Are We Receiving Him?

Opening Prayer

Lord, I need to take an extra moment today to say, “Speak, Lord, in the stillness” (Emily May Grimes).

Read 1 Samuel 3:1—4:1a

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.

2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”

Samuel answered, “Here I am.”

17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.

4 And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.

The Philistines Capture the Ark
Now the Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines. The Israelites camped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines at Aphek.

Reflect

Sometimes when we stop to read and pray, our mind continues to whirl with many distractions. Calm your heart today.

At Shiloh the people are abused and the priests are condemned. But when the situation can hardly get worse, God speaks! He calls Samuel’s name (4) and entrusts his message to a child (11). Hannah was right about God’s great reversals (2:7). The boy who was God’s gift to his mother, and her gift back to God, is to be a prophet.
Samuel’s mouth is the portal through which God himself will speak living words of judgment and guidance to his people.
These “breakthrough moments” change the world (Exod. 3:4; Isa. 6:8). They transform our understanding of God, because we realize that he is always present, alert and involved in our lives. Our landscape is lit up with hope, because God is with us, to rescue and save.
Samuel is, from the first, a brave and faithful truth-teller (18). And Eli, for all his faults, guides his young charge—although hearing God’s voice is beyond his own experience (8,9).

Apply

Make some extra time and space to be quietly available to God and to listen for his voice (Psa. 32:8).

Closing prayer

Lord, awaken me to Your presence, Your purposes and Your love.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider