Thursday, 29 September 2011

Samuel - A chosen servant

There can be no doubt that Samuel was chosen by God to fulfil his purpose and do a work for the Lord. In chapter 3 of 1 Samuel however, there is also no doubt that there was nobody else suitable for this role, so God had to raise someone up!

"And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision"

At this period of history we are in-between the times of the judges and coming into the time of the kings. As the scriptures states, there was no open vision and the word of the Lord was scarce and rare. The spiritual state of the land was poor at this time, and this malaise had clearly spread to the priesthood, who should have known better.

In the first chapter we see that Eli the priest shows a lack of spiritual discernment with Hannah, as he assumes that somebody praying earnestly must be drunk! Now we learn that his eyes waxed dim, and this perhaps didn't just refer to his physical senses but also his spiritual senses too. We learn that his sons were behaving wickedly in their priestly office, yet Eli did little to control or rebuke them. Also Eli failed to recognise that it was the Lord's voice calling the child Samuel, he clearly wasn't used to hearing God's voice!

[caption id="attachment_186" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Samuel is awakened by God's voice calling him"]Samuel listens to God's voice[/caption]

I think Eli had become comfortable and familiar with 'the way things were' around him. Maybe the spiritual state of the nation had worn him down, and begun to take a toll on his own spiritual verve. This should be a challenge to ourselves, that we should not become desensitised to the evil in the world around us and even become familiar with it and allow the standards of the world affect our Christian testimony. How easy it is to become embroiled in the world and become characterised by it's ways!

Little wonder then that God chose to bypass Eli and seek a fresh start in the young boy Samuel. It always encourages me that God chose to reveal his mind and purpose to a child! It teaches me that maybe God isn't looking for people who know it all, or who are great achievers in their own right, but simply someone who will obey his voice and be zealous and eager to serve and is teachable like a child. This should be a lesson to us, how teachable are we? How wiling and zealous are we in his service?

The chapter contrasts 2 individuals: Eli and Samuel, the old and the new, the outgoing failure and the incoming promise!

The challenge for us is to emulate Samuel, and to be looking for God's voice and be obedient to it. We must surely also avoid the pitfalls as shown by Eli, to never become people of comfort and leisure in this world and have our spiritual senses dulled.

Yours in Christ, Mark


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