friends, to grow in the knowledge of Christ! Read the Scriptures more. Seek more the influences of the Holy Spirit upon them. Spend more time in devotion—ask God the Holy Spirit to give you a fresh sight of Calvary. Be more often on the Mount of Transfiguration, in the Garden of Suffering, in the Hall of Agony, under the Cross of Crucifixion! Live with Jesus and near to Him—and so, changed from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord, you shall, each one of you, grow unto the stature of a perfect man or woman in Christ Jesus!” -Charles Spurgeon -“Growth in Grace”
“Gradual growth in grace, growth in knowledge, growth in faith, growth in love, growth in holiness, growth in humility, growth in spiritual-mindedness – all this I see clearly taught and urged in Scripture, and clearly exemplified in the lives of many of God’s saints. But sudden, instantaneous leaps from conversion to consecration I fail to see in the Bible.” -J.C. Ryle
I still have not completely grown-up, Lord; I realize this fact. Help me to continue to grow and mature in your grace and in the ways that you desire for me. I want to become more and more like Jesus. May the World sees less of me and more of you. Help me to walk in obedience to you always. Continue to do your good work in my life and help me not to neglect my time in your presence.