1 SAMUEL 2:22-4:22 | JOHN 5:24-47 | PSALM 106:1-12 | PROVERBS 14:30-31
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The story of Samuel continues. Samuel grows up in the Temple, a ward of Eli, the priest, and while Eli’s own sons are a shame to him and the entire people of Israel, it is Samuel who finds favor in the Lord’s eyes. The story of the Lord calling Samuel by name is a fascinating one: Samuel thinks it is Eli calling out to him in the middle of the night, and each time he goes to Eli to ask what it is that Eli wants, but Eli has not called out to the boy.
Eli soon realizes that it is the Lord’s voice that Samuel is hearing and he instructs Samuel to engage the Lord in conversation the next time he hears his name being called. How beautiful and wondrous a concept this is: to hear the Lord calling your name and to talk with him as if he were in front of you. Would that we might also have ears that would enable us to hear and recognize the Lord’s voice when he calls our name; and would that we might be worthy of the Lord calling our name.
But returning to our story of Samuel, we learn that these are bad times for Israel. Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas have precipitated the downfall and defeat of Israel with the Philistines, and the Ark of the Covenant has been captured. Upon hearing this news, Eli falls to the ground and breathes his last.
Turning now to our reading in the book of John, we find in no other book such unequivocal utterances by Jesus regarding his identity and mission. Jesus says, 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
Our Psalm for the day is one similar to many others like it that sing the praises of the Lord’s great provision and protection to the children of Israel. It is never too much or too often that one may sing such praises. May it always be that like David, we are also quick to recount the many times that the Lord has been our guide and savior. These verses are some that I too wish to echo:
4Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people,
come to my aid when you save them,
5 that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation
and join your inheritance in giving praise.
Finally, two verses from the book of Proverbs that may serve as food for thought:
30 A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.