BIBLE ALIVE 25: The Wise Arabians

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Twelve wise men, Arabians from the east, arrived Jerusalem late in the evening, the sun already going down over the city. It was the 37th year of the rule of Herod the great, an Edomite, made king over Judea by Augustus and Antonius.

These wise men arrived Jerusalem famished and fagged out, their camels trudging through the city gate, bearing their weights, their backs cringing under it. They had seen a magnificent star in their country, unique from all the others they had seen before. This star reflected royalty; royalty like none they had seen before. So they decided to journey, following the direction of the star, which brought them to the very gate of Jerusalem and disappeared.

They alighted from their camels and stood by the gate, asking passerbys whether they knew a king which was recently born. “Where is He that is born the king of the Jews?” They asked. But no one knew.

It was only less than two years ago that Jesus was born in the lonely horse pen in Bethlehem. The shepherds in the fields were the first to take note of His birth; for they saw and heard glorious things concerning him, and made them known abroad, to the amazement of all that heard them. Simeon and Ann thereafter spoke of Him by the Spirit to all those who were disposed to take heed to what was said. One would have thought that the inhabitants of Jerusalem would have embraced tightly the long awaited messiah, but they continued almost two years without taking note of Christ till these wise Arabians arrived.

Then a young man, dressed in a messenger’s attire, obviously one of king Herod’s messengers approached them, being sent by the king. For the news of who they sought was all over the city. “Sirs, please come with me.” The messenger said to them. “The king would want to make some enquiry concerning who you seek.” Then the wise men went with him.

Herod was pacing furiously in his courtroom. He was greatly troubled. I know the Old Testament prophesied about the messiah and His kingdom. But I was really hoping those prophesies will forever fail, Herod thought. I just hope they are not coming through. He immediately summoned all the chief priests and scribes to the courtroom and asked, “Where is the king of the Jews to be born according to the writings of the prophets?” And they all answered in unison, “Bethlehem! Bethlehem in Judea.”

Not too long after, the wise men were led into Herod’s courtroom. After the salutations and exchange of pleasantries, they asked the question they’ve been asking the whole day. “Where is He that is born the king of the Jews?” “Why do you make this enquiry?” asked Herod.  “It is because we have seen His star in the  east.” they replied. “What business have you with Him? What have the men of the east to do with the King of the Jews?” asked the king. “We have come to worship him.” they echoed. Then the king said to them deceitfully, “Go and search for Him, then bring me word when you find him, that I may go and worship Him.”  Then the messenger who brought them led them out Herod’s palace.

These Arabians walked the desert path leading to Bethlehem alone. What kind of people are these? They thought. Not one person from the court, church or city could accompany us. We came from a far country to pay their king homage and they aren’t even curious enough to find Him. How do we even locate Him in a city so large as Bethlehem?

As they pondered on these things, the star which they had seen in the east appeared right before them, its glow almost blinding their eyes. With exceeding joy that they could not contain, they leaped, screaming and hugging each other, rejoicing that they had at last found their lead for this great quest; that they had not embarked on this journey in vain. For the God who led Israel by a pillar of fire to the promised land was going to lead them by a star to the promised Seed, who Himself is the bright and morning Star.

Following the star’s lead, they arrived at a lonely hut with thatched roof, the star resting over the house. On entering in, they found Mary sitting on a wooden chair, carrying the babe Jesus. Joseph stood beside her; for it was he who had opened the door for them.

The twelve wise men stood in awe. Awe, because of the magnificience that exuded from the babe. For though His current residence and attendance did not reflect the glory and eminence of a natural king, they were wise enough to see through the veil into the glorious eminence that this king of the Jews and king of the world radiated.

They presented first themselves, and then their gifts. They presented themselves; for they fell down before Him and worshipped. For no mention was made of them giving Herod such an honour inspite of all the royal grandeur he put on. But they honoured and worshipped Christ, not just as king, but as God.

They presented their gifts; for they opened their boxes before the babe, from which they brought out Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – which were money and money’s worth. For this was going to be a relief to Joseph and Mary who were in a poor condition.

