This precious chapter probably is the most well known chapter of Samuel’s story. Many of us who attended Sunday school regularly at church as kids most likely heard this story as a parallel story that went with a lesson that taught us that kids are people, too. If this is the first time you’re reading the story of Samuel, I hope you certainly get this message – and so much more – one of them being to not take advantage of your position on high like Eli and his sons did. Apparently, Eli never straightened up. He was going blind just as God promised, and while he was still allowed to serve in the Tabernacle, we get the feeling that God wasn’t so impressed. He was training Samuel to lead in much better ways, and He wasn’t just training him through Eli. God was training Samuel himself, with words and visions that even Eli had not experienced in years (if ever). We don’t really know if Eli spoke personally with God, but we can assume that since he was high priest and that he recognized what Samuel was experiencing that he probably had a few chats with the Man Upstairs at some point in his career. It took three times for God to get Samuel’s attention. We (or maybe just I) can read this and think, “How did Samuel not know???” But when I think about it, there are times in my life when I KNOW God was telling me something or talking to me CLEARLY, and I just didn’t recognize His voice – not even after three … 10 … 20 times! I just didn’t hear it like it was meant to be heard. Plus, I never dreamed God would be speaking to little ol’ me. But He was. And Samuel found out soon that God was speaking to him directly. He was so confident in hearing it that he began sharing it: “And Samuel’s words went out to all the people of Israel.” That’s the last verse of this chapter, and it is so filled with hope that I can’t hardly wait to read on!
Writing prompt: hope
Can you feel the hope rising in Samuel? As a young person, he was reliant on someone (God – and somewhat Eli) to “implant” his soul with hope. I think as Christians, we all are responsible for instilling hope in others. Likewise, we should be eternally grateful for others who have implanted our own souls with hope. Take your pick today: write about being a “hope implanter” or a receiver of hope.