Miss A Miracle

Miss A Miracle

Miss A Miracle
1 Samuel 1-3
August 6, 2023


A while back we had a storm that knocked some branches down. Our power at the house went out. I’m sure you’ve experienced a power outage before. When it happens you check to see what is causing it. 

So I did what anyone would do – I called a friend who knew stuff about stuff and how to fix things. He advised me to turn off the main on the breaker.

Later the electric company came and removed the fallen branches and power was restored. 

After the power was restored I turned the main breaker on but the lights wouldn’t turn on. So I called my smart friend and he came over. We checked all the outlets and light switches. Nothing was working. I was getting worried and thinking – “I guess we gotta get a new house”. My friend looked at me like – “you, just…”

About that time my smart friend noticed something: the breaker switch for the lights was off. He flipped it and – Ta-da – there was light. And the light was good.

We had tried to diagnose the problem – but we weren’t looking at the source. The power was available to our house, the main was on, but the breaker switch to the lights was off. When we went to the source of light, we found the way to restore the light.


In our passage today, we find that the power was going out in Israel. It was getting really dim and dark. And we will see that God gets to the source of the problem.

In 1 Samuel 1-3 we are introduced to three characters: 

  • a barren woman, Hannah, 
  • an old priest, Eli, and 
  • a young boy named Samuel. 

It’s such a great story – I wish they’d make a movie about it. Like all movies it has great characters, contrasted against each other.


Have you ever seen those quizzes that ask something like: “Which character are you?”

Like for the Office – Are you Michael Scott, or Dwight or Jim or Pam.

Or for an older generation – Andy Griffith – are you Andy or Barney, Aunt Bee or Helen Crump?

 which Friends Character are you:

We often wish we were the cool one (Andy Griffith, Jim, Pam), but when we fill in our answers it comes out that we’re more like the goofy Barney Fife, or lazy Stanley.

When we’re finished, what I’d like to do is to ask you which of these characters are you most similar to.

First, let’s consider Hannah.


1 HANNAH (1 Samuel 1:2-8, 9-20, 24-28)

In chapter 1, we are going to meet a woman who wants to change something about herself. She is powerless to change it though.

Her name is Hannah. And Hannah was unable to have children. She was heartbroken over her condition.

But what we will learn from Hannah, and what I want you to see for your own life – we can take our pain, our complaint to God.

Hannah’s PAIN

1 Samuel 1:2-3 – Barren

2 Elkanah had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 

-The Bible is describing what Elkanah did. No way the Bible is recommending polygamy, as evidenced by the chaos in the family.

1 Samuel 1:4-7 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.

-Why couldn’t Hannah have children? What’s it say? (v5 & v6)

the Lord had closed her womb.

-Some of our deepest pain can come from knowing that God could answer our prayer, but for some reason he doesn’t.

-Sometimes the proving ground for our faith is when our prayers go unanswered – will we trust God?

TRANSITION: In the depth of her pain, Hannah provides an example of what to do when we go through a storm. What to do when we experience deep pain and loss. Look at verse 9:

v9-11 – Hannah’s PRAYER

9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

Notice 4 parts of her Prayer.

1 Turn to God“She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord.

There are times when life is so difficult that you don’t know what to pray:

-1 That’s why we have the Spirit of God within us – he prays for us (Romans 8:26-27  – the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 

-2 – That’s why we have the church:  we pray for one another.

We had a lady this past week who came to the Lord’s Cafe – one of our young people was waiting on her. We pray with each person that comes in. When asked how we could pray for her, this woman simply said, “My daughter is dying and I am afraid.”

TS: We turn to God in faith because we know that God hears our prayers.

The second part of Hannah’s prayer was to complain:

2 Complain“O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant”

-“God, look at me! Where are you?”

-You are good. I believe that. But right now, it doesn’t feel like it.

-God, I know that you are powerful, but right now it doesn’t feel like it.

