1 Samuel 3:1

Ahh, back to the Scriptures. There are few things I enjoy as much as a serious study of God’s word.  Now that things have started to settle back down, I am going to be giving some time to the continuance of the narrative of 1 Samuel, since much of what it says applies directly to us.  Here is the text (NKJV) of 3:1, which is all I could get through tonight.  More tomorrow. 

Verse 1
 1 Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.

The unusual thing to us here is that Samuel is ministering to a God he does not know (Verse 7) before a priest who equally does not know the Lord.  The difference, though, between Eli and Samuel is this. 

On one hand, Eli should know better, not only because he is the priest ordained to stand before the Lord and hear His voince, but also because he has heard the word of the Lord, especially as given in chapter 2.  The issue for Eli is that he refuses to act on the word he has been given, as shown in the previous chapter.  James 1:22 commands the reader to be a doer of the word and not merely a hearer.  Eli is doing just that, hearing but not doing. In not doing what we have heard, we choose to subject ourselves to deception.  We ask the enemy to come in and to deceive us.

On the other hand, Samuel hears the word of the Lord, and does the only thing he knows to do, talk to Eli.  He is acting in ignorance and without a lick of wisdom.  But he is not at fault because Eli never taught him how to properly respond before, because Eli would not know how to properly respond, something completely alien to him, because he has chosen all of his years the response rooted in rebellion.  He is old, and probably blinded in his attitude and hardness of heart and is incapable of teaching the lad how to hear the voice of God and then how to do the will of God.  Samuel shows here that He is willing to DO SOMETHING with what he has been given.  Blessed are those who act in ignorance moreso than those who do not act even with all the understanding in the world. 

Also beyond this, we see a potential reason for widespread inaction among the preists and people:  the word of the Lord was rare in those days, and there was no widespread revelation.  People did not move and act because the Lord was not speaking to them frequently in those days.  This begs the question, “how did the word of the Lord get to be so rare in those days?”  The book of Judges clues us in to what was wrong.  “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes.”  

Two things are evident from that verse.  First of all, everyone was so busy self-gratifying and self-caring, that they took no interest in anything else, an attitude that was fostered all the way back to the Exodus, and through the conquest of the promised land, when Israel repeatedly rebelled, refused, and rejected the message of God.  It was not that people did not obey because God did not communicate clearly and frequently enough.  It was that God’s people rejected the word of the Lord and as a result, God quit speaking.  It might be unjust to characterize God’s mercy this way, but consider this.  If I ignore my wife’s request to clean up the house or pick up after myself or to have a conversation with her, or if I refuse to respond to her when she speaks to me, pretty soon she is going to lessen her communication with me and cease altogether.  Same thing with God’s relationship with Israel.  God’s people kept ignoring, refusing, and rebelling against him, which caused Him to speak less and less.  

Second of all, there was no king in Israel.  Consider the next time a king was mentioned, it was when Israel was rejecting the Lord as their king (1 Sam 8:7).  The sad thing is that 1 Samuel 8 was not when Israel’s rejection of the Lord as their king began.  This attitude began to be fostered and seeded throughout the book of Judges.  Now I am not one to allegorically interpret the scripture, but I would in this case like to submit that a possible idea that the author of  Judges is communicating in 21:25 that Israel is leaderless, and no one is listening to any leaders, whether physical king, or divine King.  This statement may be communicating that Israel neither followed a human authority, or their heavenly Authority, the Lord of heaven and earth.  And because “everyone chose to do what was right in his or her own eyes,” the Lord saw fit to stop speaking and allow His children to reap the consequences of their actions.

The real question is, 

Are we doing the same?  Are we hearing and heeding the counsel of the Lord, or are we doing what is right in our own eyes?  Are our actions causing the voice of the Lord and the inner witness of the Spirit to be quenched in our own life, or are they causing His voice to increase and our communication with Him to become easier.

Consider this and let us examine ourselves…


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