Do you have enough faith to let God be God? Steph Nickel revisits the story of Samuel & Eli and reminds us that true happiness is found in being obedient to God and trusting Him to do what is best.
Samuel Hears From God
First Samuel 3:15-18 (ESV) says,
“Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, ‘Samuel, my son.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And Eli said, ‘What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.’ So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, ‘It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.’”
A few posts ago we discussed God’s call on young Samuel. Even though he was been raised in the Temple by the priest Eli, the people of that time weren’t familiar with the Lord’s voice. Samuel didn’t recognize it when God spoke his name and Eli didn’t understand what was happening at first. To make matters worse, Eli’s sons disrespected their father and blasphemed God; yet Eli did nothing to stop them. God informed Samuel of His judgment against the priest and his family. Needless to say, young Samuel was afraid to share the message with his mentor, his father figure.
Let God Be God
It doesn’t surprise me that Eli insisted on knowing what the Lord had said. His response, however, amazes me. “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.” Now there’s a line that should mark our lives each and every day. As a matter of fact, I’ve placed it on the wall above my computer.
God does love us. He does want what’s best for us. But we’ve misunderstood what that means. It doesn’t mean if we live according to His will we will always be happy. Nor does it mean we will always have abundant finances and physical resources. It also doesn’t mean that we will always be healthy and never experience illness and disease.
Oddly, though Eli failed to do what God required of him, his declaration has much to teach us. It is a statement of great faith. Are we willing to make the same declaration?
Hope For Salvation
There was no hope for the salvation of Eli and his family. They had resisted to the point of no return, but we have the Good News, the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.
What seemed good to God was to send His Son to die in our place, to take the punishment for our sin. We need only admit we are sinners—and everyone is—and accept this gift of salvation. When we hand over our lives to Him, we must do so wholeheartedly.
Will we always be happy? Consider the fact that the more like Jesus we become—and transformation is God’s plan for His children—the more we will care for others. And the state of the world means we would have to ignore what’s going on all around us if our main objective was to be happy. However, as Christians, we are getting to know the One who is Love. And when we reach out in love and point others to Him by our words and deeds, we will experience great joy. And deep-rooted joy is so much more incredible than happiness.
Blessings And Poverty
I do believe God provides for our needs and sometimes even provides abundant material blessings. However, I know there are many, many people who love the Lord intensely and are living lives that glorify Him day after day who are poverty stricken according to this world’s standards. But God’s standards are not ours. His children, whether rich or poor, know there are things that mean far more than the treasures of this earth.
As believers, we must hold our possessions loosely, with open hands. If recession hits—even another depression such as was experienced in the 1930s—would that mean God was no longer God, that He had somehow lost control? No. Would it mean He no longer loves us? Definitely not. Would it mean we are no longer to walk in obedience to His commands and directives? Absolutely not. Would it mean He broke His promises? Never!
The Purpose Of Possessions
The material possessions God provides are for two purposes, to be used to 1) glorify Him and 2) bless others. We can do so with much or little. I’ve begun to look around at my possessions and ask how I can live out these truths.
I am abundantly thankful that, for the most part, I enjoy good health. Does that mean God loves me more than He loves those who are suffering from disease and disability? No. No. No. And again I say, “No!”
I know people who daily live out the truth in 2 Corinthians 12:10:
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” They have learned what it means to lean heavily on God’s strength when they have none of their own.
Let’s face it . . . we’re less inclined to trust in our own efforts if we recognize our limitations.
Do we need to walk in anxiety and fear? Absolutely, positively not! God is a good God. No matter how things look from our perspective, He can be trusted. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are proof of His love for us. We can stand firmly on the Rock, the Saviour.
We must determine to allow God to be God, to do what seems good to Him, no matter what that is.
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Images courtesy of:
Girl In Thought – Julia Freeman- Woolport
Ecuadorian Child – M Nota