TS: Turn to God. Complain honestly. Next, Ask for what you need.

3 Ask – “remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son

  • Rather than simply accepting the pain as unchangeable, she asks God for what she deeply longs for: a son. 

TS: Turn to God. Complain honestly. Ask for what you need. Trust.

4 Trust – “I’ll give him to the Lord all the days of his life

If you give me a son, and I trust that you can do it – I’ll give him back to you.

Hannah trusted God enough to ask for a son

TS: Hannah has this model prayer. But notice next what happens as she is pouring out her heart to God: v12

Just Drunk – v12-17

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.  14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 

  • Eli thought it was more likely that a drunk woman was in church than that someone was really praying. (I gotta get a church in a better part of town)
  • -We can laugh about it, but think about the heaviness of this reality
    • the PRIEST did not expect God to move. 
    • THE PRIEST was surprised that someone actually prayed. V15

15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”  17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 

TS: God answered her prayer – look at verse 20:

20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.

v27-28 – God Deserves our Biggest Sacrifices

  • Hannah took her son, Samuel, to offer him to God when he was very young. Probably 3 years old.
  • She presents him to Eli the priest in verse 27:

27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

Hannah loved and trusted God enough to entrust her son to Eli.


So in our character study, next we’ll focus on Eli. Look at 1 Samuel 2:122 – ELI(1 Samuel 2:12-17,, 27-30, 34-35)

First, we’ll consider Eli’s sons.

i Eli’s Sons  2:12-17

12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 

13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

 the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, 

These two sons of a priest had ZERO concern for God or his laws.

That’s the household in which young Samuel was being raised. 

That was the model of priesthood that Samuel saw. 

It’s like Mandalorian – Eli is in charge of this child of Hannah.

But unlike Mandalorian, Eli is an aging, blind, fat guy who’s not really a great leader.

TRANSITION: Eli’s sons were worthless. But Eli had sin himself

He was dull and numb to God’s work & Word

Let’s consider Eli’s Sins in verse 29.

ii Eli’s Sins 2:29-30

TS: Listen to God’s rebuke of Eli in v29:

  • God came to Eli in a vision to tell him He was removing him from priesthood. 

29 Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’.

1-Scorn God’s sacrifices 

2-Honor sons above God

iii Eli’s Sign 1 Samuel 2:34-35

34 And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. 35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. 

Brothers & Sisters, look with me at the heart of Eli. 

What is it that makes God say about Eli, “I am rejecting this man?” 

Does he not serve? Is he not busy for God? 

I believe it is Eli’s rejection of God. He was numb to the things of God. He was so close, but not in awe.


Working in Lord’s cafe this past week, we had to cut up zuccini with this slicer. We’d chop them into chunks then the slicer did the rest. Four people cut their fingers that day. 

One person just touched the blade to see if it was sharp – he was right.

Eli was too familiar with the things of God. He learned that the word that he taught was also the word that would judge him.

We can be so familiar with these words that we forget the power they have. We will be judged by these words. You carry around in your body the power of Christ for salvation – Christian. You who are on the fence about following Jesus – these words will judge You

He wasn’t expecting or even desiring for God to work.

TS  Our third character is Samuel. Look at 1 Samuel 3:1

3 SAMUEL (1 Samuel 3:1-20)

Samuel’s Call 3:1-3 

1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli.  And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

It seemed very unlikely that the people would turn to God.

-All signs pointed to decline of God’s kingdom and belief:

-Eli was neutral – he was passing away.

-Hophni & Phinehas were worthless – and set to inherit the priesthood.

-But into the midst of this growing darkness, the voice of the Lord spoke.


4 Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

Eli missed the continuing growth of God’s kingdom. 

  • He failed to raise up the next generation AND
  • His eyes were not open to see who God might be calling.
  • It would be easy for us to just assume that the world will just get darker and darker.
  • Church – let’s not miss it when God calls people from our midst, from our family. -Let’s not miss those who are next.

