Read - 1 Samuel 1:9-17, Hebrews 10:11
Message - Alan Burke
“First posted 3rd September 21”
Every man did what was right in his own eyes, remember that’s the context of what is happening here. It was the time of the judges, the spiritual rot impacted every area of society and and impacted those who were to lead God’s people in the worship of him. When Hannah came to pray we are told some things that should strike us.
Firstly as we are told after eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up to pray, while Eli was sitting. Hannah standing, Eli sitting, it doesn’t seem like a big deal but Eli was the priest, he was meant to be overseeing the Tabernacle, but instead we have him as an old man sitting in the corner so he could watch what was going on and Hannah standing to pray. The contrast between the two, one sitting the other standing is to make point, Eli is not doing what he should be, he’s all the trappings of spiritual leadership but he’s not doing what he should. Rather as the high priest he should be repeating the sacrifices, ministering day after day, the author of Hebrews (10:11) makes the point that the priest can never sit because their job is never done. Yet Eli is sitting, whereas Hannah, is coming before the Lord Almighty in prayer.
Secondly look at Eli’s observation of Hannah as she prayed in her heart and her lips were moving but her voice was not hear (13), there Eli though she was drunk. Now when was the last time you seen a drunk person? If this happened today most people in the land we live in would have some idea that Hannah wasn’t drunk and she was in fact praying, but Eli didn’t. The sight before him is so unfamiliar to him as he watches on he sees a drunk person because prayer in the temple is so strange and foreign to him he didn’t know what he was looking at.
It’s like a minister not knowing what prayer was like, Eli was more familiar to drunkenness than prayer. We may look around and see the spiritual rot of the country we live in take hold, it seems that every person does what is right in their own eyes but in reality we have nothing on the people of God and Shiloh in the days of the Judges. It was supposed to be the centre of religious life, a place of pilgrimage for the people of God but it was a shell of its former glory. Shiloh had become a spiritual desert like the rest of Israel.
What’s the point in this, well it’s not only that Hannah was physically barren but the greater reality was the story of the spiritual barrenness of the people of God. In chapter three we learn that because of their apostasy, how they had turned from the Lord that the Word of the Lord was rare and there were few visions in those days (1 Sam 3:1).But in the midst of it all, God was at work just as he is today.
As we close we can see the spiritual barrenness in Israel at the time in their High Priest Eli, he should have been the spiritual leader of the people of God. No matter how dire Eli was, no matter how rubbish, he was the priest, he was the anointed mediator between God and his people, a role that has been filled by the coming of the Lord Jesus, our great high priest, who unlike Eli can sit, and is seated for he has offered a once and all sacrifice for sin. His work is done, and what is more he can sympathise with our weakness, we can come before him and pour our our griefs and sorrows to him, he can handle our tears, and he is at work in the midst of it all even though nothing may seem further from the truth. The place we are to come is to our God through Christ our Saviour.
Q92 What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers. (Gen. 17:7,10, Exod. 12, 1 Cor. 11:23,26)