Thursday, February 10, 2011

Samuel's First Encounter with God Not Warm & Fuzzy (Bible Notes: 1 Sam 3)

There are certain accounts in the Bible that are popular for publishers to include in their Bible storybooks for children. The account of God calling Samuel as a young lad is one of them: “Samuel, Samuel.” “Speak, for your servant hears.”

So when we long-time Christians come to 1 Samuel 3, we may feel a soft glow as we commence reading.

But have you ever realized that the message of the Lord at that time was one of judgment? “Speak, for your servant hears” was followed by an earful. Samuel's first encounter with the Lord God is with God in his holiness and righteous wrath against sin.

“Israel’s going to sit up and take notice at what I’m about to do to Eli & Sons. They are going down, because his sons blasphemed me, and Eli knew about it. No sacrifice or offering will atone for their sins.” (“Forever” is used twice in this judgment word from the Lord, emphasizing the solemnity and the irreversibility of the impending judgment.)

That’s a heavy first word for the young man to digest, let alone deliver. To his credit, Samuel delivered it, and delivered it faithfully. “Samuel told [Eli] everything and hid nothing from him.”

Maybe that’s why in the next verses we read of the Lord establishing Samuel as a prophet.

I wonder what this event did to Samuel psychologically. The man who has trained him to love and serve the Lord now is condemned by the Lord. Does this serve to help separate Samuel from the real father figure in his life, Eli, and cleave whole-heartedly to the Lord?

At any rate, Samuel shows himself faithful and obedient to the Lord, even when the message and the task are tough. May it be so of me.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I should have read this BEFORE I taught about this passage in your Sunday School class!