Continuing my reading in 1 Samuel (one of my favorite books) I was again struck with the difference Samuel made in the spiritual life of Israel. We see in Chapter 3 that:
“word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.”
And before that we see that Eli’s (the high priest) sons were priests before God but they were worthless men. They lived a life of an outward show of spirituality but the scriptures tell us they did not know the Lord and they despised the offering of the Lord. Unfortunately, their dad did NOTHING to stop their behavior other than an occasional “Tut, tut.”
Then we come to Samuel. We don’t know how long he was trained under his mother other than until he was weaned. I cannot imagine that was when he was 15! So, as a young boy he went to the temple to minister beside Eli, and to Eli, and before the Lord. As I mentioned before, Samuel had a heart that was quick to hear God speak to him and he responded with an immediate, “Yes, Lord!”
But I love the few verses we get at the end of Chapter 3:
“Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.
And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” 1 Sam 3:19-21
The testimony of God had gone out from Samuel (by the prophetic word concerning Eli and his sons) and all the nation knew that God was speaking to his children again. Samuel was a young man with ears to hear God speak and a readiness to respond and so proved himself faithful to receive God’s word. And this testimony of faithfully speaking for God went out to the whole nation. God’s Word speaking to the heart of a young boy triggered the hope of a nation. Not a hope in Samuel, but a hope in God.
Israel had one Claim To Fame; Jehovah. They were His children, His people. He brought them out of Israel to the land of promise. But He had been silent for many years. Why? Perhaps until Samuel there was no one to listen. No one willing to lay aside their own agenda and listen to GOD’S Words. No one willing to stop their own plans to willingly say, “Speak, Lord, for I am listening” and then follow through on what He has declared.
This is a truth that is just as applicable today as it was more than 3000. Do WE have hearts quick to hear God’s voice? Are we willing and speedy to respond with a, “Yes, Lord?” And are our hearts ready to walk in obedience and surrender, just as the young boy Samuel, testifing to all those around us that God IS with us? If not, what’s stopping us?