Widespread Vision!

I wrote this from my wife’s devotional list today and thought I’d share it with the blog as well.

Now the young man Samuel was serving the LORD under Eli’s supervision. The Word of the LORD was rare in those days, vision was not widespread. 1 Samuel 3:1

This passage of scripture is both wonderful and challenging. The verse I quoted introduces the story of the first time that Samuel, soon to be known as one of Israel’s greatest prophets and judges, hears the word of the Lord. God’s word was rare, vision was not widespread. Samuel was not acquainted with God’s voice and how to respond.

God calls Samuel three times, and three times he goes to Eli, because Eli is the only one he knows. He can’t imagine that anyone else would be calling. It takes Eli those three times to realize what is going on. I wonder what went on in the mind of Eli, the high priest, the one who was supposed to know God and to go into God’s presence in the sanctuary. Was there a moment when he wondered why God didn’t talk to him?

Eli knows what should be done. He tells Samuel to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”?

How’s your vision and your hearing doing this morning? Is God’s Word rare or common in your life? Is vision widespread, or would you fail to recognize it if it came to you. Now someone is bound to point out to me that “vision” here is something special, the sort of vision from God that a prophet would get. But there’s a reason we use that same word for an individual’s vision, their ability to see what should be done and go do it.

The story of Samuel shows us that vision in both those senses was rare in Israel in those days. Why was that so? Let me list some hints from the passage.

  1. People didn’t expect it. Samuel was lying down to sleep in God’s house, and didn’t expect any vision. He’s in the place where God placed his presence, and he doesn’t expect to hear from God.
  2. People didn’t really want it. We discover elsewhere in the story that Eli’s sons were not behaving well. In fact, the message that God gives to Samuel is one of judgment against Eli and his family. When we are not living according to the knowledge and light that we have, we may not be anxious to hear from God or to see greater vision.
  3. Samuel probably thought he was too young and too insignificant for real vision. After all, he just helped Eli out. “I get my vision from my supervisor,” he might have said.
  4. Nobody taught Samuel to recognize God’s voice. Verse 7 tells us that Samuel didn’t yet know the Lord, and that God’s Word hadn’t been revealed to him. What was Eli doing? I suspect that like most of us he was waiting for Samuel to be old enough, or ready, or for the right opportunity.

How does this relate to us and to our lives today?

Let me ask you something. How much vision do you have today? Is your vision to accomplish the tasks your supervisor has set for you and to make it out of the building without taking any more damage? If so, I suspect God’s Word may be rare in your life, and vision is not widespread.

Do you think you’re too young or too old? You aren’t! God can work with young and old. Parents, have you introduced your children to the Lord? Would they know it if God spoke to them? Share the vision! Let it be widespread in your life and in your church.

My wife told me of an opportunity she had today to witness. I’ll let her tell the story if she wants sometime, but the key is that it was an opportunity that she could have let slip if she was just seeing the vision of getting through the day undamaged. It required stepping forward and expressing a vision of life that went beyond the ordinary.

Don’t wait for God to interrupt you with a vision that knocks you off your feet. Start practicing divine vision on a daily basis. Look for the things God has for you. Let vision be widespread in your life. Start today!!

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