And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision (I Sam. 3:1).
As we discussed at the end of the Book of Judges, the nation of Israel was badly in need of godly leadership. The close, personal relationships that God had shared with the likes of Moses (Ex. 33:11) and Joshua (Josh. 1:1-5) no longer existed. Meaningful worship had been shunned by His people to the point that they no longer heard His voice. Each tribe looked to their own affairs and worshiped when and how they saw fit. In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judg. 17:6). Such was the climate when Eli, a descendant of Aaron's son Ithamar, sat as high priest of the Tabernacle at Shiloh and judge over all Israel.
Eli was the spiritual leader of a morally bankrupt nation. Scripture does not give us a reason to doubt Eli's character, but we do know that he failed utterly in the raising of his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord (I Sam. 2:12). Instead of heading the warning of Moses Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes (Deut. 11:18) and striving to live by the commands of God, their actions reflected the values of the world around them. Because it was their job as spiritual leaders (priests) to guide the people, their transgressions were particularly vile in the eyes of God. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts (Mal. 2:7).
Samuel came to live in the household of Eli at approximately age three. Although he had failed to educate his own sons, Eli was diligent in his instruction of Samuel, And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men (I Sam. 2:26). Because Samuel opened his mind and his heart to the teachings of the Lord, he was blessed with the ability to hear His voice. And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord (3:20).
The complaint of many self-proclaimed Christians today is that God has gone silent. They do not feel His presence, nor can they determine His will for their lives. They believe that it is God's responsibility to contact them, not the other way around. Similar to the son's of Eli, they use their position as "Christians" to further their own interests, paying lip service to a God that is not truly real to them.
If we want a close, personal relationship with God, such as the one enjoyed by Samuel, then we MUST seek Him out. God is NOT silent through His Word and His dedicated servants here on earth, God is broadcasting His message to all who will listen. The more time we devote to studying the Bible and prayerfully contemplating what we learn, the closer we will get to Him.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matt. 11:15).
Thought for Today:
God is calling; are you listening?
By Samuel, who grew in favor with God and men (I Sam. 2:26). Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).
1:6 sore = without mercy; 1:16 daughter of Belial = sinful woman; 2:1 horn = strength; is enlarged = rejoices greatly; 2:8 the pillars of the earth are the LORD's = God alone sustains and upholds the earth; 2:10 His King . . . His Anointed = Messiah; this is the first reference to Jesus' coming by the title Messiah; 2:13 in seething = being cooked; 2:15 sodden = boiled; 2:29 Wherefore kick ye = Why do you rebel?; 2:31 cut off thine arm = break your strength; 3:18 every whit = everything.
Pray For Staff: Jennifer Palafox • Government Official: Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. • Country: Iraq (31,858,481) in Southern Asia • Major Languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmen, Assyrian, Armenian • Fierce harassment of non-Muslims • 97% Muslim; 3% Christian/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for ways to share His love with others (Heb. 6:10).
James 1: 1 - 7
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.