Singing through many of the names of Jesus, His Majesty, His kingship, His beauty. Names like Bright morning star, blessed Redeemer, most Holy one – I feel frustrated at the inadequacy of words to truly express how my God looks, how he is. Then it strikes me maybe one of the important words is “my” – he is my Jesus, he is my Redeemer – what a wonder that I can use that intimate word – a relationship word of true intimacy.
“ Yes Ian I am indeed yours and you are mine. That is what I created you for – remember in Acts – created that you may seek me and in finding me I will know you and you will know me. This is indeed the intimacy of the closest of relationships – yes words may not adequately describe this – but as you let your heart go you know, you experience My presence with you. That is what I desire for you, to enjoy and appreciate Me and that is what I desire for everyone who turns to Me and asks, seeks and knocks. Enjoy it today, enjoy Me today and enjoy Me every day.
Back now to 1 Samuel chapter 3. We have arrived at a picture of Israel, God’s chosen people, redeemed from slavery in Egypt, now in the promised land, but having drifted away from God completely, highlighted here by the evil sons of Eli. Into this scene God introduces a bright light. His name is Samuel. God is going to use this lad in His plan of the redemption of His people.
Chapter 3 reveals a vital aspect of the means that God is going to use in this process of redemption. You should see what this is as you read through this chapter. More than 6 times we read of God’s word or that God speaks. The means to redemption hinges on the fact that we worship a God who speaks and has spoken. His communication over time carries immense power because it is the very connection with our Creator Himself.
See if you can pick up the thread of what I have been saying.
Firstly in vs 1 we have a description of the situation in Israel at that time. It is featured by the fact that “the word of the Lord was rare in those days”. If we follow the biblical story we will come across other times when God’s word was rare. We read of it in Psalm 74:9.Lamentations 2:9 and Ezekiel 7:26 for example. These occasions were all a feature of God’s judgement upon Israel. He was withdrawing His presence and His communication with His people because of their sin and neglect of obedience to His law and guidance.
Perhaps the most difficult time was the few hundred years before the incarnation of Jesus, when God was silent. So this small picture is looking forward to the coming of another prophet” one day, who would also be known by the title “John the Baptist”, who would be the forerunner of the true King of Israel also called, “The Word of God”.(John 1:1).
So God takes the initiative to reestablish His relationship with His people. He has raised up a prophet and is going to give Israel a king. So He speaks to the boy. There is the interesting vs 7 where the writer remarks that: “Samuel did not yet know the Lord: the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him”. Was this the moment then that Samuel met the Lord and came to know Him? It seems likely since how else was the boy going to meet Him.
Interestingly the word that Samuel receives from God is a word of judgement. Judgement against Eli and his sons, and I take it by inference, judgement against the whole of apostate Israel, although it does not specifically stipulate that. Looking way down into the future we see another prophet we came preparing the way for a king. Tis time for the real king of Israel. Remember him? The word of John the Baptist was also a word of judgement and warning eg “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” Matt 3:8
Israel is ready then to start a new chapter and Samuel will be the one who will be the fore-runner hence the description in v 19 where Samuel proves His prophetship is authentic in that none of his words fell to the ground. In other words all his prophecies came about. His position is finally stated in 4:1 which showed that Samuel’s word was received by the whole nation.
Let us reflect a bit on this. God’s word has no magic power of its own. The power of God’s word lies in the fact that it reflects what God is saying to us. It is what He desires for us and instructs us to do. If we understand and follow His word we have His full power behind it. Jesus was in fact the living word and His whole life demonstrated God’s will and power in a dynamic way. It is our privilege as Christians to be able to receive and follow God’s word and through that to develop and grow a dynamic relationship with Him. Equally when God’s word is twisted and read out of context it is an insult to Him and carries no power.
This passage revealed to me again the importance and value of God’s word and His communication with us as well as giving us an insight to the greater plan of God for the whole world. May He bless you all richly this coming week.