Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunday Morning Thoughts from Oswald Chambers

1 Samuel 3:1-15 (New International Version)

1 Samuel 3

The LORD Calls Samuel

“1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple [
a] of the LORD , where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel.
Samuel answered, "Here I am." 5 And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down.
6 Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
"My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down."
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."
Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD , for your servant is listening.' " So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!"
Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
11 And the LORD said to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family-from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, [
b] and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, 'The guilt of Eli's house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.' "
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the LORD . He was afraid to tell Eli the vision”

I’ve always found the dialogue between Eli and Samuel fascinating. Twice in the fog of his growing weakness and sleep Eli has told the young boy, “Go back to bed.” The third time, though, he realizes that God may be speaking to the boy and tells Samuel that if he hears the voice again to say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” The Lord does again speak and Samuel obediently responds, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

I think about Samuel’s response and wonder what it would have been if he had lived in today’s climate of self appointed importance. His response might have been something like this – “Listen Lord, for your ‘anointed one’ is speaking.”

Oswald Chambers looked at another aspect of the account. In the aftermath of the dialogues Samuel becomes fearful to speak the words he has been told to speak. Chambers’ thoughts on the passage follow for your Sunday edification:

The Dilemma of Obedience

“God never speaks to us in startling ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, “I wonder if that is God’s voice?” Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only a mere occurrence?

Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, “Speak, Lord”; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, “Speak, Lord.” Recall the time when God did speak to you. Have you forgotten what He said? Was it
Luke 11:13 or was it I Thessalonians 5:23? As we listen, our ears get acute and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.

Shall I tell my ‘Eli” what God has shown to me? That is where the dilemma of obedience comes in. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences – I must shield ‘Eli,’ the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli, he had to decide that for himself. God’s call to you may hurt your ‘Eli,’ but if you try to prevent the suffering in another life, it will prove an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own peril that you prevent the cutting off of the right hand or the plucking out of the eye.

Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will almost always side with Satan. “
Immediately I conferred with no flesh and blood.”

Have a great Sunday, dear reader!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Book of Romans teaches that, lacking instinct, we are created for the Spirit to rule the Mind and the Mind to rule the flesh,.."decently and in order,"...sequence is primary. Flesh has appetites, emotions, desires, and feelings - none of which can grasp criteria, reason, and apply measure. Transcendent Criteria (non man-made) is the enabler for the Spirit to rule the Mind in order to live successfully while at home in our ego-centric flesh.

This is a rather clinical view of what your more literate prose describes so well. Blessings!

a Choicemaker
Psalm 25:12