Character Studies through 1 Samuel

Samuel Part 1

Apr 19, 2021

open door for dwelling in the presence of God

Positioned to Listen

I could feel the warmth coming through the windows. The sun beaming, the blue sky beckoning, and the sounds of summer offering its delights. It’s not often we get to enjoy a warm sunny day, so the natural thing to do was to take my work onto the back garden to soak up as much as I could of nature’s gift.

The neighbours had the same idea. But instead of keeping themselves to themselves, they decided that the entire street should listen to their 80’s radio station. Song lyrics now replaced my focused thoughts, and floating around my head was the likes of “We dream the same dream, we want the same thing, oooh!” No, we don’t. We don’t dream the same dream. We don’t want the same thing. I wanted peace, but in the place where I’d hope to get some, someone else wanted a party. The place to get some work done was not outside.

Our physical location can determine a lot about how well we perform. We often realise the places that will help to achieve our goals and those that don’t. Our spiritual location can also determine similar things. 

The Lord calls to Samuel

You may be familiar with the story of the boy Samuel. Laying down to sleep the voice of the Lord called to him. After a couple of failed attempts of thinking it was his master Eli calling him, they realised that it was, in fact, the Lord.

What I love most is that the Lord visited Samuel in his usual dwelling place.  Samuel was simply doing what he always did, in the place that he always did it. That place was the house of the Lord. Laying near the Ark of the Covenant, with the Golden Lampstand nearby, Samuel slept.  The Ark was the most treasured possession to the Children of Israel. Containing the 10 commandments, a jar of manna and Aaron’s rod, the Ark was a symbolism of God’s covenant, His provision and His chosen ones. It was the place that God dwelt and communicated with His people. So is there any wonder God chose this place to speak to this young boy who was dwelling in the secret place of the Most High? 

What a position! I often think how I would love to be in that place. No 80’s radio, no children asking repetitive questions, no dogs barking or phones dinging. And though we don’t have the privilege of sleeping everyday in such a place, we are under the new covenant, in which we can have the living Saviour abiding within us. Our very homes are His dwelling when we invite Him in. We don’t have to travel miles and bring sacrifices to His altar to draw near to Him. We are near to Him every moment, and we can call upon Him at all times.

When I make my usual dwelling place God’s presence, I am much more likely to hear from Him and to receive spiritual instruction and insights.

It doesn’t become a case of having to escape the everyday, but it’s by bringing the Lord into the everyday that we can best abide.

Making a few adjustments to our surroundings by turning off the distractions that we can control will set our minds back on the Lord. In the process, tuning us into hearing His voice. By simply moving my work back inside I may have lost the ability to sit in the sun, but I was able to focus my mind back on the task at hand. I perform much better when I position myself in the right place. 

Samuel’s habit of constantly dwelling in God’s presence as a young boy prepared his heart and his mind to fulfil the Word of God.  As we bring our lives as service and worship to the Lord, we partner with Him in everything we do, and the Word of the Lord becomes a living part of our day.

The Lord spoke, and Samuel heard. Although he didn’t realise it was the Lord immediately, he was guided and trained into hearing God’s voice by the Priest Eli, a man who had also walked with God. 

The word which the Lord spoke to Samuel was a word of judgement upon his master Eli. This was a heavy weight to place upon a young child, and yet in obedience to both Eli and the Lord, Samuel spoke every word of it.

In 1 Samuel 3:15 there’s a little detail which speaks volumes about the life of Samuel. 

“Samuel lay until morning, then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord.” 

 After this encounter with the Lord, Samuel simply lay back down. Whether he slept or not, we’re not told, but in the morning he opened the door of the house of the Lord. A menial task, but probably one that was committed to Samuel to do each day. This day was no different. Samuel went back to his duties of serving the Lord, but these were not just duties, they were little tasks that foreshadowed the Lord’s calling on his life. Samuel opened the doors for people to come into the presence of the Lord, both physically and also spiritually. By his faithful service Samuel made a way for people to experience God. As he heard more of the voice of the Lord, he spoke to the nation Israel in chapter 7 calling for them to lay aside their idols and return to the Lord.

It’s a beautiful thing to dwell in the presence of God, and then to open the doors to invite others to experience the same blessings of the abundance of His Spirit. 

Sometimes the physical can reflect our spiritual position, so let us ask ourselves, where are we positioned today? Is it in amongst the distracting noises of the world, or beneath the shadow of the Almighty? 

I, for one, desire to open the doors for others to walk through, but I must first position myself to hear from the Lord.

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  1. Elaine

    Excellent Bethany, I can so resonate with Hannah’story and with Samuel, too so well written, I’d be the 1st to purchase your book and reccomend it to others. It’s awesome shine on God is with you x

    • Bethany Heard

      Thank you Elaine! Hannah is such a beautiful character, and she’s so relatable!