Going Deeper 01.13.2021

The first reading for the second Sunday after Epiphany: 1 Samuel 3:1-20

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Some helpful insights from a commentary on this text: As Samuel lay by the ark of the covenant, he heard a voice crying out his name. His response immediately was “hineni” which the NRSV translates as “here I am.”  The term usually reflects a willingness to respond with action to one’s master. Scripture is full of instances of God’s servants responding this way. After Abraham said hineni in Genesis 22:1, God called him to the mountaintop with Isaac. When Jacob said hineni in Genesis 31:11, God called him to return home to face Esau. Moses said hineni in Exodus 3:4 and God called him back to Egypt. Isaiah said hineni and God called him to prophesy judgement in Isaiah 6:8. Ananias said hineni (idou ego in Greek) in Acts 9:10 before God commanded him to heal Saul, the arch-persecutor of the Church. When one says hineni to God in Scripture, one is about to be called to a journey of difficult service.
Okay, all together now, let's say hineni.  No kidding, let's together say "Here I am, Lord."  The Lord desires to use us and speak through us-- which is an incredible honor!  

This calling is extremely important right now.  Into the chaos of the increasingly fracturing nation and world, God desires to speak through His people the only message with the power to heal, the message of the Gospel of grace.  Speaking with both our words and or deeds, we must proclaim that there is a better way... a better way to handle our disagreements, a better way to understand our value and our purpose in life, a better way to experience healing and peace, a better way to live and to die.  This is the way of Jesus, the way marked by love and compassion, both firmness and gentleness, and by a strong desire to do what makes for peace.

All together now, let's say hineni...  "Here I am, Lord."  

With You in His Service,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"