Devotions on 1 Samuel 3:1-21–Samuel and Eli
October 9-15, 2017
Monday, October 9, 2017–Samuel and Eli
“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli” (1 Samuel 3:1a).
Shirley and Alejandro climbed up onto the roof of the Habitat for Humanity house and began to work together laying shingles. They were Habitat pros, having worked on several projects. As they worked, Shirley and Alejandro shared their faith stories with each other. The two were from very different backgrounds, but they discovered that both of them felt closer to God when they were involved in service projects than at any other time.
Samuel’s story took place when “Samuel was ministering to the Lord.” This was part of Samuel’s apprenticeship as he trained to be a priest. The emphasis, though, is on the fact that Samuel was doing things in order to serve God. The importance of prayer, study of the scripture and meditation can never be downplayed. Action and service is not to be ignored, though. Being present when personal needs are met and receiving thanks with a smile or a hug are times when we are able to sense that God is close. Even achy bones and sore muscles remind us that we have been in the presence of God.
Use our bodies, Lord, and the gifts and talents that you have given us to serve you and to share your love and grace with others. Amen.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017–Samuel and Eli
“The word of the Lord was rare in those days” (1 Samuel 3:1b).
The Bible is full of stories of special encounters with the Lord. Moses experienced God and in a burning bush. Isaiah had a vision of God in the temple. Mary had an angelic visitation and Paul was knocked off his horse when he had a vision of Jesus while traveling on the road to Damascus. Such encounters are life changing, but they are also rare. Most of the time God moves quietly in our lives.
Samuel provides a good example for us when the Lord is quiet or feels so far away. He continued to minister to the Lord. He lived his life in faith. Samuel used his gifts and talents to serve the Lord given the opportunities that he had. As followers of Jesus, we are called to do the same. Whether ours faces are glowing from a fresh encounter with the Lord, or our hearts are heavy because of his silence, we use each day as an opportunity to share God’s love and grace.
Lord, grant us the faith to trust that you are nearby even when we can’t feel your presence. Amen.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017–Samuel and Eli
“Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was” (1 Samuel 3:3).
The Celtic Christians believe that there are places where the space between heaven and earth are thin. These are sites where a person is more likely to experience God’s presence. Mt Zion, the place of the temple, could be understood as a “thin place” and also Mt. Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Native Americans believe that the Black Hills in South Dakota is a holy place. Many people today argue that Sedona, Arizona with its crystals and vortices is a thin space.
It is important to discover the thin places in our lives. For Samuel, it was in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was. Many people discover a thin place early in the morning when they have a time of prayer and read the scriptures. Others find a thin space on a hill top, a lake shore or even a park bench. In these places where they find it easy to communion with God, people are strengthened in their faith, inspired to be bold in their witness and empowered to love, forgive and serve.
“Come into our hearts, into our hearts, Come into our hearts, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into our hearts, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Thursday, October 12, 2017–Samuel and Eli
“Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel’” (1 Samuel 3:4)!
While browsing on Facebook, Pastor Sharon noticed that she had received a friend request. Clicking on the request, Pastor Sharon read, “Hi Pastor. I don’t know if you remember me ….” It took only a moment for Pastor Sharon to remember the vibrant redhead confirmand who she instructed almost fifteen years ago. “Of course, Kim, I remember you,” Pastor Sharon typed back. “It’s good to make contact with you again.”
It is a blessing to us when others remember our name, and so disappointing when they do not. God remembered Samuel and called him by name. In the same manner, God remembers us personally and calls us by name to lives of love and service.
Thank you, Lord, that we are yours and you know us by name. Amen.
Friday, October 13, 2017–Samuel and Eli
“’Speak Lord for your servant is listening’” (1 Samuel 3:9).
The Valdez family had a communication problem. In the morning everyone rushed to get ready for the day and head off to school or the office. Conversation was limited to short phrases spoken over swigs of orange juice. Texts were sent as needed throughout the day. In the evening, attention focused on TV or video games. Attempts at conversations were either not heard or ignored. The Valdez family became less like a family and more like five individuals living in the same house.
Life is noisy and it has gotten noisier over the years. We aren’t used to silence and when confronted with silence, we frequently pop in earphones and listen to a sound track. It’s hard to converse with each other and it is even more difficult to hear God’s voice.
In the quiet of the night, Samuel heard the Lord call his name. Samuel turned his attention to the Lord and said, “Speak Lord, I’m listening. It is important for us, as followers of Jesus, to find quiet times in our lives so that we can hear the Lord call to us and open our ears and hearts to listen to what the Lord has to say to us.
Lord, quiet our lives, open our ears and speak to us. Then empower us to be faithfully obedient to your leading. Amen.
Saturday, October 14, 2017–Samuel and Eli
“’It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him’” (1 Samuel 3:18).
Samuel had just spoken his first tough, prophetic words. He had told his mentor, Eli, that Eli’s sons would perish. Eli yields without complaint to what he sees to be God’s will. In doing this, Eli became an example of faith for us.
The company, for which Akihito worked, was merging with another. Akihito would either lose his job or be promoted. “I’ve got a great idea, Lord,” he prayed. “I think I should be promoted. Please move the executives to offer me the job.” Following her mammogram, Juanita was called back for further tests because of a suspicious mass. “Lord,” she prayed, “please don’t let it be cancer.” We all have desired results for the events in our lives. There comes a time, though, when it is necessary for us simply to rest in God’s loving arms. Whatever happens, we know that God will walk with us and God will not be separated from us.
Lord, whatever the future holds, enable us to have strong faith, rest in you, and shine brightly with your hope and love. Amen.
Sunday, October 15, 2017–Samuel and Eli
“As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:10).
Throughout his childhood and youth, God was with Samuel. God wasn’t simply a bystander, however. As Samuel Samuel grow taller, learn the duties of a priest and become proficient in reading the scripture, God didn’t just sit back and watch. God was actively involved in Samuel’s growing up. Moving in Samuel’s life, God made Samuel the man that he became.
We celebrate the fact that God is always with us and that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God. God does more than hold our hands, however. The Holy Spirit is active in our lives using our trials and tribulations, our successes and failures and the highs and lows of our lives to strengthen our faith, increase our knowledge, deepen our wisdom and mold us into the image of God. The Spirit’s work in and through us never ends; we are ongoing creations.
Holy Spirit, you are the potter and we are the clay. Mold us and shape us into the people you want us to be. Amen.