Out of the Silence - Life of Samuel

Introduction

 

How do we handle times when God seems hidden and silent?  We know in our heads that God’s voice is the most precious voice we could ever hear, so we know how good it would be to hear it.  And that’s what makes His silence so painful.  His voice is so precious that we would ache to hear the faintest whispers of it.

 

The life of Samuel spans a very difficult time in the life of Israel.  The nation had no recognised leader; “everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).  And God was silent.  He had been silent for so long that it appears there was hardly anyone left who had heard him in living memory.  Even if God spoke, how would anyone know it was Him?

 

Into this context comes Samuel.  His very name becomes a statement that God is about to do a new thing; that the barrenness is over.  His name sounds like the Hebrew for “heard of God”.  Into a climate where God has been strangely silent now walks one whose very name means “God has heard”. His very identity challenged what had been the status quo of silence.

 

Samuel’s name pretty much defined his life.  Even from his childhood he learned to listen to and heed the word of God.  To start with, he didn’t know what God’s voice sounded like; he had to learn step by step to recognise and discern that precious voice.  But once he knew, it became his life’s work to listen to that voice and exhort all Israel to heed it, too.  As such, Samuel’s role becomes one of guardianship.  He could be described as being the “old guard”, but not in a negative way, for he sought to protect all that was good about life with God in the picture.

 

So, come on a 15-day journey through the life of Samuel.  This series is based around the extended narratives of the first part of the book of 1 Samuel.  Each day there will be a passage to read, often quite an extended one.  There will follow some teaching on the passage and some thoughts for personal reflection.  And then each section will close with a themed prayer.

 

Samuel models for us how we can be people who learn to hear and heed God’s voice out of a time of silence.  We will chart the profound ways in which God could use Samuel on a national level as encouragements to us of the ways in which God can use us as well.  For even out of silence, there is no limit to what God can do through the lives of those who faithfully seek to hear Him.

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