When I was a little girl attending Sunday School, one of my favorite stories in the Bible was the story of Samuel. I connected with the story mainly because it was about a little boy who fell asleep in the temple and heard God’s voice audibly speak to him.
In 1 Samuel Chapter 3, Samuel had been assisting Eli, the priest in the temple for many years in worshipping the Lord. Scholars estimate that Samuel was around 12 years of age when the Lord called out to him.
Verse 7 says “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” I found this verse quite surprising.
Samuel, day after day and for years was going through the motions; the act of everything required to demonstrate worship to the Lord and yet he didn’t know him. How many of us are doing the same thing? Saying our meal time prayers, our bedtime prayers, going to church on Sundays, doing all the “right” things, living a “good” life, being a “good” person and even reading the Bible.
Checking off all the boxes and punching in the time card. Is that what Christianity is all about? -No, it’s not really about any of those things. It’s about knowing the Lord through relationship.
Samuel didn’t recognize the voice of the Lord because he didn’t have a relationship with him yet. He only knew God through the lens of rules and regulations. He only knew to make sure to do the “right” things and check off all the boxes as he did them.
When the Lord called to Samuel, notice his posture; his position. Samuel positioned himself in such a way most likely because he was keeping an eye on the lamp of God to ensure it wouldn’t go out before it was supposed to. In verse 2 it says that the lamp of God had not yet gone out. This is something key to note because it was one of the laws to make sure it didn’t go out before morning. (Exodus 27:20, 21) Also it’s key to note because it shows us just where Samuel had positioned himself.
The Lamp or what we now call the Menorah, represents fellowship with God. Directly across from the Lamp stood the Bread of the Presence. The Bread of the Presence represented fellowship and communion with man; speaking to him. Verse 3 says that Samuel was lying down where the ark of God was. The Ark of God represented the power and the presence of God himself. All three of these objects were surrounding Samuel.
Spiritually he positioned himself as close as anyone could possibly get to God, directly placing himself in his presence so that he could be in relationship with him and hear his voice. That posture and position was where he needed to be to hear God, and he did.
Over time, Samuel understood how to keep the relationship close. He kept hearing the word of the Lord time and time again. I know I want that for my life. I don’t want to live focused on the rules and regulations. Instead I want my focus to be on relationship; getting as close as I possibly can to the heart of God. I want to rest in his presence like Samuel.
If you want to know the Lord and hear his voice leading you, then rest in his presence. Get as close as you can.
How to get started: Slow down and read the Bible one verse/story/chapter at a time if need be, rest on that thought and meditate on it throughout your day.
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