Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The call of Samuel

Bible 1
Long ago there lived in the land of Israel a young woman named Hannah.
Bible 2
She married a fine young man named Elkanah, who loved her and was kind and generous.
Bible 3
Both Hannah and her husband trusted in God and worshipped Him, and together they prayed that He would bless them with a little child. But as the years went by Hannah and Elkanah did not have a baby.

Bible 4
Some of the young mothers were unkind, and poked fun at her, pointing to their own children.
Bible 5
Often she would become so sad that she would creep away by herself, great tears rolling down her cheeks. How she longed for a little child!
Bible 6
Each year Hannah and her husband made a journey to a place called Shiloh to worship God at the Tabernacle.

Bible 7
And this year Hannah had a special matter to take up with the Lord. She asked God to give her a baby and promised that if she had a son she would bring him to serve in God’s house.
Bible 8
And not long after, God answered Hannah’s prayer. How happy they were when the baby was born! They called him ‘Samuel,’ which means ‘asked of God.’
Bible 9
As soon as he was big enough to go away from home, Samuel was taken to Shiloh just as his mother had promised.

Bible 10
There at the temple they talked to Eli, the high priest. ‘Take Samuel and train him to serve the Lord,’ Hannah said.
Bible 11
Now Eli was getting old and knew that he should begin to train someone to take his place some day, so he gladly took Samuel to live with him in God’s house.
Bible 12
As time went by, Samuel was able to assume some important temple duties to help Eli. He opened and closed the doors and kept the lamps cleaned and filled and burning.

Bible 13
How pleased Samuel was to see his parents when they made a visit to God’s house! Each year his mother brought him a new coat to wear over his simple linen gown. It was hard for Hannah to leave Samuel at the temple and go back to her home in the country...
Bible 14
... but the Lord blessed her and soon there were other babies in her house, Samuel’s brothers and sisters.
Bible 15
As Samuel grew older, Eli taught him to read the scrolls which contained the laws and history of God’s people, the Israelites.

Bible 16
The people grew to love Samuel and were ready to listen when he read to them from the books of the law. But the Bible says, ‘Samuel did not yet know the Lord.’ He was in God’s house and he knew about God, but that was all.
Bible 17
One night, as Samuel was asleep in bed, he was suddenly awakened by a voice calling, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He sat up quickly. Who was calling? It must be Eli!
Bible 18
He ran into the high priest’s room. ‘Here I am! You called me.’

Bible 19
Eli was very surprised. ‘No, I didn’t call. Lie down again.’
Bible 20
So Samuel went back to bed as he was told. Soon the voice called again, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And again Samuel ran to Eli. And when Samuel said, ‘Here I am, for you called me...’
Bible 21
Eli shook his head. ‘I did not call you. Go and lie down again.’

Bible 22
Samuel went back to his bed, but he was puzzled. Who could have woken him? Who could have called him?
Bible 23
It wasn’t long before the clear voice called the third time. ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Again the boy ran into the aged priest’s room.
Bible 24
This time Eli realised that something unusual was happening, and that it was the Lord Himself who was calling Samuel.

Bible 25
Eli said, ‘Go and lie down, but if you hear the voice again, say “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”’
Bible 26
This time Samuel couldn’t sleep. He waited in the darkness, his heart thudding against his ribs. Did Eli mean that the Lord God was calling him? Could the God who came in glory to Shiloh have a message for a little boy?
Bible 27
Then came the wonderful voice: ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel replied, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ The Lord was there and talked to Samuel, and told him of many things that would happen in the future.

Bible 28
The Bible says that after that, ‘Samuel grew... and the Lord was with him... and all Israel knew that Samuel was called to be a prophet of the Lord.’ Samuel would be the one who would bring God’s messages to the people.
Bible 29
It wasn’t enough that his parents loved and worshipped God...

Bible 30
... or that he had been dedicated to the Lord and served in God’s house...
Bible 31
... or that he was familiar with the laws of God and was respected and loved by the people.

The call of Samuel
God chooses to speak to the nation of Israel through a young boy.
1 Samuel 1-3

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