This week’s message is the first in the new series Children’s Bible. The concept of the series is simple: revisit familiar stories in the Bible – popularized children’s stories – to discover the real being revealed within them.
Our first message has us reconsidering the story of young Samuel, who hears the voice of God in the uncertain hour of the night. Three times Samuel hears the voice of God call his name. Each time Samuel hears the voice he presents himself before Eli, the priest at Shiloh. The fourth time he hears the voice of God, he follows the instruction of Eli. He presents himself to God by saying, “Speak, Lord, for you servant is listening.”
The story of young Samuel is often simplified so that it can be relatable to children. The teaching point often stresses the happiness of God when we hear God’ voice and obey God’s word. While the story of young Samuel does reinforce the necessity to hear God, respond to God, and obey God, the story of Samuel is more telling.
Our message this week, Children’s Bible: Samuel & the Voice of God, explores the story and the significance of this story in the life of Israel. Samuel was born at a time of crisis within Israel: 1) internal crisis – the instability of the tribal society; 2) external crisis – the Philistines were threatening; and 3) Religious crisis – The word of God and visions were rare, because of the iniquities of the House of Eli.
Samuel would grow to serve as God’s mouthpiece during this time of crisis. Samuel would play a fundamental role in Israel’s transition from a tribal society to a monarchial society. Israel would become a monarchial society under Saul, but Israel would come to experience an unprecedented level of prosperity as the Davidic Dynasty formed.
The story of Samuel, as we explore in this message, signals the commencement of God’s deliverance of Israel from crisis to prosperity. The story of this young boy, who courageously responded to the voice of God, reassures of the certainty of God’s presence and God’s activity in the midst of Israel’s uncertainty. His story encourages all of us to rest in the certainty of God when we are overwhelmed by our uncertainty!
If you have a moment, listen to the message, Children’s Bible: Samuel & the Voice of God.