Samuel, a Messenger of God
Samuel was about to talk to Saul. This was something that he did NOT look forward to doing. It hadn't been that long since Samuel had been called on by God to anoint Saul as King of Israel. Now, Saul had disobeyed God, and Samuel was going to have to tell Saul that God was not happy with him. Not only was God unhappy, but God had already told Samuel that Saul would be replaced as King. This would not be an easy task for Samuel, and he feared what Saul might do when he heard the bad news. Saul was a warrior, and he had a temper. He was liable to take his sword and -Samuel didn't even want to think about it.
Then Samuel remembered another time when he had been called on by God to deliver a message, he listened to what God said and followed through. Samuel had been born to follow God's call.
Samuel was the son of a good woman named Hannah. For years, Hannah had tried to give her husband a child. She wanted a son. Yet, it seemed that God had closed her womb for she was never able to be with child. One time, Hannah sat at the temple crying and moving her lips praying when Eli, the priest, saw her. He watched as she rocked back and forth with her eyes closed in prayer and thought she had been drinking. Hannah was so sad and now became angry at being falsely accused of drinking too much wine!
"I have NOT been drinking wine or beer or anything," she told the priest. I have been pouring out my soul to the Lord, asking him to give me a son. If God gives me a son, I promise to give him up to serve the Lord for his whole life. Eli was a good priest and told her to go in peace and asked God to give her what she wanted. So it was that Hannah became pregnant and had a baby boy who she named Samuel.
When Samuel was old enough, she took him to Eli the priest and said, "This is the son God gave me. I promised that I would give him up to serve the Lord." This was how Samuel came to live with Levi at the Temple. He only saw his mother when she came to give her offerings to God at the Temple and to bring Samuel coats and clothing. Samuel grew up in the Temple, helping serve the Lord. He did his work well, and the Lord was happy with Samuel.
The priest, Levi, had two sons of his own, who had also grown up in the temple. But they were not nice. They were sinners. They took part of the offerings that people brought for God for themselves and did other things that were wrong. Eli told them that he had heard about their wicked ways, but did not stop them from doing evil. Though he loved his sons, he was not a good father and did not discipline them.
One night, when Samuel had gone to bed, he heard a voice calling him, "SAMUEL."
"Here I am, Master," said Samuel, and he ran to Eli to see what he wanted.
Eli woke from his own sleep, startled to hear Samuel?s voice. He rubbed his eyes, trying to open them to see in the dark. "I did not call you," Eli answered. Go back and lie down.
Shortly after Samuel lay back down on his sleeping mat, the voice called out to him once again, "SAMUEL."
Again, Samuel ran to the priest. "Here I am, Eli. What did you want?"
Again, Eli answered, "I did not call you. Go back and go to sleep."
A third time, Samuel heard his name called, and a third time, he ran to Eli's side.
A third time, Eli said, "I did not call you." Then, Eli realized that Samuel in his goodness, was hearing the voice of the Lord. Go back and lie down. If you hear the voice again, say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."
Samuel did as he was told by Eli and went back and lied down. As he lay in a state of being partly awake and partly asleep, he heard the voice again, "SAMUEL!"
Immediately, Samuel opened his heart and said, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!"
God said, "I am not pleased that Eli allows his sons to do evil in my house. I am going to judge Eli and his sons."
Samuel lay back in his bed until morning, and then opened the doors to the Tabernacle as he did every morning. Eli called to him, "Samuel, what did the Lord say to you?"
"I don't want to tell you," Samuel said. Samuel was afraid to tell him the message from God for Eli had been good to Samuel and Samuel did not want to answer God's call to tell Eli what the Lord had said.
Eli said, "Son, Do not hide it from me. Whatever the Lord said will happen. He is a good and just God. I must know whatever he told you to tell me."
So, Samuel told him everything. "The Lord said your two sons are wicked. He said you have not been a good father. You should have corrected your sons when they were younger. God said that the temple will be destroyed by our enemies. Your two sons will be killed, and, Master, God says you will die also."
Then Eli said, He is the Lord! Let Him do what is good in his eyes.
Samuel remembered what had happened shortly after. The Babylonians had conquered Israel. They took the Ark of the Covenant. He remembered how Eli's sons had tried to stop them and how they had both been killed that day. When a servant ran to tell Eli what had happened to his sons, he had fainted and hit his head on a stone on the ground and his blood poured out into the earth. Sometimes, it was not pleasant to be called onto do God's work.
Now, Samuel was called on for another task that Go wanted him to do. Samuel had to deliver bad news to King Saul. Though Samuel feared what Saul might do to him, he remembered Eli's words. "He is the Lord. Let Him do what is good in His eyes."
And Samuel knew that once again, he would have to answer the call of the Lord.
Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to Mike@mikelockett.com in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs. More stories and information about storytelling can be found at www.mikelockett.com