“And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.” (1 Samuel 2:26)
Warriors don’t generally appear overnight. They usually undergo years of training and preparation to become the fighting machines that will eventually defend the weak and the innocent on the battlefield. Resplendent knights started out as mere pages in their youth, working their way up as squires and finally being dubbed worthy to bear arms in the king’s name. For the greatest warriors of all time – men like Sir Lancelot, Gawain, and Galahad – this process began early in life and remained intensive well into knighthood.
Hannah’s little boy Samuel was dedicated to service to the Lord from before the time he was born. His training undoubtedly began under her prayerful guidance, becoming even more rigorous after he was placed in the care of Eli the priest. Surrounded by corruption and villainy, Samuel’s early training gave him a head start on the path to becoming a great warrior of the faith. Already as a young man we find him turning the hearts of the Israelites back to their true God, ridding them of the degenerate lifestyles and pagan idolatry they had been practicing for years.
Samuel’s training regimen consisted first and foremost of hearing the Word of God and preaching the Word of God. Like Samuel, we can train to be spiritual warriors by daily opening God’s Word and saying in our hearts, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.” And when we base our own words on the sure foundation of God’s Law and Gospel, we can be confident that God will be with us (1 Samuel 3:19).
Samuel’s life as a faith warrior shows us the importance of teaching our children and youth God’s Word from a very early age. It also shows us that our training program of prayer and Scripture must continue throughout adulthood so that God may continue to develop our faith and even use us as guides and instructors for the next generation. Then we can join with Samuel and other veteran warriors of the faith in proclaiming:
“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:23-24)
Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, bless my training as Your faithful warrior. Help me to remain steadfast in Your Word, ever listening with a contrite heart. May the words of my mouth and the deeds of my hands be a guide and model of Your precepts for others in their training. Let me consider the great things You have done for me, but especially the greatest thing of all – sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and rise again in triumph, bringing life and salvation to all who believe. Continue to arm me with this Gospel and equip me with faith to serve You, through Jesus Christ. Amen.