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.
(1 Samuel 3:1)
Samuel grew up during the time of the judges in Israel – a time marked by people not paying attention to God. By this point in Israel’s history people had fallen away from God. They were influenced by the cultures which surrounded them. They also fell away because they were disillusioned with those who were God’s servants [1 Samuel 2:17]
It was a time when people did whatever they thought was right [Judges 21:25]. They did not seek God and as a result, God did not speak with them. The word of the Lord was rare.
There are only two recorded times that God spoke to His people during the times of the judges [Judges 4:4, 6:8]. The only word of the Lord we read of in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel is the word of judgment brought by the man of God against Eli.
This is not an instance of a petulant God spitefully giving people the silent treatment. Hearing from God is a blessing. God isn’t going to honor those who do not honor Him [1 Samuel 2:30] for to do so would be to condone their behavior.
Silence is also one way God tries to get our attention [Psalm 74:9; Isaiah 29:9-14; Micah 3:6-7]. When we haven’t heard from a friend or relative in a while, we’d notice. We’d probably try to contact them to see if they were okay. Our relationship with God is similar.
God may use silence as a way of reminding us that we need to re-establish communication with Him. Notice that God is always willing to talk with us. If we are not hearing from Him it’s because we have gone silent first, not Him.
We ignore God at our own peril. God is willing to speak with us to advise us and guide us. In fact, He promised to do that very thing [Deuteronomy 18:15; John 16:13]. But if we aren’t willing to listen then there’s no point in Him talking.
Here is an example of how our behavior towards God can affect His behavior towards us and how our actions can bring great harm. God wants to help us [Psalm 46:1; Proverbs 3:566; 1 Corinthians 10:13]. But He isn’t going to force Himself upon us. We can choose to listen to Him or not. Sadly, most people today do not listen to Him.
This is clearly one of the reasons by our country is in so much trouble. Mass murders seem to be happening a couple of times a week. Our presidential candidates are the worst we’ve ever had. Race relations are in trouble and seemingly getting worse every day.
God wants to help us solve these problems. But like a rebellious teenager we don’t want our Father’s advice. We want to do things our own way. But also like a rebellious teenager, our own choices bring us trouble.
Our country has been pushing God aside for years. Our leaders do not know Him. And those who do not know God will not hear from Him [John 8:47]. How much better is would be to seek God’s advice. He is willing to give it [Isaiah 1:18; Philippians 4:6].
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