Pastor Carolyn Poteet

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September 22


Carolyn Poteet


"Speak, Lord "


Psalm 82:1-8
1 Samuel 3:1-21

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September 20, 2019

"The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up,
and he let none of Samuel's words fall to the ground." 
       1 Samuel 3:19

Greetings in the Name of the Lord, Jesus Christ!
This week as we continue to lay the groundwork for the coming King David, we turn our sights to the town of Shiloh, about thirty miles north of Bethlehem. In the days of Ruth and Boaz, the Ark of the Covenant rested in the Tabernacle of the Lord at Shiloh, and a man named Eli served as high priest with his two sons, Hophni and Phineas.

One day, while Eli sat by the doorpost of the Tabernacle, he saw a woman weeping but making no sound. He assumed that she was drunk and rebuked her. She poured out her heart to him, "Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief" (1 Samuel 1:16). Although her husband cherished her, she had never been able to have a child. Eli offered a short blessing for her, saying, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him" (1 Samuel 1:17). Shortly afterward, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son she named Samuel, which means "heard by God," for the Lord had heard her prayer.

When Samuel was born, Hannah dedicated him to the Lord's service. When he was only two or three years old, she brought him to the Tabernacle to serve with Eli. And the Lord blessed her sacrifice by giving her three more sons and two daughters.

In 1 Samuel 3, we read a story of Samuel as a young boy. One night he heard a voice calling to him, and he went to Eli to ask what he needed. Eli told him to go back to bed, because he hadn't called him. Three times this happened before Eli realized the Lord was speaking to Samuel. Eli instructed Samuel that the next time the voice spoke, he should say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:9).

The Lord spoke to Samuel, and what a hard message it was. Eli had received a prophecy against his evil and corrupt sons, and he had failed to restrain them. So the Lord told Samuel he was about to fulfill all the warnings of the earlier prophecy - both sons would die on the same day. Sure enough, the Lord punished Eli and his sons. The sons were killed in battle against the Philistines, and Eli himself died as soon as the news was delivered. Even worse, the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines in the same battle.

The Lord continued to speak to Samuel through his entire life, and all of Israel regarded him as a great prophet and judge. When the Lord finally returned the Ark to Israel, Samuel led the nation in a ceremony of repentance, and from then on, "Throughout Samuel's lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines" (1 Samuel 7:13).

One of the most powerful things about the Bible to me is how God uses very ordinary everyday people to do extraordinary things. Ruth was a widow from a foreign land who was faithful to her mother-in-law. Samuel's mother Hannah was a woman who poured out her lament to the Lord, and God heard her. Samuel was one who listened to the Lord and was willing to do what He said. And God used each of these people powerfully to change the course of a nation's history and prepare the way for the King.

No matter how ordinary you feel, God can use you too. He can use your laments, your quiet acts of faith, and especially your listening ear and obedience. Are you ready to say to the Lord, "Here I am, send me"? May the Lord give all of us the courage to do so!

Pastor Carolyn
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