Listening and Telling
Lord, I yearn to live to Your praise. Let something of Your beauty be seen in me.
Read 1 Samuel 3:1-4:1
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Oh, Give me Samuel’s ear, An open ear, O Lord, Alive and quick to hear each whisper of Your Word; Like him to answer to Your call And to obey You first of all” (James Drummond Burns, 1823-1864).
This story is familiar to many from childhood. The drama of a young lad listening and responding to God’s Word has been told as an appealing example through the ages. The greater significance is seen in the way the story is told. We have just read of judgment on the house of Eli, yet Samuel remains “under Eli” as he “ministered before the Lord” (1). The events to unfold one night around dawn will reinforce the message of judgment and mark a change in leadership from Eli to Samuel.
The chapter’s contrasting, framing references to “the word of the Lord” (1,21) point to the shift from the doomed priesthood of Eli’s family to Samuel’s national leadership as prophet, priest and judge. A young Samuel, who initially does not “know the Lord” (7; also, describing Eli’s sons, 2:12), receives a revelation of the Lord himself through his Word (10,21) to which, unlike Eli’s sons, he is obedient. The threefold call, “Samuel” (4,6, and 8) also gives a role to Eli: God chose him to draw Samuel into a closer understanding of God. Eli had failed with his sons, but not with Samuel.
The call of Samuel in an audible vision is the beginning of many more words that God ensures comes to pass so that “all Israel,” from north to south, sees Samuel as an “attested” prophet (20). We have moved from the lad eagerly serving in the sanctuary to the adult who brings the Lord’s words to the whole country. The next step has been taken on the journey to an anointed king. Who could have foreseen what Samuel’s young “Here I am” would lead to under God? Who can foresee where our similar response may lead (c.f. Mark 1:16-20; Acts 26:19)?
How and how well do you recognize and listen to the voice of God speaking to you?
Father, I long for the listening ear of Samuel. Help me to filter out the clamoring voices around me and to hear Your still, small voice.