May 19, 2021·Scott McBride
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase, “I was just in the right place, at the right time…” and they describe something good that happened to them? Sometimes, I think that can happen, but more often than not, I think most of the time people have some sort of personal responsibility in their outcomes.
In 1 Samuel 3, the boy Samuel has a direct encounter with God, and it changes the trajectory of his life. That meeting with God may not have occurred if it were not for Samuel’s obedience.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if He calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Samuel’s place, according to verse 3 was in the temple of the LORD, where the Ark of God was. Samuel’s “place” was as close to the physical presence of God on earth as you could possibly get.
Samuel’s “place” may read well to our minds, but it wasn’t all that glamourous or exciting. It was a piece of a rug on the ground… in a big tent. He probably trimmed the wicks on the lamps and refilled the oil and swept out the tent.
Eli’s sons thought they had the inside track to be priests and prophets before God, due to their lineage. They too grew up at the same place, but they chose radically different lives than their father, Eli. They didn’t respect or honor God, and it actually ended up costing them their lives. (Read the whole chapter — it’s a scary indictment). Evidently, proximity is no guarantee for favor or success.
Samuel, in contrast, tried to honor and respect God, going so far as to even sleep in the place where people worshiped God. He was trying his best to serve God, even when it appears everyone else around him wasn’t. Samuel’s obedience was in the mundane, the day-after-day serving. Night after night of being ready and following through. And that’s exactly when God called him.
None of it would have happened if Samuel wasn’t in his place. Nothing would have happened if Samuel wasn’t serving the LORD. Samuel chose to use his humble place of service to become a position of obedience. And that obedience created an opportunity for God to speak.
My encouragement to us, as God followers, is that we will keep doing our best to serve God, day after day, in everything we do. We need to be doing what the Word of God tells us and listening for God… expectantly. It was Samuel’s obedience, regardless of his role or title that set him up for God to call him and use him. That gives me hope, because, like Samuel, we don’t have to be all that special in order to hear and obey God. In our obedience, God will continue to speak to us and call us for His greater purposes.
Pastor Scott McBride