Wednesday, December 23
1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
I love how Eugene Peterson puts it in his commentary on 1 Samuel: “Most of us get bigger without getting better.” It’s too often true. There’s no required correspondence between the growth of our bodies and an increase in our spirits. Growing up doesn’t necessarily mean growing wiser.
So it’s pretty remarkable that Samuel does “grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people” (v. 26). As the boy grows older and taller, he also matures spiritually and socially.
He’s in good company. Centuries later, the gospel writer Luke uses that same language to describe two very significant children. One is John the Baptizer, who “grew and became strong in spirit” (Luke 1:80). The other is Jesus, who “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
All three boys had unusual beginnings. Samuel was born to Hannah, who struggled with infertility. John was born to Elizabeth, who was old and had never had children. Jesus was born to Mary, who was so young she wasn’t even married and was still a virgin when she conceived!
All three boys were set apart even before their births, and the lives of all three were dedicated to God. All three were prophets of one sort or another, proclaiming the coming kingdom of God.
In these final days before Christmas, let’s dedicate ourselves to God. Let’s turn over our lives to him so that we can play a part in ushering in the kingdom. As another year passes, let us grow not only older but more and more like Jesus.
Prayer: God, I don’t want to just keep growing older without becoming more like you. I don’t want to find myself at the end of my life no more mature than the day I was born. Make me like Samuel, like John, like Jesus himself—devoted to you, filled with wisdom, and growing strong in spirit and in favor with you.
The Advent devotions follow the Common Lectionary texts. You may use the devotions in a number of ways, but you are encouraged to do the following: 1.Read the passage through at least once. (Each devotion includes a link to the Scripture passage for the day.)
2.Reflect on the passage and pay attention to how God might be using it to speak to you.
3.Read and consider the devotion.
4.End in prayer. You may begin with the prayer offered at the end of each devotion or pray your own prayer.