And far beyond that, these Arabians, being wise by divine providence, displayed symbolism in the gifts they offered. They offered Gold, for they recognized Christ as king, paying tribute to Him. They gave Frankincense, for they acknowledged Christ as God, honouring Him with the smoke of incense. And they added Myrrh, because they saw Christ as a Man that should die, and whose body would need embalming.

Food For Thought: (1)Many times those who are nearest to the means, are furthest from the end; for a prophet is not without honour, save in His own country. (2) Those who truly desire to know Christ, and find him, will not regard pains or perils in seeking after him. (3) The King of kings should be offered the gift of our lives first, and then the gift of our substance.

Scriptural references: Matthew 2:1-12; Micah 5:2; Revelation 22:16;

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BIBLE ALIVE 24: The Buffeted Jesus

BIBLE ALIVE 24: The Buffeted Jesus

At about 3AM on this faithful Wednesday, Jesus was dragged into the palace of the high priest, His hands tied together in front of Him, His captors clinging firmly to His arms.

The palace of the high priest was elegantly built – from the huge flashy gate, to the well-nurtured garden, to the outstanding latest model duplex, in a courtyard spanning about three football fields. These religious leaders who were meant to live as servants of the people, leading exemplary godly lives, were living flamboyant opulent lives, serving their own bellies. It was in this monumental edifice that the great Sanhedrin, consisting of 71 members – the high priest, chief priests, scribes (principal teachers) and elders (principal church rulers) – were gathered. They had left the comfort of their beds, fought the urge to sleep, only to partake in the trial of Jesus, the prey their evil trap through Judas had caught.

This great Sanhedrin all stood in the large hall in the high priest’s palace that served as a courtroom, as Jesus was being hurled in. He was brought before the bar, the high priest sitting as judge, the other members of the Sanhedrin as the prosecutors, and some members of the Jewish community as witnesses. For though this court had resolved to condemn Him even before the commencement of a trial, yet they needed the evidence against Him from the trial, to put a better colour upon it. In order to achieve their aims, they assembled false witnesses to testify against Christ.

The crimes properly cognizable in their court were false doctrine and blasphemy. So, Caiaphas, the high priest began by asking, “Rabbi, who are your disciples? What are their names?” Christ remained silent. Then Caiaphas continued. “How many are they? Of what country are they?” Still no answer from Christ. “What is now become of them all? Where are they? Why do they not appear?” The high priest toled this line of questioning hoping to charge Him with sedition, and present him as dangerous to the Roman government and the Jewish church.

But Christ would not bulge. For He remained silent. Then Caiaphas proceeded to ask Him about His teachings. “I’m aware you taught a lot of heresies, contrary to what the Law of Moses prescribes. You claim that you have brought a new commandment which you call the commandment of Love and that the moral laws of Moses should be abolished. You also claim that you are the Way to God, being the Son of God, and that ceremonial laws and sacrifices through God’s temple and God’s high priest should be abolished.” Caiaphas asked about His teachings, hoping to charge Him with heresy and bring Him under the penalty of the law against false prophets. “Rabbi, won’t you answer my questions?”

Then Christ bulged. “I have spoken openly to the world,” He replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” This Christ said, tacitly charging the judges with illegal proceedings. For they asked about His teachings, having already condemned them; and asked Him, instead of others who heard Him, His teachings being made manifest to their consciences. For he does not indeed speak evil of these rulers.

But these evil men could not stand the reprimand Christ just made; their consciences echoing the absurdity of their flawed proceedings. So a tall, lanky official standing close by, walked quickly to Christ and slapped He in the face, demanding, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

Then the high priest, desiring to make some headway, decided to call up witnesses, “May we hear the witnesses.” Then the first witness came and took the stand, and gave his testimony. Then the second, and third. And five other witnesses, yet they found none they could make anything of, for they could not take the evidence together, or give it any colour of truth or consistency; not even with they themselves being judges.
Finally, two witnesses came up that seemed to agree in their testimony. They said, accusing Christ. “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” Really? Is that what I said? Christ thought. I said ‘If you destroy this temple,’ speaking of my body which you would seek to destroy, ‘In three days I will raise it up.’ But Christ would not speak up against their testimony. For what purpose will it serve? They were set to condemn Him. For it was His cross to bear.

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent. Not as one sullen, or as one self-condemned, or as one astonished and in confusion; not because He wanted something to say, or knew not how to say it. But because His hour was come; He would not deny the charge, but was willing to submit to the sentence.