TS: Finally Eli gets it. Look at v8.

1 Samuel 3:8-13

8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 

  • God will rise up Samuel. Skip down to v19

19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord

God will judge

God indeed destroyed Eli’s house in one day:

  • His two sons died in a battle, the Ark was stole, and Eli fell off his chair backwards and broke his neck under the weight of his body. 
  • God will judge those who reject him.
  • God will judge you – you will be judged based on what you’ve done, or based on what Christ has done.

Jesus tells us that on the day of judgment many will come and say: Lord Lord, we did many mighty works in your name. And Jesus will say, “Depart from me. I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness.”

Are you ready to face that judgment?

God grew His Kingdom – Down the road: 

  • God used Samuel to appoint David: the greatest King in Israel’s history
  • Under David: worship songs written that we are still singing today.
  • Under David’s son the Temple would be built.
  • Under David’s great grandson, would come the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Into the darkness, God spoke.

Into the messiness, God sent a miracle.COLLIDE:

As we reflect and respond:

Which character are you like? Which one do you wish you were more like?

1 Like Hannah: TURN

-In what ways are you following Hannah’s model of prayer? 

-In what ways are you different?

2 Like Eli: NUMB

-Hear the Word of God and do nothing.

-Hear the Word of the Lord and be numb. Unmoved.


Perhaps you are hearing this and you would say,

  • Jacob, I am a believer, but lately it has felt like the power is gone.
  • “I’ve been operating in my own power and strength. 
  • “The power of God is all but absent from my life”
  • How do I get that zeal and that power of God back into my life?
  • Is that any of you? – 
  • My prayer has been that it would be – maybe for just one of you. 

You get the power back on by turning to the source of power.


Turn to God and Complain to God and Ask God and Trust God

Perhaps today, you’re waking up and you need to pray: 

1 Lord, open my eyes to see what you are doing in the world.

-Church, you are surrounded by Hannah’s. In this room. In the house you will return to. As you scroll through your social Media.

2 –Help me see the Hannah’s around me.

Don’t let me miss the miracle!

What would it look like in our church if we were expectant for these two things to happen: 

prayer answered, 

people called to go?


-You feel like God may be calling you to something:

NEAR – at home / work / School. Particular person you need to talk to. 

A local ministry – Answer Center & Christian Outreach – filled with Hannah’s in need of someone to put their arm around them, remind them  who God is.

FAR – a trip you need to go on?  You need to support?

We will be taking trips to some far places over the next year.

Perhaps God is telling you today: Hey son, daughter, clear your schedule next year. Be open to going.

I say that not to guilt you into growing busier.

I say that because God is indeed growing His Kingdom.

Serving in our local ministries and our mission trips opens your eyes to see ways God is growing his kingdom.


If you are here and you would say – “I don’t have the power of God in my life. I’ve gone through the motions.” 

The good news for you is there is a way to have God’s power & new life:

Hidden in the condemnation of Eli & his sons is this verse: 1 Samuel 2:25 

if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?

We are sinners too – so who can intercede for us?

  • Only Jesus can – and he did. 
  • Jesus Christ came to be a better priest – who would not only do the sacrifices, he would become the sacrifice.
  • He offered himself fully to God on my evil behalf. 
  • On the cross, all of my sin has placed upon Jesus.
  • And for those trust fully in Christ alone, all of Jesus’ righteousness is placed upon you.

In the greatest act of love, Jesus humbled himself to death on the cross.

He took the blame for all of my grabbing and taking.

Then he turns and says to me, “take, eat, this is my body, broken for you.”

Do you want that? You can have itreceive it in faith today. If you do, tell someone, find me after. 


Living God, we want to know and feel and see and delight in You. 

I want that for myself, for my kids and my wife, for our church, for our friends. For my neighbor. For people near and far. 

Jesus, mesmerize our hearts with your glory. Send us out to tell of YOUR greatness. Spirit, call people to Jesus. Awaken us. Amen.