rare in those days

Today's devotion from 1 Samuel 3.

1 Samuel 3 begins with an incredibly troubling statement. Here we find Samuel living in the house of Eli the priest. He is serving God in the temple. He is being mentored by this family of priests. However, as this chapter begins the author, inspired by God, feels it necessary to preface the events he is about to reveal by stating, "In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread." (1 Samuel 3:1, CSB)

Why is this a time of relative silence from God? We know there were prophets. One confronted Eli about his sons in 1 Samuel 1:27. So, it's not that God was not moving. Really, it's more like God was not moving here in this place among these priests or among the people in general. It was such overwhelming silence that when God did reveal Himself, it was confusing. Young Samuel had no idea what was going on. It's almost as if he had been serving here all his life, but really knew next to nothing about the God he served.

However, I love how this chapter ends. After Samuel has this amazing experience with God in which he encounters the word of the Lord, he is captivated by Him. Look at the last verses. God's word was rare, but by His will none of Samuel's words were uttered in vain. God gave him a platform from which he spoke the word of God to the people of God. As such, everyone knew that he wasn't just another crooked priest. He was a chosen prophet of God.

The conclusion reveals, "The Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, because there he revealed himself to Samuel by his word." (1 Samuel 3:21, CSB) Did you catch it? How did God reveal Himself to Samuel? By the word. The word becomes essential. It is the word that differentiates Samuel from others. It is the word that the people recognize. The word of God is powerful.

What is your view of the word of God today? We may not hear the audible voice of God calling our names, but He has given His written word to reveal himself to us. It is a tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit as He works in us, for us, and through us. You don't have to live in divine silence. God's word is not rare in our day, but maybe the appreciation of that word is.