1 Samuel 2:26 – Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favour with the Lord and with the people. (NRSV)
Samuel is a child of promise. His mother Hannah's prayer may be found at the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2, and explains why this simple story is told. Chapter 1 ends with Hannah saying: "For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. There I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is given to the Lord." (1 Samuel 1:27-28 NRSV) She left him there in the house of the Lord at Shiloh. The song she sings in praise of God becomes, centuries later, Mary's song of praise to God for the announcement of the birth of Jesus. These two women gladly give what they have preparing for God's future.
Samuel embodied the best of the future that Israel could hope for. Our text ends today with words we know well in another context (Luke 2:52): "Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favour with the Lord and with the people." (1 Samuel 2:26)
Samuel is the child of hope and child of promise, and such a child is fully used preparing for God's future. I truly wish we saw our children in the same light as Hannah — as gifts lent to the Lord, blessed by God, used for the unfolding of God's purpose and plan for the earth. What a wonderful world it would be if this were our prayer and petition before the Lord. The earth would truly feel blessed. In this FLAMES year of children, youth and young adults, wouldn't it be wonderful if our view of children was transformed by such a passage as this!
Here's how we prepare for God's future:
Psalm 148:13 – Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. (NRSV)