Last week Sunday, I spoke on the Lord appearing to young Samuel. In the dead of night, the living words of God wake Samuel from his sleep. At first Samuel thinks it’s old Eli the priest calling him from the other room, but eventually the two of them figure out that it’s actually the Lord God trying to get Samuel’s attention.
Throughout his life, Samuel will get used to God speaking to him (if one can ever “get used” to that!). And Samuel in turn will bring God’s Word to His people.
You might be envious of Samuel’s crystal clear reception of God’s broadcasts. “Why doesn’t God speak out loud in everyday language to me?” you might ask. However, relaying God’s Word does not often win Samuel any popularity contests. That first night God speaks to the boy, Samuel receives a message of judgement for Priest Eli and his corrupt sons. As Robert D. Bergen writes in his commentary, “Samuel’s first act as prophet was perhaps his most difficult; though only a child, he had to announce the Lord’s fatal judgement against Israel’s most powerful family” (p. 85).
Keep in mind how the text emphasizes that Samuel is a young boy. He’s been an apprentice to Eli since he barely graduated from being a toddler. The first prophesy given to him may have come while his age is still in the single digits!
I didn’t mention this last week, but it’s worth saying now: Not back then and not now is the Holy Spirit limited by a person’s age (or lack thereof); He can and will use anyone regardless of age if they are willing to submit to Him. Don’t underestimate God’s ability to work in the life of the child in Sunday school, the teen attending youth group, or the toddler playing in the nursery! They are part of the Kingdom God is ushering in as much as any adult.
So please don’t ever make the mistake of talking about how youth are the future of the church. They are the church here and now, just as much as the adults and seniors. God’s Spirit is working in them.
Have you noticed?
From my children’s Read with Me Bible; artwork by Dennis Jones.