November 13, 2021

November 13, 2021

November 13, 2021

Laura Feely Ashline
Laity, First-Centenary UMC
Scenic South District

1 Samuel 3:1-18 (NIV)
The Lord Calls Samuel

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
 
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel.
 
Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
 
But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
 
Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
 
“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
 
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
 
A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
 
Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
 
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
 
Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God,[a] and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”
 
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.”
 
Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
 
17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”

Devotion
Listening to God

“If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” Winnie-the-Pooh (A. A. Milne)
 
The simple act of listening, truly hearing what another is conveying, can be one of the hardest things we do. Ponder the conversations that we have with loved ones, friends, or strangers on our path. What does it take to be truly engaged so that you take in the emotion, the feelings, and the details of your fellow communicator's words? You have to quiet yourself and your thoughts, not letting your notions, your opinions, your own baggage, or your need to form a response get in the way of your open reception to what is being shared.
 
In today’s scripture, Samuel is experiencing his first real reception of God’s word and God’s intentions. A few tries on God’s part are needed to get Samuel’s attention, but once Samuel understands he is listening to God, he devotes his full self to intently absorbing God’s message. He then must relay this vision to Eli, something that certainly is not comfortable for Samuel. But true listening becomes true understanding. And in understanding we take on the meaning of what we have heard, and if we can keep ourselves out of the way, we respond in actions or words that are appropriate. This type of listening is God’s intention as he moves through us, reaching others.
 
God’s message to us may be challenging. In fact, it often is, but by respecting that the meaning in the message is upheld by the power of God’s will, we then find a deeper peace as we align ourselves with God’s work for us. Eli comprehends the validity of God’s will even upon hearing the fate bestowed upon himself and his family. Eli knows that God’s will is larger than his own, and he succumbs to “…let Him do what is good in His eyes.” Eli listens and hears God deep in his soul.
 
As we strive to understand and follow God’s will in our lives, we can find that the act of listening with depth and perception is essential. To half-heartedly focus on God’s direction for us because we are more focused on ourselves and the life path that we have created leaves us precariously off balance on the pathway that God is so carefully laying out for us. God has lovingly chosen each of us and outfitted us for His work in our own special way. Are we ready to listen and to be courageous to follow what we hear as God speaks? Are we set to be aware of God’s words to us through others?

Prayer

Thank you for your direction in our lives, dear God. May we quiet our busy selves to truly listen to your intentions for us and strive to live out those intentions as we work to be your hands and feet in this world. Amen.