“Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.” 1 Samuel 3:1
The book of Judges ends on a bit of a rough note. “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25) Picking up from there, the book of 1 Samuel doesn’t start off much better. It’s hard to believe that in only a few generations, Israel had completely walked away from God and perverted the covenant made with them. They were not that far removed from the miracles done at the hand of Moses and Joshua, and were reminded of God’s power through the numerous judges God sent to Israel to save them. But it didn’t seem to matter. They did what was right in their own eyes, so much so that the very voice of God, the words which rang so sweet to Moses, that drove Joshua to victory, the very presence of God that made Israel distinct and revered amongst the nations, was gone. God didn’t seem to want to speak to them. As Hannah, in her prayer spoke, “Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.” (1 Samuel 2:5) There are times when God chooses not to speak for the sake of building faith. Those times are sweet silence and we should be joyful while suffering through them because God is doing more in his silence than he was in his speech. However, often times he is silent because we are not in a position to hear him. The only people in Israel at the time of 1 Samuel to hear God was a barren woman and a little child. Israel was in such sin and perversion God threw up his arms and decided to withhold his word. This is a scary place to be. If God is silent, both personally and in our communities, our churches, and our culture, then we need to take an honest look at our personal and communal sins. Are we a people God would want to talk to?
Lord Jesus, we repent of our straying hearts that make our ears not work with your voice. Remove all the hindrances that keep us from you and return your Spirit to our midst once again!