1 Samuel 3: 1-10
In today’s passage, someone called Samuel in the middle of the night, not once but three times. Three times, Samuel answered, “Here I am,” and “I am coming,” running to see the priest, Eli. It was not Eli who called him, however, by the time Samuel awakened him for the third time, Eli had a hunch who it might be. So, the priest Eli told Samuel what to say the next time when he heard the voice, saying, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
At that moment, as Samuel listened to the Lord, he was no longer a child, a temple lackey, but became a young man, a servant of God who was ready to hear what the Lord had to say to him. The message Samuel heard was not the good news—condemning Eli’s house forever—the only family Samuel had ever known condemning old blind Eli’s rude sons had gotten into the bad habit of stealing the best cuts of sacrifice from the temple.
Who wants to share this message with whom? The next morning, Eli called and ordered Samuel to tell him what he had heard and learned from the voice—"What was it the voice told you?” Eli surely knew better about the voice where it came from.
While Samuel looked hesitant, Eli made it clear that he, like Samuel, last night, was ready to hear the message, so Samuel told him everything—the message of righteousness and judgment—in verse 18, “So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. ‘He is the Lord,’ Eli said, ‘He will do as he pleases.’”
Does anyone really want to hear the voice of the living God? I wonder. I really wonder. I do not know about you, but to be honest, I am probably not ready to hear the voice of the living God. Perhaps, we are often afraid that we will hear something, or we will not hear something. But all the evidence—big and small, our faith and hope through the Bible and God’s people—leads us that God has been faithfully speaking to us and is still speaking to us.
Dear Church. As we begin this new year, what dreams do we dream? What dreams do we have for ourselves personally and for the ministry of the FCC? Isn’t it true that we are believers who trust and have faith in the living God, who has been speaking to us and is still speaking to us?
In today’s passage, we are reminded of whether we may be open to listening to the wisdom of a fellow pilgrim, the old and blind priest Eli, whether we may belong to a community that helps us to make sense of what is happening to us or in the world, whether we may be able to discern whose voices and which voices we should hear, and we are ready to listen to God’s voices.
I wonder, if God’s voice awakens us in the middle of tonight, what does God try, want, and long to say to us? What we need the most is to have sensitivity, to take courage, to be ready to listen, and to respond to God’s voices—“Speak, Lord, O God, for your servants are listening.”
Thanks be to God.