READ: 1 Samuel 1-2
THINK: How do you handle disappointment and discouragement? Do you cave in to outside pressures, collapse under the weight of emotions or curl up and hide from responsibilities and people around you? The fact is that worry and anxiety can rob you of health, peace of mind, and joy. God never intended that you carry the weight of your needs alone. God wants you to make a habit of talking to Him about the things that concern You. The Lord knows your circumstances. He hears your cries. As you devote yourself to Him and trust Him to make the best of your situations, your present sufferings will fade in comparison to the purpose and reward God has in store for you.
RESPOND: How can God use disappointments to guide us in His perfect plans? (See 1:5 note.) How should we handle hurts so God can work through them? Why is Hannah's vow to God a good example for Christian parents? (See 1:11 and 1:28 notes.) What transition in Israel's history does the book of Samuel cover? (See 1:20 note.) What leadership role did Samuel fill in Israel, and what authority did he have? (See 1:20 note.) What character traits and acts of God does Hannah's prayer highlight (2:1-11)? (See 2:1 note.) How did Eli's sons defy God? (See 2:12 note.) In what way did Eli fail to deal with his sons? (See 2:23 note.) How did their behavior affect others (2:22-24)? How did young Samuel's life contrast with Eli's sons (2:26)? How did Eli's failures at home affect his leadership nationally, and what would this cost him? (See 2:29 and 2:31 notes.) From God's perspective, what makes a faithful leader? (See 2:35 note, subpoints 1 & 2.) Who ultimately fulfilled the role of God's faithful high priest? (See 2:35 note.)
PRAY: Give thanks for God's care and guidance through times of pain and disappointment. Pray that you will be receptive and responsive to God's voice at all times. Give God any hurts or difficulties you're currently experiencing.
ACT: Dedicate your prized possessions, activities, resources and relationships to God. Be particularly mindful of anything that may seem detached from your spiritual life or relationship with God. This may mean giving up a few things, but for most things it could simply involve readjusting their place or priority in your life. Ultimately, commit these things to be used in ways that honor God, promote His purposes, benefit others and draw attention to Christ.
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