Monday, January 9, 2012

Epiphany 2b - 1 Samuel 3:1-20

1 Samuel 3:1-20
The call of Samuel is a sad story for Eli but then his response to the word Samuel receives indicates Eli knew it was coming and in some ways welcomed it. His sons were scoundrels, stealing sacrifices and sleeping with the women who served at the tent of meeting. Eli rebuked them but only as a plea and not as a parent so that the sins of the sons were visited upon the father and vice versa. Samuel, on the other hand, learned well from Eli and in many ways was the son Eli wished his boys could have been. That’s not to say that children who behave well in public are not sinners, we are all infected by the rebellious ways of the first couple, but unlike Eli’s sons Samuel listened to the Lord. We’d like to think that our actions or inactions don’t have consequences and while we don’t operate with some sort of Christian Karma, what we do, or don’t do, matters; which is to say what the Lord would have us do begins with listening.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite verse in this passage is 19: "The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground."
    I always feel a bit conflicted when I look at the lives of larger-than-life OT figures like Samuel. Here's a guy who's seen as equal in significance to Moses in Jewish history, yet something about his life doesn't come off to me as being quite to the leadership standard of Moses or even Joshua. Maybe that's because the era of the Kings became clouded in wealth and political power and ongoing struggles for more wealth and power. Here's the guy who bridged the eras of the judges and the prophets, and who reluctantly anointed Israel's first two kings. Perhaps like all of us, Samuel had conflicting life pressures and interests, and even with God's inspiration wasn't able to be all that he had been called to become.
    I think I like Samuel best through this accounting of his call, because one can see glimpses of it throughout his life. He wasn't afraid to go against the grain at times, but was committed to the people and nation of Israel. He redeems himself towards the end of his public life, when he once again tries to point Israel away from the kings, and toward personal and national spiritual accountability.
    Because I'm growing old, I find it especially reassuring that some of the (idealistic) faithfulness apparent in God's calling in Samuel's early life remains apparent late in his life. There's hope in that for me and for all of us.