Since all had failed, and they could not find any charge with which to accuse Him, they tried contrary to the law of equity, to make Him accuse Himself. And would do that under an oath. “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Caiaphas demanded. “I am. And from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven to execute judgement on the people of the world.” Jesus answered.

That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back; that was the evidence they were looking for. In an outright show of hypocrisy, with the intent to send a message to the court’s audience that the words spoken by Christ were a reproach to God, Caiaphas rent His clothes; for while he feigned an abhorrence of blasphemy, he himself became the greatest blasphemer, having forgotton the law which forbade the High Priest in any case to rend his clothes.

Then he announced to the court, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they yelled. A group of elders came in front of Christ, pushed him and spat on His face, shaming Him. Several others came from all sides and buffeted Him. After blindfolding Him, they slapped Him with the palms of their hands, to add pain to His shame. Then some said, “Prophesy to us Messiah, who hit you?”, making sport of Him.

Food for thought: (1) To discharge us from all accusations, our Lord Jesus submitted to this, to be unjustly and falsely accused. (2) When Christ was made sin for us, he was silent, and left it to his blood to speak; He stood mute at the world’s bar, that we might have something to say at God’s bar. (3) Pain and shame are the basest human experiences. For both came with sin, and both were taken away through Christ.

Scriptural references: Matthew 26:59-68; Mark 14:55-65; Luke 22:54-71; John 18:19-24; Romans 8:33; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 12:24;

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BIBLE ALIVE 23: Feigned penitence

BIBLE ALIVE 23: Feigned penitence

Samuel stood facing Saul. His eyeballs were fixed on the king. His face wore an expression of a mixture of pity, regret and disgust. His chin rested in the cup created by his right hand, with his left hand under his right elbow, supporting the limb. The atmosphere was tensed. About a minute passed with neither of them uttering a word.

Saul had just messed up again. Big time. He was Samuel’s favourite, and the prophet wanted to do everything to keep him on the throne. But it appeared his deposition was inevitable. Why does this man have a problem with obeying simple instructions? Samuel thought. The other time he acted foolishly by offering sacrifices – an act to be done only by priests; now, he has brought back Agag, the king of Amalek, and fat sheep and oxen, bleating and mooing in my ears. His instructions were clear. Kill all the Amalekites and destroy all they have. Is that so difficult? Now he’s spuing gibberrish that he wants to sacrifice to God. Which God?

“Look, king Saul,” Samuel said, breaking the silence. “God does not want your sacrifices – empty sacrifices that are just for a show. He wants you to do exactly what He says. To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.” Then Samuel paused, allowing the words to sink in. Then he continued speaking, repeating the verdict he had before pronounced, because it was obvious Saul was dull of hearing. “Because you disobeyed the Word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king over His people.”

Samuel waited, searching Saul’s face for any sign of remorse, but found none. “I have sinned. I violated God’s commandments and your words.” Saul said. His profession obviously not in sync with his disposition. My words? Who’s this fellow trying to bribe? Were they my words or the words of God I simply told you? Samuel thought. “I did this because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” Saul said in his defence. Liar! You don’t stand in awe of the people. You’re known to keep up your authority among them, doing only what you want. Like you did when you starved the whole army in the name of a fast, preventing them from completely wiping their enemies. 

Saul noticed Samuel was lost in thoughts, but he continued speaking anyway. “Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.” Samuel was shocked at his request. His mouth was left hanging for a while in utter bewilderment. Then he replied Saul, saying firmly. “I will not go back with you. All you care about is to save your credit and to preserve your interest in the people. Do you fear that they will revolt, or at least despise you?” Hey watch it man of God, I’m still your king. I’m taking this insult because the people revere you. If they see you no longer approve of me, I’d lose control over them. Thought Saul. 

As if Samuel could read his thoughts, he turned around and began walking away. The king who could not stand the affront, having fed his haughty spirit with forced subordination, stretched forth his hand and held the hem of the priestly robe of the prophet, all in a bid to keep him back. Instantly, the gament gave way, tearing along the hem. Samuel stopped and turned back to face Saul.

