Room to Grow
Samuel would probably have been about 3yrs of age when his parents brought him to Shiloh in fulfilment of Hannah’s vow. (1Samuel 1.11, 21-28) Hannah had time and many reasons to change her mind: Elkanah could have cancelled the promise (Num. 30:10-15)
Clearly her mind is steadfast, her preparations complete as `she and Elkannah willingly surrender Samuel to live in God’s house and work alongside Eli.
A coat for Samuel
Hannah Elkannah and Samuel must have anticipated their annual visit with joy and there is a simple but lovely sentence often overlooked:
Each year his mother made a small coat (robe) for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. (1 Samuel 2:19)
No doubt Samuel needed this coat or robe!
Each year parents gather new uniforms for the start of the school year. A task which most parents find stressful naming items and making sure all is washed and ready. Hannah would have spent many hours making the garment perhaps weaving the cloth cutting and sewing the finished garment.
How much would he have grown since they saw him last and how much should she allow for growth in the following year? At the start of the year did he have tucked up sleeves and hem; did he struggle to fit into it by the end of each year?
As adults we become very comfortable with the clothes we wear having passed the youthful rapid growth stages. In many ways we can also become spiritually comfortable!
These weeks of ‘lockdown’ have challenged us to rethink many ways of behaving! Perhaps we also need to get a bigger (spiritual) jacket!
Paul’s complaint about the Corinthian church (1Cor 3.1-3) was that they were not ready for anything stronger; preference, criticism and division had stunted their expected growth!
A bigger jacket
We have heard several speak of a new move of the Holy Spirit and I want to suggest several areas to for possible growth.
• A bigger jacket for believing in God’s ability to keep: Hannah must have had such a confidence in God as she handed Samuel over to Eli to know that he would be preserved from the attitudes of the household. See also 2 Tim. 1:12; Phil 33.4-11.
• A bigger jacket for hearing God’s voice. Samuel’s obedience to God, his commitment to his daily mundane tasks and his dedication to dwelling in God’s presence created the opportunity for God to speak despite the fact that ‘in those days messages from the LORD were very rare and visions were quite uncommon’ (1Sam 3.1, 19-21)
• A bigger jacket of awe and understanding in the presence of God. Eli and his sons had lost their sense of awe and their understanding of a Holy and Righteous God! Their desires became more important than obeying God’s word. (1Sam 2.12 ‘no respect’ (NLT)
• A bigger jacket of expectation and faith for God to provide fresh opportunities for growth and development in all areas of your life. So often we make ‘things’ the reason for not being or doing (as in Lk 14.18). God can change things so we have a CAN DO attitude
• A bigger jacket of anticipation that God will change me internally so that my life will be different externally. Growth is always internal before it becomes external. (Rom 12.1-2)
• A bigger jacket of God’s presence that empowers me as a culture changer rather than a culture reflector. (Job 1.9 demonstrates; Fear of God + Righteous Living = God’s Protection)
It’s time for a bigger jacket …. what will you ask God to give you?