God is illustrating how far his precious children have fallen. The people he describes don’t sound like they would be folks I’d want to hang around with. Who wants to be slandered or taken advantage of? What’s their excuse? “‘They do not know me,’ says the LORD.”
There are plenty of people walking around this planet that don’t know God. There are even people attending church every Sunday who are clueless about God and his character, much less his desire for their life. It’s tragic. Is there something we can do?
This appears to be Jeremiah’s first message from God, and what a doozy it is! For me, it’s one of those “double-take” moments. Did I really read what I thought I read? God just told Jeremiah that he (God) is going to raise up foreign powers to crush his beloved Israelites for their disobedience. What do you suppose Jeremiah did when he first heard that? The key take away is that God is in control and will orchestrate this destruction.
Just the mere experience of hearing God’s voice would be enough to bless my whole existence! Jeremiah received so much more! Today, we don’t hear many people talking about “conversations” they’ve had with God. I’m quite sure they are happening, however. I’ve always hoped to have the honor and privilege of being chosen in that way. And then it happened!
If you’re not familiar with Saul, he’s a devout Jew but, up to this turning point, had not believed Jesus was God’s son. Saul had been doing horrific things to persecute the followers of Jesus. Saul believed he was being true to his Jewish faith.
I love how God shows up in this passage to get Saul’s attention! This becomes a life altering moment for Saul. I imagine that any time God gets our attention by speaking out loud our lives are changed.
Saul really messed up this time! He didn’t listen to God! He heard what he wanted to hear. Boy did that speak to me! I can’t say that I’ve ever had such an intentional message from the LORD such as Saul was given by Samuel. But when it comes to instructions from an authority figure, I have been known to try to figure out a better way.
Saul didn’t follow God’s instructions to the letter. He made a judgment that keeping the good stuff and sacrificing it would be a good idea. In his head, it sounded good. His army was happy to have some spoils of war, too. But that is NOT what God had said to do.
Don’t we all long for a conversation with God like Samuel had that night? To hear a voice audibly calling our name! Would we be like Samuel and think it was someone else, for us our spouse, the neighbor, or the television? We need to be listening. We need to be still.
I loved what Eli told Samuel after he realized what Samuel was hearing was the voice of the LORD himself. Then Samuel knew exactly what to say. “Speak, your servant is listening.” What a beautiful line we should all remember for when God calls out to us next time.