The study of how the child Samuel was raised is a most interesting study. What made his mother’s efforts such a success? The description of Samuel as a child is very similar to that of Christ. It says, “The child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord, and also with men.” (1 Samuel 2:26) Samuel must have had a very thorough conversion experience at a young age, so that the Lord could entrust him as a child prophet. Having my children completely surrender their hearts and lives to God is my fondest hope.
I found three aspects to Samuel’s training that seemed to have a big impact on him. These were his training during his preschool years, Hannah’s life and prayers, his training in daily duties and service. I would first like to look at how Hannah trained Samuel during his preschool years and then in future posts look at the other two aspects of Hannah’s successful training of Samuel.
Samuel’s is a most interesting experience, because his mother spent such few years training him, yet prepared him to be a mighty reformer, a dedicated priest, a faithful judge and an influential national leader. Many Bible scholars suggest that Samuel moved to live with Eli around the age of five. How could Hannah have so thoroughly trained a five-year old?
There is not a lot of information on Samuel’s preschool years, but we know that is all that he had with his mother, so it’s worth reading every detail that we can find. Hannah must have believed that even the youngest child could be godly. She put every effort into nurturing a love for God in Samuel’s young heart. “From the earliest dawn of intellect she had taught her son to love and reverence God and to regard himself as the Lord’s. By every familiar object surrounding him she had sought to lead his thoughts up to the Creator.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, 572) Hannah used nature to teach the child of nature’s Creator.
How much time have you spent outdoors with your preschooler recently? And of the time you have spent out there, have you spent that time talking of nature’s Creator? I want to spend more time pointing my preschooler to our amazing Creator.
Nature is an amazing resource for homeschoolers. It’s free. It’s available to everybody, even city dwellers. It’s big. It’s healthy. It offers profound lessons. “So through the creation we are to become acquainted with the Creator. The book of nature is a great lesson book, which in connection with the Scriptures we are to use in teaching others of His character, and guiding lost sheep back to the fold of God. As the works of God are studied, the Holy Spirit flashes conviction into the mind. It is not the conviction that logical reasoning produces; but unless the mind has become too dark to know God, the eye too dim to see Him, the ear too dull to hear His voice, a deeper meaning is grasped, and the sublime, spiritual truths of the written word are impressed on the heart.
“In these lessons direct from nature, there is a simplicity and purity that makes them of the highest value. All need the teaching to be derived from this source. In itself the beauty of nature leads the soul away from sin and worldly attractions, and toward purity, peace, and God. Too often the minds of students are occupied with men’s theories and speculations, falsely called science and philosophy. They need to be brought into close contact with nature. Let them learn that creation and Christianity have one God. Let them be taught to see the harmony of the natural with the spiritual. Let everything which their eyes see or their hands handle be made a lesson in character building. Thus the mental powers will be strengthened, the character developed, the whole life ennobled.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 23, 24
Maybe you, like me, sometimes wonder how to turn everything around us into an object lesson about our Creator. I’ve been trying to learn to do that better. One of the ways that I have found as a starting place is using the parables of Christ that refer to nature. Taking children outdoors and teaching them the parables of Christ while they can see the things that He was referencing helps them to really grasp the meanings of His words. “So wide was Christ’s view of truth, so extended His teaching, that every phase of nature was employed in illustrating truth. The scenes upon which the eye daily rests were all connected with some spiritual truth, so that nature is clothed with the parables of the Master.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 20
Photo Credit: An Indian Paintbrush in front of a waterfall at Glacier National Park ©2009 Nathan Clark
I’d like to challenge you today: take your children, especially those preschoolers, outdoors and point them to nature and to nature’s Creator. Teach them to love Him, to respect Him and to reverence Him. Then pray that they’ll give their hearts right now to their Creator.