The boy Samuel served the Lord in Eli’s presence. In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread. 1 Samuel 3:1
The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there He revealed Himself to Samuel by His word. 1 Samuel 3:21 (HCSB)
During the days of the judges, hearing from the Lord was rare. There were not many visions. Moses and Joshua had clearly communicated that God would bless the people if they continued to walk in obedience. However, if they disobeyed they would no longer enjoy the benefits and blessings of God and His covenant promises. The people lived in disobedience and God was largely silent. Things begin to change as God’s word comes to Israel through a godly priest named Samuel. God appears to Samuel, talking with him and revealing Himself through His word. The name of God in these verses is the covenant name, Yahweh.
What a contrast we see here between the chaos and anarchy of the era of the judges and the beginning of the monarchy period! Remember the cycle: disobedience, oppression, followed by their rescue by a God-appointed judge, followed by revival and peace, before complacency set in and the cycle repeated itself. That same cycle repeated over and over again. However, with the godly priest Samuel, God is “welcomed” back into the lives of the Israelites. I keep remembering the verses in Exodus 19:4-6 where God reminds the Israelites of what He did to Egypt with the plagues and how He “carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.” God promises they they can be a treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, but only if they keep His covenant and obey him fully.
Now with Samuel, Israel begins to see hope. As Samuel ministers before the Lord in Shiloh, the covenant God, Yahweh, continues to appear to him, talking to him, revealing Himself and His truth. Samuel had to be yielded and listen. God revealed Himself through his word.
Where do you stand as this new year begins? Will you sit quietly and listen to the Lord? Will you patiently wait to hear from the Lord? Join me in this prayer: “Lord, as I meet with you each day, may I wait patiently, not running ahead just hoping you will catch up with my agenda.”
In the days of the judges the phrase “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” keeps ringing in our ears. We do not want the chaos of the judges in this New Year. May we wait patiently to hear from the Lord by the Holy Spirit through His Word, the Bible.
By Carol McLaren
(For further reading: Exodus 19:1-21)