Most leadership training today prioritizes planning and skill instead of character and heart issues. According to leadership expert, Warren Bennis, the "core competency of leadership is character, but character and judgment are the qualities that we know least about when trying to teach them to others. The leader's character is made up of a tripod of forces: ambition and drive; competence and expertise; integrity and moral fabric. All three are needed, and all three have to be in balance, or the tripod topples. Get a leader with only drive but not competence and integrity, and you get a demagogue. Get someone with competence but absent integrity and drive, and you get a technocrat. Get seduced by someone who has ambition and competence but lacks integrity, and you get a destructive achiever."
Hannah prayed and said her heart exulted in the Lord. Her mouth spoke boldly against her enemies because she rejoiced in His salvation. She declared the holiness and uniqueness of God as a rock. Since knowledge comes from God and He weighs actions, don't boast proudly. He shatters the mighty and girds the weak with strength. God fills the hungry and makes barren people full. A sovereign Lord even lifts the needy to sit with nobles. A powerful God sets the world on pillars. He shatters those who argue with Him while protecting and exalting the godly. Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest (1 Sam. 2:1-11). God aids and exalts the humble.
Eli's sons were worthless since they did not know the Lord. They despised the Lord's offering by taking raw meat for themselves before boiling, even resorting to force. The sins of the young men were very great before the Lord. In contrast, Samuel ministered before the Lord. Lord visited Hannah and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Samuel grew before the Lord (1 Sam. 2:12-21). God only uses those who develop an intimate relationship with Him.
Eli heard that his sons sinned sexually against women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. He rebuked the evil he heard the Lord's people circulating about them. Eli said God mediates if a man sins against another but not for sinning against Him. Since his sons did not listen to Eli, the Lord desired to put them to death. In contrast, Samuel was growing in stature and in favor with Lord and men (1 Sam. 2:22-26). Those who are obedient to God and live holy lives grow physically, spiritually and socially.
Man of God told Eli the Lord revealed Himself to his father when they suffered bondage in Egypt to Pharaoh's house. He chose them to be His priests to burn incense and offer sacrifice. Eli's sin was to honor his sons above God by making himself rich with offerings. He honors those who honor Him. He lightly esteems those who despise Him. The man of God predicted his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, would die on the same day. However, God would raise up for Himself a faithful priest to do what's in His heart and soul while building an enduring house (1 Sam. 2:27-36). God sovereignly raises up faithful people to show His supremacy.
After allowing God to search your heart as you pray though 1 Sam. 2:1-11, answer the following questions:
1. Do you glory in God or your accomplishments?
2. Does your contentment depend on God or your circumstances?
3. Do you boast in God's wisdom or your education & experiences?
4. Do you depend on God's resources or your own?
5. Do you wait upon God to exalt you or do you fight for position?
6. Is your relationship with God growing or are you self-satisfied?
As God to change your heart and begin to apply the six lessons on prayer you learned in 1 Sam. 1:
1. Prayer that God hears begins out of your distress, bitterness and anguish of soul.
2. Prayer that God hears comes from a humble and contrite heart.
3. Prayer that God hears is nourished as you acknowledge your emotions like hurt, sorrow and grief.
4. Prayer that God hears is thoughtful as you consider the important issues at stake.
5. Prayer that God hears is continuous, fervent and focused.
6. Prayer that God hears takes what's most precious to you and dedicates it to Him knowing it's on loan.