Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord,
for the Lord is good;
God's steadfast love endures forever.
(adapted from Psalm 106:1)
1 Samuel 2:22-4:22
"The word of the Lord was rare in those days...."
Had God really withdrawn from Israel? Historians can stack up the reasons why God might well have decided to ignore those people at that time. They certainly were not behaving in a way that indicated that they had been listening anyway.
Or, had God continued to be reaching out, and they just were too busy listening to their own voices and desires to pay attention?
When we feel lonely, abandoned, stuck in a situation without solution, can we hear God's voice? Or, when we feel complete, secure, satisfied, do we bother to listen?
Whose voice do we listen to when we are trying to make a decision?
Samuel heard God's voice but did recognize that whose voice it was.
Eli knew God, but it didn't occur to him that God would want to talk to Samuel.
It took three tries, but Eli finally caught on.
Would Samuel have ever known that God was intruding on his life if Eli hadn't told him?
When we are Samuel, we need Eli.
When we are Eli, we need to help Samuel.
How are we to read verse 3:19? Do we lean entirely on the easy interpretation, "What God wants, God gets"? Is that what "the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground" means?
Or, should we be influenced by the context of this memory? Eli heard the hard word from God transmitted through the young Samuel. And Eli accepted the word. "Don't hide anything from me," he commanded Samuel. So Samuel did what Eli was willing to have done.
What would have happened to God's word if Eli had told Samuel to be quiet, quit running into his room, and go back to sleep?
Can you imagine being Eli?
Reading verse 44, I wonder whose glory we are seeking, in what ways do our lives show our attention to God's words.
The psalm begins with a call to praise and a list of reasons why praise is appropriate. The Lord is good. The Lord continues to love us. This thankfulness is followed by the reminder that we are supposed to be good and loving also--and that our doing so will make us happy. Yet, we have not always done what we should have done; we have sinned.
A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh,
but passion makes the bones rot.
Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker,
but those who are kind to the needy honor him.
Prayer for Today: O Lord, forgive us for those times we didn't listen to you, the times that even though we did know what you wanted us to do, we turned away. Remind us of the times you have rescued us and help us not to go astray again. Amen.