Summary: A lesson from three very different Divine Encounters in the Bible
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Christianity is not a system it’s a sincerity.
It is not a theory it is a faith.
It is not an insurance policy, it’s a way of life.
Divine encounters happened all through the recorded scriptures, when men an women met with God. It was happening long before “Christianity” began, from the time of creation onwards. Divine encounters knew no age barriers, plucked the obscure and the ill prepared and put them in a place of prominence and usefulness. Divine encounters sadly sometimes removed them from the place of usefulness and cooperation with the Lord, to opposition and bitterness. Divine encounters also changed the direction so dramatically, that opposition became cooperation.
Samuel - the boy who knew nothing.
Saul - The king who knew much about himself
Saul/Paul - The bigot who knew all about the law, but nothing of the heart of God.
1 Samuel 2:17-3:18 17 This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt.
18 But Samuel was ministering before the LORD — a boy wearing a linen ephod.
19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. — 26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the LORD and with men.
3:1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. ----
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realised that the LORD was calling the boy.
9 So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ’Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
The Boy who knew nothing.
Well that was hardly surprising, he was just a little lad. (1 Samuel 2:19) ‘Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.’ It seems almost certain this little boy only saw Mum once a year, but then it was the time for a doting mother to bring him this new garment. When we were kids, Christmas was a wonderful time of the family together and new toys. Perhaps it comes from one incident that to this day I hate clothes as presents. One year there was a lovely present on the tree, wrapped like a Christmas Cracker. - When I opened it my new toy from a dear aunt was two vests, which fitted a small boy like me! This present to Samuel was given in love from a mother who still cared for her young child. One commentator suggests that it was an outer garment that would keep him warm but would also protect his temple clothes from the grime of temple duties. - That in itself illustrates what Samuel was doing, he was the servant to Eli and the temple.
This was not a good time, if you read the verses around this story, you will see clearly that the spiritual life of the priests, let alone the nation, was at a low ebb. Along comes Hannah, a woman of dedication and desperation. Desperate for a child, she had wept before the Lord, received His promise from Eli and then later found she was pregnant. Her joy was evident, she acknowledged the goodness of God (1 Samuel 2:2) ‘There is no-one holy like the LORD; there is no-one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.’ - So into this strange situation, Samuel is placed into the temple.
Little is told about the lad, Samuel. Considerably more about the desperate spiritual plight of the High Priest’s family and then we read, (1 Samuel 2:26) ‘And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the LORD and with men.’ - The circumstances of his arrival in the temple was from the hands of a Godly mother (and almost certainly father). I believe God sees and knows the heart and desires of godly parents, but it is still down to the person themself. Parents cannot make the choice for their child, Samuel could have rebelled against the harsh life-style he was given. He didn’t and God saw the willingness of heart. God needed a man who would be faithful to Him and His ways. He was speaking to Samuel while he was still a child.