"Eli and Samuel" by William Brassey Hole
TO CHEW ON: "... And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation .... Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel by the word of the Lord." 1 Samuel 3:1,21
What a contrast between the beginning and end of 1 Samuel 3. Israel went from
"the word of the Lord was rare" and "no widespread revelation" to "The Lord revealed Himself..." What made the difference? A boy—and a young boy at that.
That boy was Samuel. What made him a good candidate to hear and pass on God's words? Some things we see as we study his life:
1. His mother's prayers and a kept promise.
He had a heritage of faith and was pledged to God from before birth. His mother Hannah prayed for him making a promise to God that if she had a son, she would dedicate him to God's service. After God answered her prayer she kept her promise and brought him to Eli when he was weaned (at three or four years old) - 1 Samuel 1:1-28.
2. He stayed pure.
The old priest Eli and his lewd and rebellious sons, Hophni and Phinehas, mentored Samuel. Despite the awful example of the sons, Samuel kept his innocence. With his mother hovering in the background, bringing, every year, a new ephod, you've got to think those mother-prayers were still ascending and effective to keep little Samuel pure despite his surroundings - 1 Samuel 2: 12-10.
3. He was attentive and obedient
In our reading today we see Samuel jump out of bed three times in response to what he thought was Eli's call - 1 Samuel 3:4-8.
4. He passed on the message.
God's words to Samuel were a chilling denunciation of Eli and his sons, along with a prediction of judgment. Notice that after hearing them, Samuel didn't rush off to tell Eli. In fact, the next morning Eli had to pry God's message out of him. But Samuel did finally tell him exactly what God had said, even though it was nasty. Perhaps this was an apprenticeship test for Samuel, because throughout his ministry God would give him many more unpleasant messages to deliver.
We can apply some of these qualities to our lives to ensure the word of the Lord is not rare in our days.
- We can pray for, dedicate, and support the next generation in the things of God—our children and the young people in our churches.
- We can ourselves cultivate a keen ear to hear God's voice and be quick to respond to His voice.
- We must then be willing to speak God's words to our generation, both the pleasant and the not-so-pleasant, the words of life and the words of judgment.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Samuel and his inspiring example. I love how all his words were significant. May it be said of me, "The Lord was with her and let none of her words fall to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19). Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.