“The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbours—to one better than you.” Samuel said. Then Saul, attempting to feign some remorse, clasped both hands together in front of him, making the prayer sign, saying “I have sinned. But please honour me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” Oh my God! Is this the language of a penitent? Of course not! A repentant soul would have said ‘I have sinned. Shame me now, for to me belongs shame, and no man can abhor me as much as I abhor myself.’ Well, let me oblige him. He still sits on Israel’s throne.

Then Samuel went back with Saul.

Food for thought: (1) Obedience to God’s word must be complete; up to the last jot. (2) True repentance is evident, not in well articulated words, but in turning from wrong doings.

Scriptural reference: 1 Samuel 15:12-31;

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BIBLE ALIVE 22: Foxes Aflame

BIBLE ALIVE 22: Foxes Aflame

Samson walked into the hinterlands of Timnath fuming with anger. His father-in-law had given his wife to his best man. A woman for whom he threw a seven-day elaborate wedding; someone he told his difficult-to-decipher riddle, all because of the pressure she got from her people, which made him raid, kill and strip thirty men of their clothes to pay cowards; someone he loved.

His father-in-law was talking gibberish, “I was so sure you hated her…” What is wrong with that man! Was it because I was angry after the feast over the way my companions ridiculed me with my riddle, hamstringing me through my wife? How will he equate that to utter hatred for my wife? I don’t understand how these Philistines think. He even had the guts to offer me his younger daughter in her stead. Samson thought. He doesn’t know anything. I’m a public figure. What he has done to me, he has done to Israel, the people of God. This time, I have a right to get even with the Philistines. I will really harm them.

With utter fury he stormed into the mountainous region that flanked the farming lands of Ashkelon and Ekron. Then the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him.

He moved to a nearby cave, located a narrow entrance, that obviously led to the habitat of rodents. He made fire from woods and placed them at the mouth of the cave. The smoke went in and after a while, a red fox came, running out. He went after it and grabbed it at the back of its neck with his bare hand. He tied it with a string round its neck to the trunk of a nearby tree.

With lightening speed, he went back to similar entrances of caves in that mountainous landscape, burning wood there, with the foxes running out of their hideouts, obviously been driven out by the smoke.

Samson went after the foxes and caught them in a similar manner like he did the first, tying them around several tree trunks, until he caught the three hundredth fox. He began this hunt at about 6:30pm and ended at 4am the next morning.

He took the foxes in twos and tied their tails together putting touches in the knot. He brought them to the farm lands of the Philistines, put fire to the touches and let them loose. The foxes ran into the cornfield of the Philistines in a frenzy, their flaming behind burning down the crops as they went. In no time, the entire farmlands – the standing corns, harvested corns and olive orchards – were raised down, covering an expanse of about one thousand hectares. 

This was a great waste and impoverishment for the Philistines, for it was wheat harvest. They had injured Samson by their subtlety and malice, and now Samson returned the injury by subtle foxes and mischievous fire-brands. God in some sense, displayed justice: for the corn, wine and oil that they would have prepared from these fields as meat offerings to Dagon, were made burnt offerings to God’s justice. 

Samson stood with his chest out and bowed-out upperlimbs with hands resting on his waist, looking at the smoke that ascended to the sky from the destroyed farmland. With utmost satisfaction at his heroic exploit, he turned around to go home, the anointing lifting. The cranky noise from his joints and excruciating ache from his marrow drove home the message of how fatigued and famished he was.

Food for thought: Oh that we would be burning torches that God would send into the world to consume everything ungodly.

Scriptural references: Judges 15:1-5; John 5:35;

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BIBLE ALIVE 21:The Despised Deliverer

BIBLE ALIVE 21:The Despised Deliverer

“Aah! Oww!” yelled the Israeli slave as the snake whip lashed on his back. “Come on, shut up and pick the brick!” barked the Egyptian taskmaster. “You’ve been struggling with building this wall since morning, and you’re yet to even take it pass two feet high. Nonsense! Lazy fellow!” The whip came landing on his back again, followed by a hard kick on his butt by the Egyptian. The Hebrew fell to the ground and hit his head against a stone, with blood gushing out.

Moses walked in while the Israeli was going through this torture. He had been secretly watching his brother’s misery from behind a nearby tree and couldn’t take it anymore. Now he came to his rescue.

