“‘Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.’ Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And Eli said, ‘What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.’ So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, ‘It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.’” - 1 Samuel 3:14-18
Do you have a parent or a mentor or a lifelong friend that you deeply love and trust? Imagine them standing in front of you, asking about a vision you’ve had from the Lord. They’re excited and curious, eagerly waiting for you to confide in them the way you always do. Now imagine the vision you had from the Lord was one of punishment directed at them. What would you do?
In yesterday’s devotional, we saw Samuel as a young boy encountering God for the first time. He knew all about God but didn’t know the sound of God’s voice or have a personal relationship with him. God changed that, calling out for Samuel. At Eli’s direction Samuel chose to listen.
Samuel had no way of knowing what God would say to him. While it’s likely that Samuel knew the rumors of the evil things that Eli’s sons were doing (1 Sam. 2:22-26), it’s doubtful that Eli had gone around sharing the fact that God had warned him through an unnamed prophet that his family line would end with him (1 Sam. 2:27-36).
Throughout Scripture, we find that having a relationship with God is never promised to be easy. What is promised is that God will be with us no matter what happens. Eli was Samuel’s teacher, his mentor, and surrogate father. In some ways, it seems cruel to ask Samuel to repeat such a hard message, especially when the messenger is someone so young. But through these interactions with Eli and God, Samuel learned that relationship with the Lord must outrank all other loyalties.
It’s easy to go through the motions of worshiping and serving God. It’s easy to listen when God speaks. What’s hard is faithfully obeying God’s direction even when it’s difficult or unpleasant, especially where people we love are concerned.
Is there something difficult God is asking you to do or say? Are you hesitating and afraid? How can you take a step towards obedient surrender today?