Perspective 1- Barb Miles

Samuel, who was already a gift from God to Hannah was taken to Shiloh after he was weaned to be a prophet of the Lord.  Samuel is one of the few leaders of the Lord that consistently led the people by God’s word, not being influenced by others or leading for his own needs.

The first example of this came soon after Samuel had been taken to the temple.  Eli’s eyes had become weak but Eli heard the Lord call Samuel.  Three times Samuel went to Eli thinking Eli was calling him.  After the third time, Eli realized the Lord was calling for Samuel.  After the Lord spoke to Samuel he learned that Eli’s family would be judged according to the sins they had committed.  When Eli woke and asked Samuel to tell him what the Lord spoke about, Samuel did not withhold anything from his conversation with God.  Wouldn’t that be hard, to share a condemning message from God?

Again, when the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines, the Israelites decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant of God back.  Through another attack the Philistines captured the ark and set it beside their false gods.  Because God did not want to be mocked, He caused the false God to crumble.  Through this Samuel insisted the Israelites return to the one true God.

When the Israelites told Samuel his sons were not following his ways, they asked for a king.  Samuel told God of this request and God told them to give them a King, Him.  Samuel followed His word and sent everyone back to their homes.  In the meantime, a man named Saul was looking with a servant for his fathers donkeys.  After no success he wanted to return home, but his servant suggested they go see a man of God.  The Lord had already revealed to Samuel that a man would be coming that would be anointed ruler of the people of Israel.

Next, Saul attacked the Philistines, and after not surviving the attack his army started to scatter.  When Samuel arrived and saw Saul and his army were in fear, Samuel admonished Saul.  Samuel commanded Saul to attack the Amalekites by putting all their people to death, including all animals. Saul saved some of the strongest animals and destroyed the weakest. Saul did not follow God’s command.  Time and again, Samuel carried out God’s messages, but the Israelites always failed to follow God.

Samuel always followed Gods commands.  Samuel was clear each time God told him what to do or what would be happening.   If God’s message is so clear, why do we question it?  Samuel didn’t.

Perspective 2- Pastor Ron

I guess cruel people have been around since the fall into sin or at least since the time of Hannah.  Much is going on in chapter 10 of “The Story,” but on the first page, the second paragraph we have incredible cruelty. “Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.  This went on year after year.  Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.”  Are you kidding me?  Here is a woman who desperately wants to have children and is unable to.  The personal anguish, the disappointment month after month, and now to have someone rubbing your nose in it!!  Let’s not forget this is not a one-time event, but year after year.  I cannot think of anything more cruel.  What kind person was this Peninnah?

I suppose Peninnah is like so many people today that for one reason or another prey upon other people’s vulnerable spots. The more I thought about the recording of the cruelty, which could easily be missed, the more impressed I was with Hannah.  Year after year she puts up with not having a child and the cruel words of Peninnah and yet she keeps coming back to the Lord.  It seems the more she suffers, the more pain she is in, the more Peninnah provokes her, the more fervently she prays.  This is a woman of incredible faith…and honor.  She makes a vow to God that if he gives her a son she will dedicate his life in service to God…Then she follows through with her promise.  She could have easily kept the boy for herself and not told anyone about the promise.  But, she is a woman of faith and integrity.

In a sense, God used Peninnah’s cruelty to highlight Hannah’s faithfulness.  I wonder how often something similar to that happens today and we miss it.

Perspective 3- Dan Petrak

Perspective 4- Kelsey Rath

While reading chapter 10 in the story, the line that said God changed Saul’s heart really made me think. Some of you may have thought oh, well yeah, God changed his heart, whatever. But what if that was you, where you had God come into your life and change your heart. Or maybe you’re Saul right now. You are still waiting or hoping God will come and change your heart. So take a moment and think….. Has God changed your heart?