And the child Samuel grew … the child Samuel grew on … and Samuel grew… 1Samuel 2:21, 26; 3:19 KJV
And the boy Samuel grew … the boy Samuel was growing … thus Samuel grew… 1Samuel 2:21,26; 3:19 NASB
The story of Hannah and her burdened pleading with God and the birth and growth of Samuel is thrilling reading. It reminds us of the value of one woman praying, one life consecrated for God, and the faithfulness of God.
1 Samuel 2 is a chapter which depicts in sad and sobering tones, the evil behavior of the sons of Eli. Yet at the end of each paragraph detailing their evil, we are told of Samuel who kept growing for God. He ministered before the Lord (v 18), grew before the Lord (v 21), grew on and was in favor with the Lord (v26), ministered unto the Lord (3:1), and as he grew, the Lord was with him (3:19).
The soil in Shiloh was a sorry sight, but despite the soil, Samuel grew. We should never seek inhospitable soil, but if God places a man there, He will enable him to grow.
We are reminded of another soil inhospitable for spiritual growth. “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46), remarked a sincere Israelite. The soil of Nazareth was hostile to all that would grow heavenward. And yet, there was One Who grew up as a tender plant, as a root growing in a barren world.
The hardness and impenitence of Nazareth never hardened Him. The dearth of that barren area did not wither Him. He was a “tree growing by the rivers of water.” Ever in communion with His Father in heaven, He grew and was fruitful despite the arid conditions.
Not only was the village of Nazareth non-conducive to growth, but even the home of the Lord Jesus was a potential hindrance. Though Mary and Joseph (for as long as he was alive), valued the child they were raising, John 7:5 says: “neither did His brethren believe in Him.”
Knowing, as we do, the behavior of boys, there must have been days when His brothers would bait Him and test His grace. There must have been occasions in the home when they would plot against Him to see if they could ‘break’ His gracious and patient attitude. While we are not told of those years (and imagination must be kept in check), it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that His holiness provoked their sinful hearts to devise traps and ploys to try and cause Him to sin. We know that because we know our own hearts.
He was a carpenter during those quiet years at Nazareth. He labored with His hands and dealt with customers, many of whom would be difficult to please; some would be dishonest; all would be demanding of Him.
But neither the soil of the village, the taunts of the vile, nor the traps of the closest hindered the growth which marked Him as He grew up before His Father. Little wonder that after those silent years, before ever a miracle was performed or a sermon was preached, heaven could own, “Thou art My beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased” (Mark 1:11).
- There are six individuals of whom it says, “The child grew.” Notice especially the sixth!
- Psychologists say that we are the products of our nature (what we are genetically) and nurture (where and how we are raised). What does that reveal of the “nature” of the Lord Jesus Christ in light of the “nurture” of Nazareth?