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The Bible In A Year: Day 115

1 Samuel 2-3
Psalm 115
Acts 1

1 Samuel 2-3

The beginning of chapter 2 contains the song of Hannah. This song of praise is later echoed in Zachariah’s song of praise after his son is born, and most notably is echoed and elevated by the Blessed Mother in her Magnificat that she sings when she visits her cousin Elizabeth.

So apparently the sons of Eli, the high priest, were wicked and treating the sacrifices offered to God as something they were entitled to. Where the proper this was to offer the fat and other parts as required, and then taking their portion as the law entitles them to. They were essentially placing themselves ahead of God and giving him what they didn’t want. Very similar to the attitude of Cain in the earliest sacrifices of the Bible.

This whole chapter goes back and forth between the wickedness of Eli’s sons, and the growing holiness of young Samuel. It gets so bad that Eli hears of it, maybe he didn’t know it was so bad, or maybe he didn’t care until it became a public scandal, but he confronts his sons and they ignore his warnings.

Then a man appears and prophecies that the Eli’s house will be struck down because of this sinful behavior, and he promises a priest will arise who is holy and will offer right sacrifices. There were many holy priests during the Old Testament period from this point until the end of the old covenant sacrificial system and the end of Aaron’s priesthood, but I can’t help but think this prophecy is pointing directly towards Christ and his new priesthood.

The calling of Samuel is very similar to the later calling of the prophet Isaiah. God calls to him several times as he sleeps and he assumes it’s Eli the high priest. His response each time is the same responses given by the patriarchs, “here I am” even though he thought it was Eli and not God, it shows that he was ready and willing to serve. When they figure out that it’s God speaking to him, he’s instructed to say “speak Lord, your servant is listening” and at that God reveals to him that the judgment against Eli’s house is at hand because of the unrestrained wickedness of his sons.

Samuel is very understandably hesitant to tell Eli what he saw and heard, but Eli compels him to speak, reminding me of the way that the high priest compels Jesus to answer during the passion narrative. Samuel tells him what’s coming and Eli for his part seems to accept it, I guess because he’d know better than anyone that God is completely sovereign and can bless and curse whom he chooses, so no sense crying about it when you actually deserve what’s coming to you.

Acts 1

The opening of Acts has another note to Theophilus, just like the Gospel of Luke. This is why we’re are reading Acts after Luke, instead of the Gospel of John, because Acts is a natural sequel to Luke. He tells Theophilus that this book will be written with the same eye to historicity and accuracy, that what Jesus began to do in his first book will be continued through his apostles in this second book.

The apostles go out to the mount of olives with him, 40 days after his resurrection, and he tells them they’ll be his witnesses to the entire earth, and starting here in Judea and Samaria. And then he ascends to heaven, but while they’re standing there staring up at the sky, an angel appears and essentially tells them ‘what are you standing around staring for? It’s time to get to work!’ And that’s the theme of this entire book. As Jesus went, so he shall return, and it’s our duty to spread his message between those two points of time.

The apostles gather and Peter shows us that he’s the leader, a position he was placed in by Jesus, when he stands up and declares that they must elect a replacement for Judas. The number twelve is important as it represents the restoration of Israel’s twelve tribes, now the Israel of the new covenant, and so the restoration of eleven apostles to the original twelve is important.

Mathias is selected between the two candidates, and the manner of selection was casting lots to determine God’s will. With the selection of Mathias we see the first instance of Apostolic Succession play out.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
1 Samuel 4-6
Psalm 116
Acts 2

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