Read – 1 Samuel 3
Focus on verse 1 & 19-20
There is a direct correlation between the prosperity and freedom that people experience and the degree to which the same people walk in relationship with God. This is not a matter of religion, as religion is misleading and can be used by man to manipulate people. It is rather is rather a matter of being in relationship and submission to the will of God. When people live according to the design that God created them to fulfill — life is good. When we choose to go our own way and rebel against God — it eventually results in our destruction. This is not a matter of God insisting that we do things His way like some egocentric dictator, it is more like the way a father — who loves his children — attempts to keep them from harming themselves as they learn to make their own choices.
In today’s reading we find the nation of Israel beginning to sense a dawning of spirituality that had nearly been snuffed out by the lack of leadership provided by Eli, and the despicable behavior of his sons.
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. (v. 1)
With what was going on with Eli’s sons in the temple it should perhaps be no big surprise that “the word of the Lord was rare in those days”. The Lord’s offerings were being desecrated, and His name was being dishonored on a daily basis. It is interesting that by the end of this reading the word of the Lord has come to Samuel three or four times, and Samuel is gaining a reputation with the people as a prophet of the Lord.
And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. (v. 19-20)
The years that Eli and his sons judged Israel were in the spiritual sense rather dark years. Eli did not hear from the Lord often, and was not particularly zealous for the Lord in the way he led the nation spiritually. In this chapter we get a clear indication that under the leadership of Samuel there is a revival of sorts coming by which Samuel will lead the nation back into a closer relationship with God.
In the years ahead it will not all be smooth sailing. Despite Samuel’s faithful leadership the people will demand a human king which God will reluctantly allow them to anoint. The ups and downs of Israel’s history are not unlike the ups and downs we face as followers of Jesus. What is consistent in both is the faithfulness and mercy of God as He repeatedly picks us up and restores us to Himself when we realize we have failed. Like the cycles of day and night, we go through cycles of spiritual darkness and light. It should not discourage us to be in the darkness periodically as it helps us to appreciate the light more fully.