For the sake of his great name – Samuel

In the last devotional we examined the story of Hannah, pouring her soul out to the Lord, asking for a son.  God answered her prayer, and in response, she gave her son back to Him. “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord… And Samuel’s word came to all Israel” (1 Samuel 3:19-21)

“Samuel continued as judge over Israel all the days of his life.  From year to year he went on a circuit… judging Israel.” (1 Sam 7:15-16) As his career draws to a close, however, the national leaders throw him a curve ball:  “They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have… this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord (1 Sam 8:5-6)

 Those must be difficult words for Samuel to absorb.  The Israelites are asking him to let go of his life’s work, and allow them to undo all that he has attempted to accomplish. I can understand Samuel’s dismay, can you?

To make matters worse, God directs him to give in.  “And the Lord told him: “listen to all that the people are saying to you;” ARGH – really God!?

God explains that, “it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”

In those few words, God gives Samuel the perspective that He needs in order to obey.   He reminds Samuel to take his own pride and ego out of the situation and to serve Him faithfully, recognizing the true nature of his work and of the people’s rebellion.

If Samuel were concerned with making a great name for himself this would be difficult.  Fortunately, he has different priorities. “For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people he declares.  He recognizes that God’s name is at stake here, not his own.

In the midst of this situation, however, he still has work to do.  Samuel assures them, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.  And I will teach you what is good and right.”  (1 Samuel 12:22-23)

As we serve God today, let’s remind ourselves of the same.  We are serving for the sake of His great name.  He will not reject His people.  We are to pray for those we are serving; to teach them what is good and right, and leave the results to Him.

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

Blessings on you today,

Kristal Toews

Pastor of Women

“I was pouring out my soul to the Lord”

Chosen that You May Proclaim – Hannah

Is there an issue in your life that comes up over and over again – one that has no solution, and causes you stress and restless nights?  Do you ever wonder how you can move past anxiety to peace?  Hannah walked this path and found her way.  Her solution is outlined below:

When we read Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1-2 we learn that she was a privileged woman in many ways.  Her family lived comfortably and she was loved by her husband, but she wanted a son.  Her husband had two wives and Penninah, her rival, took advantage of her pain, “provoking her in order to irritate her.  This went on year after year.” (1 Samuel 1:6-7).  Hannah was wishing for a good thing but was powerless to make it happen. As she longed for deliverance from feelings of anxiety and helplessness and hopelessness, she was continually taunted and reminded of her pain: “This went on year after year.”  Ouch.

Have you ever longed for something, year after year? What did you do?

  • Hannah went to the only One who could change her situation.

Scripture tells us, “In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:10). When confronted by the Eli, the High Priest, who thought she was drunk, Hannah protested, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled.  I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.  Do not take your servant for a wicked woman, I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” (1 Samuel 1:15-16)

Hannah’s words were not pretty or pious; they were laced with anguish, grief, trouble and bitterness, but they were honest, and they were directed to the only One who could bring solution. So, Eli blessed her and said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him… Then she went her way and ate something and her face was no longer downcast (1 Samuel 1:17-18).

When Hannah left Eli’s presence, she did not know that she would conceive “in the course of time” (v 20) and bear a son who would become one of Israel’s great leaders.  She did know, however, that she had been heard by God.  Because of this reality, she could depart in peace.  Two things had happened in this encounter: pouring out her soul to God enabled her to leave her grief behind, and Eli’s words affirmed that her trust in God was well placed.

Years later Hannah sings, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.  There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God….. It is not by strength that one prevails” (1 Samuel 2:1-2, 9)

If you are in Hannah’s situation today, seek the peace that comes from being honest with God and pour out your soul to Him. If, like Eli, you are observing or hearing the pain of others, encourage them to look beyond the comfort you can give. We can help each other endure circumstances but only God can shape and change them; point them past yourself to Him.

Blessings on you today,


Kristal Toews, Pastor of Women