It is the time of Judges. Judges failed to fulfill their duties according to justice. Justice took a backseat to injustice. It’s a time that God’s own people live in the promised land of God which flows with milk and honey. It is a time when Eli the priest, whose eyes have become blind spiritually and physically, is serving in the temple. It’s a time of a few spiritual giants who stand firm for the glory of the living God. Certain faithful lives have proven that God is near unto the broken heart in this time. It’s a time that the Tabernacle of the Lord is in their midst with the presence of the mighty one at Shiloh. Just as the true and false, righteous and unrighteousness, moral and immoral etc, were ruling right from the beginning of the world, similar phenomena can be found in that time: “NO VISION AND MORE VISIONS”. These two particularities of that time are what we focus on this article.
1. There was no vision (I Sam. 3:1)
That time, “The word of the Lord was rare…..there was no vision”. It is the first point that I would like to draw to your concern. When Lot was without visions from the Lord at Sodom, as a friend of God, Abraham stood firm in the plan of God having tasted the presence of the Lord. He received many visions. During the lifetime of Noah, every one was living away from the will of the Living God. As a result they had no visions. Their spiritual lives were like a desert, thirsty, and tired. Only one person with his family stood for the Lord and received many visions from Him. This family lived according to the God’s plans. That caused them to be remembered in the hearts of many even after centuries had passed by.
Likewise, many events could be quoted from the history of the Word of God. Here is a similar situation. It is good to focus on the background rather than the rareness of the Word of God. At that time, Eli the Priest was there, the commandments of the Lord given through Moses were with them, the successful life histories of the Patriarchs, Moses and Joshua were known to them, living testimonies of God’s dealing in delivering His people from the hands of Egyptians to the promised land were told to them by their forefathers, Tabernacle: the dwelling place of God is in their midst – thus, as per our understanding, circumstances were not against them to receive divine visions. Even then, they did not have visions and the Word of God was rare. Beloved in the Lord, let’s examine ourselves in the light of the scripture stated here. Don’t we have yearly conventions, Bible study centers, one-three days camps which categorize children, youth, sisters, elders, deacons etc….Is it the abundance of the Word of God around us that has pushed in to the depth of darkness? The Word of God is around us, but is it in me? Where an absence of the word of God occurs, there the separation of people with the living God will take place. Comparing both the families of great spiritual giants and ordinary men will teach us the same lesson. The sons of Eli are an example before our eyes. Separation from the living God is reflected in enjoyment of the pleasures of the World. It speaks of the absence of the word of God in us. The Word of God, presence of God, tabernacle, and the people like Eli the priest are there surrounding us. The surroundings are favorable. Let me be little more specific – is it in ‘ME’? Let us reason for ourselves. Let’s start to debate with our conscience. Are we on track with God? As the people of Israel had done, let us not forget the source of Living and eternal water (Jer. 2:13). Let us not loose the free gifts of God without recognizing its favor. Let’s remain in the Word of God and enjoy it.
2. There were visions (I Sam. 3:2, 21)
That time, Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli… again and again he had visions (vs. 2, 3, 21). The background of this passage is unforgettable. The wind of spiritual darkness sweeps the sons of Eli away from the Tabernacle where the Almighty Lord dwells. Righteousness and justice are history and even the sons of Eli avoided practicing them. Abundance of sins in the presence of God has brought forth the rule of impurity at that time. It is meaningless to point out the condition of the people at that time when compared with the sins of sons of Eli in the Tabernacle. Their sins are listed in the fourth chapter of the same book. Idolatry flourished in Israel and people lived as they wished to. Soldiers of the truth of God became the giants of the ruler of the world. Thus, the absence of visions led people away from the presence of the Lord.
That time, there were many visions to Samuel the one who served Eli the high Priest. It was a vision or heaven’s reflection from the invisible God about the future. The broken fellowship of the people and the judgment of the Living God towards the sons of Eli were revealed through the young Samuel. It was given through Samuel, because of his love and service unto the Lord. Some of the notable qualities of Samuel can be picked up as follows:
1. Requested and received from the Lord (1 Sam. 1:20)
2. Dedicated to the Lord (1 Sam. 1:28)
3. Ministered in the presence of the Lord (1 Sam.2:18)
4. Grows up in the presence of the Lord (1 Sam. 2:21)
5. Well pleasing to man and the Lord (1 Sam.2:26)
6. Faithful prophet of God (1 Sam. 3:20)
The required quality for Samuel to have visions from the Lord’s Word is in Him. As far as the New Testament believers are concerned, we have already received the gifts of God: we are able to approach unto the holy of holies. However, sometimes when we go away from Him that causes us to implement many aspects from the World rather than receive visions from the Lord. Hagar’s story teaches us that the source of the water was nearby, but she could not see it. God opened her eyes (Gen. 21:19). Then she saw the source of water.
Dear ones, our surroundings are filled with opportunities to taste His living water. Through the latest media like Internet, T.V., Radio, Mobiles, Publications, Pamphlets, and many similar methods, the Word of God is with us. But our eyes are blind. Let us open our spiritual eyes. God is looking earnestly to reveal His Word to us as we submit ourselves unto Him. Let us release the chains of our heart to receive his Word which can change our lives. The vision of a single person from the Lord has influenced the people of that time.
Today, if His word changes a single person, that change would be reflected in his family, society, and even a nation. A single decision: I live for Christ. Can we? May the merciful Lord help you to do so. Let me also recite the words of the prophet: “People perish without visions”. Having visions from the Word of God according to ‘THAT TIME’ was important for those lives. May our gracious God open our eyes to have visions ‘THIS TIME’ in order that we may be able to live a purposeful and meaningful life.