Summary: God calls to us to guide us through times of change.
Our day is certainly a day of tumultuous change. We could describe the changing times we face today the same way Russian empress, Catherine the Great, described the changing times of the eighteenth century, said, “A great wind is blowing and that gives you either imagination or a headache.” It has been said that “the only people who like change are babies with dirty diapers.” Change, however, has been and always will be a part of each of our lives. Change can be seen as a friend or a foe. It can result in growth of grief. The difference is in how we respond to change.
Early in his life, the prophet Samuel had to learn how to deal with change. God was bringing about some significant changes in Israel, beginning with the family of Eli, the high priest. At such a time, God’s voice called to Samuel, to guide him through this time of change.
In these days of tremendous change, we too, need to hear the voice of God. God wants to guide us, so we might know growth, not grief. He wants us to benefit from change, and not be “blown away” by change. There are two types of change that God wants to lead us through in life.
1. Change That Is Inevitable - vs. 11-18
Sometimes, we experience changes that are beyond our control.
A. Change due to changeable men - vs. 12-14
Eli’s sons, Hophni & Phinehas, “had no regard for the Lord,” (1 Samuel 2:12). They had corrupted the priesthood, taking advantage of the people, desecrating the sacrifices offered to the Lord, and were involved in sexual immorality (See 1 Samuel 2:12-17; 22-25).
Consequently, God was going to remove the house of Eli from being responsible for the ark of the covenant and from serving as priests. A change in spiritual leadership was about to occur which would effect the lives of all the people. Though Samuel and the people of Israel had nothing to do with the sins of Hophni or Phinehas; or the failure of Eli, the resulting changes would, nevertheless, effect the entire nation.
Often, change occurs that has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with others we may or may not know or circumstances we can do nothing about - a law is enacted; a politician is elected; a madman on the other side of the world wants to go to war; the stock market takes a dive - decisions are made and things occur that daily effect our lives.
Men and the systems of men are always subject to change. And more often than not, the change that often results is for the worse, not the better. In fact, the Bible would have us understand that this world will only get worse and worse, due to the changes brought about by sinful, imperfect men. Such change in our world is inevitable - ultimately, we can do nothing about it. But there is another type of change that is inevitable, in which we can find hope.
B. Change due to an unchanging God - v. 11
Samuel was told that amid the failings of men, God was working to bring about changes of His own. Indeed, the Bible tells us that though the world will become worse and worse, God will ultimately “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).This should serve to give us hope.
God is at work amid the changes that take place in the world, to bring about the ultimate changes He has in mind, and nothing or no one in this world can stop Him. The eternal changes that God is working to bring about in this world are inevitable!
A man was celebrating his 100th birthday. A local reporter commented, “I’ll bet you’ve seen a lot of changes in your lifetime.” The old man replied, “Yep. And I’ve been agin’ every one of ‘em.”
In this world you and I live in, there are inevitable changes occurring due to the frailties and imperfections of men, many of which we can do nothing about, no matter how much we may oppose them. But there is also an inevitable change occurring due to the might and perfection of God; and no matter how much an unbelieving mankind may oppose it, this is the change that ultimately will win out.
In the meantime, what God wants to do in the lives of His children is guide us through these changes, so that we might know growth and not grief! And if we would seek to hear His voice, we can be led to respond as we should to the changes occurring in the world around us.
God’s voice calls to us to help us understand change on three levels:
1) Perception: Seeing what is now - the eyes of reality - v. 13.