How are you doing during this COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine?
I won’t lie – I’m enjoying it. We have all our teens here under one roof, I’m starting to finally catch up on a decades-long sleep deficit, and we are blessed with a large neighborhood to walk in full of all that is blooming and green.
But I know this isn’t easy for everyone. Not all of you are introverts or ambiverts content to have alone time. Not everyone enjoys their family. And many are stuck in apartments and flats far away from anything naturally green.
So let me know how you’re doing. Seriously.
As for me, I’m enjoying another chronological trip through the Word. I’ve been in 1 Samuel the last couple of days. Today what grabbed me was Samuel’s apparent integrity.
At the very beginning of his call to speak for the Lord, God called out to the boy in the quiet of the night and Samuel answered Him.
And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”1 Samuel 3:10
It’s interesting to note in ancient Hebrew, the word translated “hears” could also be translated “one who hears,” making his reply, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is one who hears.”
The root of this Hebrew word is the same root in the beginning of the Shema where it is translated, “Hear!”
In both the Shema command for Israel to hear and Samuel’s reply that he hears, the word does not merely refer to the physical action of soundwaves starting a chain vibration through the eardrum, malleus, incus, and stapes into the cochlea and then to the vestibulocochlear nerve.
In both cases, there is an implication of hearing with an attitude of readiness for action to what was heard. So when Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears,” he meant something like, “I hear and obey.”
It’s my prayer that if God calls out to us during the relative quiet of quarantine, we will answer Him with ears to hear as well.
Fast forward to the time Samuel appointed Saul king over Israel.
“Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.”
They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.”1 Samuel 12:3-4
In this passage, Samuel is virtually handing off the government of the people to the newly appointed king. By her own request Israel is making the transition from theocracy to monarchy, and Samuel’s role is changing, too. Until this point, he had spoken for God directly to the people. He will now speak for God mostly to the king.
Wouldn’t it be something to be able to stand before a nation and ask them Samuel’s question only to have them answer with a testament to your faithfulness?
Again, I pray that the Lord will make us faithful in our integrity to others as Samuel was in his integrity before the people of Israel in the days before the first king.
Now if only the people of God kept a familiarity with the Scriptures, they would’ve known the standard their new king should be held to (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20). Hmm… seems there may be a lesson and a prayer for us in there, too…