1 Samuel 3:19–4:1a
So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD. Then the LORD appeared again in Shiloh. For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.
The phrase, “let none of his words fall to the ground,” means none of Samuel’s words failed to be accurate. That’s the test of a prophet; one false statement is all it takes to be identified as a phony. One hundred percent is the only passing grade. The LORD being with Samuel gave him perfect accuracy.
The phrase, “from Dan to Beersheba,” means all of Israel. The city of Dan (not the region of Dan) is at the far northern end of Israel. The city of Beersheba is near the southern end. Before electronic communication, news pretty much traveled at a walking speed. Samuel presumably walked around Israel in his role as a prophet. Gradually, one town at a time, people learned that he was reliable.
Eventually, throughout Israel, Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD.
But then the saga returns to Shiloh, where worship is centered, where Samuel’s mom made the vow to give her son to the LORD, where Samuel was raised by Eli.
This time the LORD appears. He reveals Himself to Samuel by His word.
Something big is afoot.
More often than not, when something big is afoot, it’s not going to be all peaches and cream. God’s plans are complicated. The action can get exciting—even too exciting.
That’s what’s about to happen here in 1 Samuel. Things are going to go horribly wrong, at least from a local point of view.
But from our vantage point, reading about it thousands of years later, all the excitement is part of something great and glorious. Thus, we stumble into a complex lesson.
When something like this happens to us, how can we separate ourselves from the chaos and pain of the local point of view, and start to appreciate that something big is afoot?
This is where reformed doctrine can come in handy. The view that God foreordains all things means that He’s always up to something. This reminds us to be on the lookout for the grand plan behind events.
But let’s not oversell this. Looking for the grand plan isn’t the same as finding it.
Frankly, you can look a long time before finding even a piece of the big picture—but it’s worth the wait.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.