Monday after the Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:1-21 (NKJV)
2:1 And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
2 “No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.
3 “Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, for the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.
4 “The bows of the mighty men are broken, and those who stumbled are girded with strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, and the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, and she who has many children has become feeble.
6 “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up.
8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.
9 He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. “For by strength no man shall prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.”
11 Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.
12 Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; 5 they did not know the Lord. 13 And the priests’ custom with the people was that when any man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was boiling. 14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, “Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.”
16 And if the man said to him, “They should really burn the fat first; then you may take as much as your heart desires,” he would then answer him, “No, but you must give it now; and if not, I will take it by force.”
17 Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.
18 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. 19 Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the Lord.” Then they would go to their own home.
21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.
There is a clear contrast displayed between Eli’s sons and Hannah’s son within this text. Eli’s sons, Phinehas and Hophni, were unfaithful in their service, while Samuel “grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.” Eli’s sons cared only about themselves and had no desire to do better, especially not toward God. Samuel’s service was carried out in faith. God generates this same faith-filled service in His own children by delivering His gifts of Word and Sacrament through His Divine Service. Yet, sinful flesh ever brings us to think, speak, and act selfishly.
Although speaking about not bringing a brother to stumble by having a dispute over food, St. Paul reminds believers about service that is done in (or outside of) faith. He was inspired to write: “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom.14:23).
Thanks be to God that His Word and Sacraments keep us focused on the proper object of faith—Christ Jesus and His fully atoning merits for the forgiveness of sins!
We pray: O God, the protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, multiply Your mercy on us that, with You as our Ruler and Guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.