Monday, May 9, 2011

the voice of the prophet

And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD.
1 Samuel 3:19-20

Samuel humbly begins the ministry of a prophet while quietly serving in the priestly training and service at the tabernacle of God in Shiloh. Now as a young man, the word of the LORD comes to him. God gives him disturbing revelation: the house of Eli will be wiped out. God is about to judge the wickedness of Eli's sons. But God is also in the process of raising up a new voice and new prophetic ministry in Samuel.

We know that a new era of prophetic vision is breaking out at this point in the story. The text says that the voice of the prophet was a rare thing (1 Samuel 3:1). So Samuel was chosen to kick off a new ministry of communication from God. It was a job that he took quite seriously, especially since such a difficult revelation became the first "message" that he had to deliver (1 Samuel 3:15). Samuel's ministry seems to be attended with large doses of humility and trust. He believes God and delivers God's word, even when his task is not the most pleasant.

This message was just the first of many in the life of Samuel that would be controversial. He informed Eli of God's rejection of his household as priests. He was called to anoint Saul as king, even though Samuel served as the de facto leader of Israel. He was later called to confront Saul and inform him that God had rejected him as king. He anointed David while he was still a boy, watching God pick the son that seemed the least likely to lead. But most striking in the life of Samuel was his prophetic confrontation with King Saul. It seems that Samuel very seldom had a good thing to share with Saul. Yet God kept the voice of His prophet alive. God used Samuel's humble heart and blessed him with a brave voice in hard times where God was doing new things.

God will use the unusual person in a controversial way if He so chooses! Samuel had a desire to serve God, and once he was taught to understand the voice of God, was receptive to what God would use him to say to His people. God chose to use a mere boy (pre-teen perhaps) to deliver the hard news to the nation that the priesthood was corrupt and would be replaced. God would continue to use Samuel in this way because Samuel was yielded to being available to proclaim the truth that God spoke.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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