There’s a lot of stuff going on in the first couple of chapters of 1 Samuel. And it’s all happening at Shiloh, the “place of rest.” Only, there’s not a lot of rest going on.
There, though a family comes to worship, marital discord weighs heavy (the risk you take, I suppose, when you have two wives). They’ve come to offer their firstfruits yet one of the wives is barren and the other is berating. The barren wife is compelled to desperately pour out her soul for a son,yet is misunderstood for being completely drunk.
There’s a bloated high priest who honors his sons more than His Sovereign — sons who were simply bad priests. Bad not as in, not good at their job, but bad as in wicked. Bad as in, though they ostensibly served the LORD, “they did not know the LORD” and had no regard for the LORD. As in, they took what was offered to Jehovah and kept it for themselves. As in, they lay with women who were serving in the LORD’s holy place on the doorstep to the LORD’s holy place. As in, they wouldn’t listen to the voice of their father when he sought to warn them and correct them.
And yet, juxtaposed against all these happenings, is another happening. A prayer answered and a baby born. A vow honored and a young child given to God’s service. A boy who grows in the presence of the LORD, both in stature and in favor.
And as I hover over this out of control dynamic at Shiloh, as I wonder how a kid could flourish amidst such chaos, this is what pops from the page.
And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides You; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.”
(1Samuel 2:1-3 ESV)
God knows. God weighs. God makes right.
There is none like our God. None holy like Him. None solid like Him. None who is able to act as He can act. Because the LORD is a God of knowledge.
If you’re Eli’s sinning sons, that’s a terrifying revelation. If you’re Samuel faithfully serving amidst their sacrilege, it’s a great comfort and source of confidence.
God knows. God weighs. God acts — according to His purposes, all in His timing.
And that’s Shiloh, a place of rest.
Because of His unfailing grace. All for His unfathomable glory.