|Posted by kelvinbueckert on May 9, 2021 at 7:45 PM|
1 Samuel 3 (1:10-18, 20)
Most of us will be familiar with Hannah’s story. One of Elkanah’s two wives, she was favoured by her husband, but sadly was barren. Desperate for a child, she sought the Lord with tears. It is significant to the story that she went to the source, the only One who could help her. She worshiped God in the Sanctuary at Shiloh, the religious centre of Israel until they lost the ark of the covenant to the Philistines. These are clues that Hannah was a Godly woman.
In due time God gave Hannah a son. She kept the baby with her for the first few years, but true to the vow she had made, she presented the child to the Lord after he was weaned, when he was about 3 years old. At that time she left him, to be brought up for service to God (1 Samuel 1:22).
What sort of impact did this sudden wrenching away from his mother have on little Samuel? We are only told that he ministered before the Lord, under Eli the priest (1 Samuel 2:11). Since we read Samuel wore the linen ephod when he was ministering before the Lord (2:18) we must assume he had been consecrated before the Lord. Now this seemed to be Eli’s second chance. His own sons were a grave disappointment, wicked men with no regard for the Lord (:12). Although they were priests according to their Aaronic lineage, they treated their responsibilities with contempt and then ignored their father’s rebuke.
Jewish history records that Eli wore two crowns; he was both priest and judge, becoming Judge after the death of Samson. He held that position for 40 years until his tragic death at the age of 98. Eventually Samuel succeeded him as judge. Both his people and the child Samuel warmed to Eli’s loving nature. Perhaps he erred with his sons because he was too soft.
Meanwhile God made His purpose clear to Samuel. We are not told how old he was when God called him, but this calling confirmed the role for which God had prepared him. The ground was laid at the knee of a Godly mother who taught him he was an answer to her prayers, that indeed God is faithful to hear our every cry and to answer in the best possible way! Continuing with our story - Three times the boy answered the voice waking him from sleep: “Here am I”. The third time he ran in to see if Eli had called, the old man recognized God was calling Samuel and instructed him how to answer. “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (3:9).
“Speak Lord!” What anticipation! With expectancy this young lad waited on God. How often do we pause in the midst of our busy lives to hear what God has to say? Did this child really believe that God had a message for him? Who was he? Nobody special really, and just a kid. If God gave a young person a message for us would we accept that it came from God? How many ways would we test it first? Do we believe that God speaks to ordinary people like you and me today?
Clearly there are lessons to be learned from Samuel’s life. The boy had a deep respect for his mother’s faith as well as that of his teacher. He was not sheltered from the evil influence of Eli’s sons, but rather learned as he watched them, to abhor that which was evil. When God calls we may mistake His voice for that of someone else, as Samuel did. Usually God confirms His call by repeating it, sometimes by another person’s confirmation. Eli recognized God was trying to get Samuel’s attention. In a day when visions from God were rare, God entrusted this boy with a terrible message of the judgment about to fall on Eli and his sons.
Which do we most resemble, Hannah, Eli, Eli’s sons or Samuel? More personally, have we answered the Lord’s call with “Here am I”? Are we afraid of consecrating our lives to Him? The question lingering in my mind is whether or not I want to hear from God? And if so, why do I not spend more time listening for His voice?
Speak, Lord, in the stillness, speak your word to me; hushed my heart to listen in expectancy.
Speak, O gracious Master, in this quiet hour; let me see your face, Lord, feel your touch of power.
For the words you give me they are life indeed; living bread from heaven, now my spirit feed.
Speak, your servant listens, be not silent, Lord; let me know your presence; let your voice be heard.
Fill me with the knowledge of your glorious will; all your own good pleasure in my life fulfil.