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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1 Samuel 3.1-10, a Chapel Devotion


1 Samuel 3.1-10
This story, like all of the stories in sacred Scripture, is more about God than it is about God’s servants; it’s more about God’s character than the characters of God’s story! So what does this true story about God tell us regarding God? (1) God knows us even when we don’t know him; (2) God’s patience; And (3) God’s kindness.

God knows: Though Samuel served the LORD, he didn’t know the LORD (v.1 and 7). And yet the LORD knew Samuel – 4 times he calls him by name! Just as we heard in Psalm 139, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (v.1-3), God knows us before we know him. Something that shocked the socks off of Nathanial when he met Jesus, and heard Jesus say, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (John 1.48). This all leads us to think, then on:

God’s patience: The word “called” is used 11 times in these 10 verses. God specifically calls Samuel 4 times. There’s no hurry, no haste, no hassle. God not only knows Samuel, he knows where Samuel is in his pilgrimage. And so with gentleness he prods and patiently pilots Samuel until he knows him.

Being a very hyper-active guy, I need to hear this and be reminded. I want people to make decisions now! I want things fixed and fashioned this very instant! And when I pray, I often want God to drop everything and rush over to me and answer me my way in my time! But thank God, he doesn’t!!! Though God’s patience often perplexes me, nevertheless, his patience is healthy and wholesome.

God’s Kindness: God calls this young fellow and begins to employ him in his world rescue operation. God is famous for utilizing the insignificant and unlikely in his world reclamation project. Even our Lord Jesus repeatedly reminded his people, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14.11, 18.14). And both Peter and James tells us, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Recount with me the many stories of God that tell us this: (1) In two stories separated by centuries he takes an older couple who can’t have kids, and when hope has died, he gives them a child who becomes important in God’s kingdom [Samson and John the Baptizer]; (2) or the foreign woman, who is an outsider, widowed and deeply impoverished – God brings her into his family and gives her the honor of becoming the grandmother of King David [Ruth]; (3) He turns the smallest and last son of Jesse, a shepherd boy, into the King of his kingdom [David]; (4) or the young woman who has no claim to fame, no wealth, no prestige, no power, and God makes her the mother of his own, unique, one-of-a-kind Son, Jesus! (5) Then think of our Lord Jesus himself! We just celebrated Christmas, and so it should be fresh in our minds – God brings his son into the world, not in fame and fortune, not in grand and glorious fanfare with red carpets, military escorts, but instead born in something of a stable and laid in a feeding trough out in a backwater town (Bethlehem), and raised in a shanty town out in the sticks (Nazareth). And once his earthly mission was complete he was unjustly tried before a lynch mob and massacred on a cross. But after all hope had died, he was raised from the dead – body, blood, bones, toenails and hair – raised to be elevated and crowned as Israel’s Messiah and the world’s true Lord.

As we wrap this up, remember and recall that God knows – though you may feel you have lost your way he will not lose you. God is patient – he knows where you are in your pilgrimage and will patiently pilot you to himself. God is kind – “no count people” – as others might say who think they count – “no count people” count with God!

Allow me to end with this: you may be at a place where you are sensing God calling you, tugging and pulling on your consciousness. What do you do? Here is what St. Paul said, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved…For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”” (Romans 10.9-10, 13). Respond to him like Samuel did, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3.10); and reply like Mary did, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1.38). And as you do this, you’ll come to know far better than Imagine Dragons could ever imagine:

“I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age!”

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