Daily Devotion – January 14, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison
1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)
3:1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
3:2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room;
3:3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
3:4 Then the LORD called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!”
3:5 and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
3:6 The LORD called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”
3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
3:8 The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy.
3:9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
3:10 Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
3:11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.
3:12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.
3:13 For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.
3:14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.”
3:15 Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.
3:16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.”
3:17 Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.”
3:18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.”
3:19 As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.
3:20 And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.
Imagine being 10 or 11 and being given this prophesy. Imagine that it is about the doom that will befall your own mentor and “godfather.” Then imagine that mentor telling you that you must reveal everything you have been told or you yourself will be doomed.
Honest truth-telling was rewarded by the Lord’s faithful life-long presence with Samuel. And Samuel had a nation-wide reputation to be trustworthy. Oh, in these days of division in our country, wouldn’t it be a Godsend to have someone trustworthy that all people could believe? Samuel was a gift from God. And he was believed and accepted, even by Eli, who could have turned on him.
Honest truth-telling makes someone trustworthy. Before that, honest and deep listening to the very painful truth has to happen. And courage to take in that truth and prepare to speak it, at your peril. Honesty and courage in the face of true danger are what makes something or someone trustworthy. How might we be trustworthy in our circles, in our world?
Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Help us to be faithful and trustworthy for the people you give us in our lives. Help us to do the hard work of deep listening to painful truth and afterward, speaking the truth. You give us hard work. Also give us the courage to do it. Amen.