Moses was forty years old now, and had hitherto enjoyed all the privileges of an Egyptian. He was the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, adopted by her when he was only three months. He was that Hebrew that lived in Pharaoh’s palace, ate his food, wore his clothes, schooled in the best of their institutions, standing tall among all the Egyptians. In Egypt, he was a Hebrew in Egyptian skin. His people went through hell of slavery, while he enjoyed the luxury of the palace. But now, he was tired of that. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

Moses leaped on the Egyptian taskmaster from behind, pushing him to the ground. They both landed on the floor, with Moses on top of him. He quickly, in a wrestling style, flipped the Egyptian over, locked both upperlimbs to the floor with his knees pressing against the man’s elbows. Then with both hands around the man’s neck, he strangled him. The Egyptian struggled, gasping for air, till he died. Thus, Moses killed the Egyptian as a foretaste of that God was going to do through him, by employing him in plaguing the Egyptians for the wrongs they had done to God’s Israel.

The Israeli slave had his mouth wide open all this while. He couldn’t believe the horrid sight of his taskmaster been killed. But the feeling of having the burden of slavery over his neck lifted was good. 

Moses immediately started digging the ground nearby with the Israeli’s shovel he had been using to work. He asked his Hebrew brother to help him. They dug a fairly deep hole and buried the Egyptian. After the whole mess was cleaned, Moses gave the Israeli slave a long hug and said, “I’m your kin. I have you guys in mind. I’m going to do my best possible to deliver the sons of Jacob from Egypt’s bondage.” They left hugging, bade farewell, and went their separate path.

The next day, Moses went on his usual tour round Egypt, paying particular interest to where Israelites were. The more he saw his people’s suffering, the more the burden to be used by God to set them free grew. As he continued his tour he approached a field were two Israelites were farming. 

The taller, muscular fellow said to the younger one, “Go get us water to drink from the stream.” “I can’t go now. I have to be done with my plot first.” replied the younger one. The older fellow pushed him saying, “Go now! I say, now!” “Don’t touch me again!” said the younger fellow. Before he could say ‘Jack Robinson’, a slap landed on his face. And an exchange of blows began. 

Moses immediately ran to them. He had witnessed the whole drama. “Stop it both of you!” Moses said. He stepped in between them both, separating them. “You shouldn’t have spoken to him that way. And why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” Moses said, addressing the older fellow. “You guys are brothers; the Egyptians oppress you. Are you suppose to oppress yourselves?”

Annoyed and irritated, the older man who did his brother wrong, lashed back at Moses, “Who made you a ruler and Judge over us? Are you planning to kill me like you killed the Egyptian?”

Yet Moses was indeed a ruler and a judge, and knew it, and thought the Hebrews would have understood it, and stepped in, as a foretaste of that God was going to do through him, to mediate between his brothers as judge. But they stood in their own light, and thrust him away. If the Hebrews had taken the hint, and come in to Moses as their head and captain, it is probable that they would have been delivered now but, despising their deliverer, their deliverance was justly deferred, and their bondage prolonged forty years.
Food for thought: (1) It is a sign of guilt, to be impatient of reproof. (2) Baby steps taken in the direction of purpose beget its full manifestation. (3) God’s tools for our deliverance may be lurking nearer than we realise.

Scriptural references: Exodus 2:11-14; Hebrews 11:24-26; Acts 7:20-28;

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BIBLE ALIVE 20: False Prophet, Gullible Prophet

BIBLE ALIVE 20: False Prophet, Gullible Prophet

A man of God, a prophet, sent by God from Judah to Bethel to cry against the idolatrous altar that Jeroboam erected, was on his donkey heading back home. This was the second time he was plying this route.

As he sat down on his donkey, he reminisced on his disobedience, how he had been so foolish and gullible. God had explicitly instructed him not to eat or drink anything in Bethel, and to not return home by the same route. “How could I have disobeyed this! Why didn’t I check with God when this old big fat lier of a prophet came telling me otherwise?” He thought. 

He continued in his thoughts. “How wicked could this old prophet be, that he made me disobey God. What exactly did he want to achieve? He had been in Bethel all this while and couldn’t even caution Jeroboam. He had grown worldly and profane, and must have been enjoying the gifts and money given him by the king. He even allowed his children attend the sacrifices Jeroboam offered at his altar. 

