Challenging Times

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.’ (1 Samuel 3:1 NIV)

These are very challenging times in which we’re living.  It seems like the words of Proverbs 29:18 have come to pass:  “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.”  Society as a whole has apparently lost its moral compass, making a mockery of anyone who wants to walk the strait and narrow path.  Churches are taking politically correct positions on issues that fly in the face of the Bible and the people are cheering them on.  And the media loves it.  It’s going to take more and more courage for Christians to be what Jesus wants us to be; and that power has to come from God.  Both as individuals and as a church body, we have to be able to pray, “Oh Lord, I want to make a difference in this world instead of just circling the wagons and hanging on until Jesus comes.”

A similar thing was happening in Israel during the time of Eli the priest, and his sons.  The Bible says that “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord…  The sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.”  But.... “Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod.”  God was about to do something new in Israel, and he was going to use a young boy to do it.  We all know the story—how Samuel grew up in the temple and became a prophet of the Lord, calling the people back to God and giving them the Word of the Lord.

That was then…  In the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, it says, "In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…" (Hebrews 1:1).  When Jesus came and paid the debt of our sins by shedding his precious blood on the cross of Calvary, he made it possible for those who receive him to not only have eternal life, but to be sealed with the Holy Spirit of God.  The apostle Paul speaks about this “mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to his saints… which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27, emphasis added)!

Through his Holy Spirit, God gives us the power and the will and the courage to be the light of the world, to be the salt of the earth, to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, and to cry out to him for a lost world.  If he used a young boy in Israel all those years ago, can’t he use you and me to make a difference in our world today?  What an encouraging thought as we go to him in prayer!

Read 1 Samuel 2:12-18; 3:1, 19-21; Hebrews 1:1-4.

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