Discover His heart: He is speaking to us all the time
One of my earliest memories is listening to my mom tell the story of Samuel. I remember her emphasizing Samuel’s early years, about hearing the voice of the Lord and obeying Him. The story was so real to me that I often fell asleep expecting to hear the Lord calling my name; and just for the record, that was a wonderful way to fall asleep. In reading Samuel’s story today, I’ve thought about how the years have made me less expectant and more sophisticated in my approach to God and to how He speaks to me. But in this reflection today, just thinking about the Lord audibly saying Phyllis sends chill bumps all over me. I’m listening.
The story of Hannah touches every woman’s heart because of her desire to bear a child. We get it. Sharing our husband with another wife? This we really don’t get, but only understand that it was tolerated in Hannah’s day to fill the earth with God’s people. Peninnah’s ridicule of Hannah made her more desperate than ever for a child, but she did not take matters into her own hands and resort to a surrogate as Sarah had done. I mean, really, there were enough women around the house. Hannah did the one thing that would change her dire situation. Hannah prayed, and God answered her prayer.
@ I Samuel 2
With gratitude for God’s answer to her prayer, Hannah dedicated her child to God for fulltime service. Because the exploits of Eli’s ungodly sons were known throughout Israel, I’ve often wondered if Hannah truly understood that she was sending her beloved son to a home without apparent discipline and care. However, God was with him, “Though he was only a boy, [Samuel] served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest. Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice…Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.” (18-21)
When we dedicate or set aside our children for the Lord, it’s no small thing, and God takes it seriously. However, Hannah’s responsibility didn’t end with her act of dedication. Samuel remained in Hannah’s heart as she made clothing for him, no doubt praying for him with every stitch as any loving mother would do and trusting God to keep what she had committed to Him. While Eli’s sons carried on in their sin and disobedience to the Lord, Samuel did just the opposite. “Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.” (2:26)
@ I Samuel 3
“The boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.”(1) But that was about to change. Israel’s spiritual condition had degraded to the point where God’s visitations were mostly ignored, but now God had the ear of one who would listen.
“Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time… Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’”(7-8) Samuel knew about God, but now he would know God in a personal way and would listen to His voice, “And the Lord came and called as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel replied, ‘Speak, your servant is listening.’”(10) God protected Samuel in Eli’s house of cards because he listened to the voice of the Lord and obeyed Him.
In the dedication of our children to the Lord, what greater training can we give than to teach them to listen for God’s voice because He is speaking all the time. As my mother encouraged so many years ago, I’m listening for His voice. Whether He speaks audibly to me, through His still small voice to my heart or through His anointed Word, I know He speaks!
Moving Forward: My heart is saying to the Lord as I move through this day, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
Tomorrow @ Psalms 30-32