“I should have smelt a rat when he met me under that oak tree, and told me that an angel of God said I should go with him. Why didn’t I try his spirit of prophecy? Why did I believe him sheepishly? Imagine, I refused the invitation of King Jeroboam and withstood his enticing reward, but fell head over heels into this old prophet’s deceit.” 

As this young prophet approached a T-junction on the dusty road, still sorrowing, regretting his mistake, a lion came from no where and attacked him, knocking him off his donkey, and pouncing on him with its claws till he died. The lion then stood beside the body of the disobedient prophet without devouring it, nor the donkey. For its assignment was to kill the prophet, and nothing more. Thus God wonderfully preserved his corpse.

The old prophet who had beguiled him got wind that the man of God had been killed as he prophesied, so he quickly saddled his ass and got to the scene. He saw the lion and donkey standing still beside the corpse. He took the dead body of the prophet home, mourned for him, and buried him.

Food for thought: (1) Words of prophecy from a prophet should only confirm what God has said to you. (2) We, as believers, are more prone to deceit from plausible pretence of divinity than from external inducement. (3) Beware of false prophets, and believe not every spirit.

Scriptural reference: 1 Kings 13:1-34;

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BIBLE ALIVE 19: He heard God

BIBLE ALIVE 19: He heard God

Samuel stood over his wooden bed, stretched the wooly bedspread over it and laid on it prepared to sleep. His closet was near Eli’s room, ready to be called if the old man should want anything in the night, and near to the holy place, that he went to bed just around when the light in the branches of the candlesticks went out at about midnight (for the main lamp never went out). 

He now laid on his bed, staring at the roof above, waiting to be snatched away by the claws of sleep. For he had spent his late evening reading, praying, cleaning and making ready the holy place.

While he laid awake, buried in his thoughts, thoughts of Scriptures, the sacred teachings he had received from his master and mentor Eli, the high priest, he heard his name. It was loud and clear, “Samuel!” He sprang from his bed and walked towards Eli’s room. “It must be Eli. Maybe he wants something. Hope he is not sick.” Samuel thought.

On getting to Eli’s door, he said, “Here am I. You called me.” Eli responded, “I did not call you. Go and lie down, I don’t have anything for you to do.” This he said calmly, not chiding him for disturbing, not insinuating he was dreaming, nor did he call him a fool. On hearing this, Samuel turned and walked slowly and meditatively to his bed. Everything appeared strange, but he waved it off.

It was barely a minute after laying down that he heard the same voice call his name as of before, “Samuel!” “Oh, Eli must be calling me now for sure. He must have forgotten to tell me something.” Samuel thought.

On getting to Eli, it was the same story. He wasn’t the one who called him. Samuel became puzzled. Who could this be, that called his name? Who could be playing pranks with him? He couldn’t imagine any other person close by. The only person within hearing distance was Eli, and he denied having called him. He believed the old man. He wasn’t known to tell lies. Well, what a night! So, Samuel trudged back to his bed again. He sat on the edge for a while, then laid down.

And then, that same voice calling his name the third time. Fear gripped him. It took a while to regain himself, then he dashed to Eli’s room. “Did you call me this time? I’m really confused.” Eli had been concerned. This was the third time. He was obviously experienced. He knew how God spoke, and this smelt like God. So he told Samuel, “Boy, Go and lie down. And if He calls again, say, ‘speak LORD, for your servant is listening.’ The voice you’ve been hearing, is that of the Most High God.”

There was a joy in Samuel’s soul now. For ignorance and confusion had been displaced by this revelation. He would now lay down and await this God he has served hitherto.

As his back touched his bed, the entire room was filled with an overwhelming cloud and awesome presence, not like any he had experienced before. Then he heard the familiar voice, “Samuel, Samuel!” Smiling, with calmness, he replied, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

Then the Lord began to reel off His plans to this young boy, who would go on to be the only man in Israel that was at the same time, Priest, Prophet and Judge.

Food for thought: (1) Consistency and diligence with our duty attract God’s gracious visits. (2) To be without a mentor is to be easily misguided. (3) Unravelling God’s counsel is strictly tied to understanding how He speaks.

Scriptural reference: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

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